I have been on a ride of reading morning-productivity books recently and it has been really helpful in shifting my lifestyle to a morning riser lifestyle. As I’m currently between working from home and coffee-shops, it can get a little hard to maintain the productive tempo for the day, especially that I still have to maintain time to spend with my family. So here are the books I read in the order I read them and my review for them:
1. “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” by Lauran Vanderkam
I’m glad I started with this book, it was a fast and short read (32 pages only!), provided the right examples of successful people and what their morning habits were, and provided interesting psychology and analysis behind the benefits of early morning.
The author first explained the morning rituals as: “activities that don’t have to happen and certainly don’t have to happen at a specific hour. These are activities that require internal motivation.” It’s those activities that you have to carry out but tend to push away because really need concentration, focus, and energy from us.
The reason those activities need to be done in the morning was