What Time Do You Wake Up?

Posted by 5 March, 2009

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I’ll be the first one to admit that I am not a morning person. I try really hard to be chipper and happy in the morning because I want to be happy around other people. I typically wake up at 5:45 a.m. to start getting ready for work, but after a few snoozes, I usually get up around 6:00 to 6:10. In the past few weeks, I’ve been waking up at 5:00 a.m. to see if I can gain 30-45 minutes of productivity which has consisted of writing for this blog.

In the past few months I have focused on being the best person I can be. All of this is well and good, but I’ve also placed a focus on living life to the fullest and really just enjoying life. I recently joined Toastmaster. I get REALLY nervous when speaking in front of a large group of people. I also just ran my first half marathon. My wife and I also started taking dance lessons.

I was really disturbed by a recent conversation I had the other day at work with a fellow employee.

We were both washing our hands and I said “hey, how’s it going?”

In typical fashion he said “not bad, and yourself.”

I said: I’m doing well and I’m just trying to wake up. I’m really tired today.”

His reply “Oh, I don’t bother waking up until about 3:30 p.m. when it’s quitting time.”

I was completely floored by this comment. You mean to tell me that he drifts through out the day without meaning and doesn’t wake up until it’s time to go home at 3:30 p.m. For you number junkies out there:

Hours at work: 1840 hours per year (assuming 40 hours per week, 46 weeks per year (on the low side)).

Hours alive: 8736 (assume 52 weeks per year)

Hours awake: 5824

Assuming the individual drifts through working hours basically asleep, this person is “asleep” over 30% of his life per year.

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” – Benjamin Franklin

I don’t know the guy or his situation so perhaps I am reading into things, but the gentlemen I spoke with appeared to be healthy. He was probably between 45 and 50 years old. He appeared to be in fairly good shape. How could he potentially combat this situation? Through reading and study of self improvement and happiness books, one would learn that you have the option of controlling 40% of your happiness. How do you think this gentleman would look back at his hours during work if he was laid off? Do you think he would treat his hours at work differently if he only had a short time to live?

More than anything, it comes down to appreciating what we have NOW. It’s easy to take a job, a spouse, kids, family or friends for granted.

What steps can a person take to refill the appreciation tank?

  1. Imagine what it would be like not to have some of the things in your life. Sadly enough, many people have lost their jobs in the past year. I know my wife and I have really come to appreciate our jobs much more than before because we’ve seen the financial hardship that a job loss has placed on many families.
  2. Go volunteer! It’s easy to live life by simply going through themotions. You wake up, go to work, pick up the kids, go home, eat dinner, go to sleep then repeat. Well, try volunteering at a homeless shelter. This will quickly make you appreciate your family and your home.
  3. Write down what you are thankful for. The written word is powerful. I know writing helps me remember and provokes me to think about things more so than if I were not writing them down. A technique found in “The How of Happiness” suggests that people can increase their happiness by writing down five things which happened during the past week for which they are thankful.

What are these steps towards great appreciation going to do for you?

  1. You will most likely be happier and have more meaning in your life. As you begin to appreciate things more, they’ll have more meaning to you and this will create greater satisfaction in your life knowing that you have these items that mean so much to you.
  2. You’ll develop better relationships. You friends and family will see that you appreciate them more. As is the usual gesture with a friend or good people in general, they will want to reciprocate this appreciation and thus put forth more effort into the relationship.
  3. If you appreciate what you have, you are less likely look at what other people have (The Joneses). This will create less of a “one up” environment and most likely have a positive effect on your pocket book.
  4. If you have an appreciation for the people in your life, you’ll often see a reciprocation from a family member or a friend if that is who you have focused your appreciation upon. This greats a positive foundation that will hopefully duplicate many times over creating a better world for all of us to live in.

Are you awake? Are you waiting for a certain time of time before you start living?

Photo by Mayr

Other Posts:

What Did The New Obama Speech About His Budget Mean to You?
Are Real Estate Guru’s Worth the Money?
Book Review: The Art of The Start
Interview: Professional Blogger
Case Study: My Adventures in Forex Trading (Update: 2/16)


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Comments
March 5, 2009

I love that quote. I totally don’t want to be one of those “asleep/dead” but not yet buried people. 😉

And wow… 5:00am. I’ve been working with jet lag (and waking up at 5:00am was part of the deal) but now I’m onto sleeping later at night. Uh oh.

Nathalie Lussier’s last blog post..Long Overdue Link Love

Posted by Nathalie Lussier
March 5, 2009

Hi Dustin,

The Franklin quote is brilliant. And you’re so right about appreciation and gratefulness. Every minute of life is so precious.

Daphne’s last blog post..How To Write A Personal Creed

Posted by Daphne
March 6, 2009

I get up between 5:30 and 6:00 most days. I find I am much more productive if I get up and get my stuff done. Then I have more time later to really live — by spending time with my family.

I agree that the Ben Franklin quote really is great.

Miranda’s last blog post..Coming Soon: $100 Lending Club Giveaway

Posted by Miranda
March 6, 2009

I have found that most people are asleep 24/7. I’m not kidding.

Most people aren’t truly aware of their life and that they are almost always driven by fear.

My goal is to be constantly aware of every aspect of my life.

Posted by Chris R
March 8, 2009

“…one would learn that you have the option of controlling 40% of your happiness”?

Where does this number of 40% come from? I believer it is much higher. I’m curious about how it is derived. Thank you!

Stephen – Rat Race Trap’s last blog post..Warning: This Board Game Could Get You Out of the Rat Race

March 8, 2009

I really enjoyed the article. i used to be a time freak, since I created my own business 10 years ago. I slowly progressed to a quality mode rather than a quantity mode. Gaining more hours of sleep will only make sense if I can really enjoy them while I am totally aware. Just sleeping less for the sake of it was dull.

But you are right, so many people are developing so many skills to avoid their life.

Dragos Roua’s last blog post..Average versus Exceptional

Posted by Dragos Roua
March 8, 2009

@ Nathalie – Thank you so much for the comment! I’ve gotten accustom to waking up at 5:00 a.m., but I do wake up whenever I feel like it on the weekends.

@ Daphne – Franklin has quite a few really great quotes. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite people from the past.

@ Chris – I definitely agree with you that many people are fueled by fear. That’s probably a large part of the reason why I don’t watch the news.

@ Stephen – 40% is widely accepted in the field of positive psychology. Here’s an article mentioning this theory: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2008/04/overthinking.html
Sonja Lyubomirsky also goes into greater depth in her book “The How of Happiness”. I also did a review of that book: http://happinessisbetter.com/2009/01/29/book-review-the-how-of-happiness/
I can also gather other resources if you are interested!

@ Dragos – Thanks for the comment! I too have also began to focus on quality over quantity. Great point!

Posted by Dustin
March 8, 2009

I usually get up at about 10-11 AM and wake up an hour later. It takes my brain that long to boot up. Waking up early in the morning means my brain doesn’t boot up properly the whole day. So I spent most of my life, until I got out of college, rarely being fully awake. I do much better on a schedule in which I get up late morning, and go to bed in the wee hours.

Elizabeth Barrette’s last blog post..Three Questions: The future of the green blogosphere

Posted by Elizabeth Barrette
March 8, 2009

I enjoyed the article – all true. Few months ago I was also wondering how people just can go into work to “just work and earn money”. Right now I know it – from my own experience:

I get up between 5 and 6 am – and I hate it, but my job requires this (and I like my job just per 50%).

Normally I work very effective – but my problem is: I have to work 8 hours a day, thats demotivating. So after 5-6 hours I am powered out (mental) – having this in mind, I stop really working after something like 4 hours, and thats really strange – I can’t do anything to change the current situation.

It sounds hard – but I know what it means to just get up after work, but it’s hard to enjoy lifetime if you know you have to sit for eight hours at work – its not easy to motivate yourself if you have know you could work better in less time and at the same time it’s not your decision to set the working hours up.

I am working as a software developer and changed my job few months ago, before retiring I usually worked 8 to 9 hours a day at my old employer, just running after my to-do-list. After retiring I got 6 weeks to work out all open projects and instruct my colleagues so they can do my tasks. In this time with the most stress I managed to just work 6 hours a day, and got more productive as in 8 to 9 hours before. So enjoying your lifetime and got motivated at work will also be a influenced by your personal style of work – my personal style is working more effective in less time, if I have to work at least 8 hours, I will stretch my work and get bored after some hours, thats strange and makes me feel asleep (figuratively).

Tobias’s last blog post..MySQL: Soundex & Co.

Posted by Tobias
March 10, 2009

What an interesting blog, will be stopping by again. Elizabeth Barrette sent me over and she was right, great blog. What time do I wake up first 5:30-6, make coffee for hubby and go back to sleep til 8:30 and then I most definitely awake by 10 and present to all by then. Thanks again

Gemma’s last blog post..The Birds & the Bees

Posted by Gemma
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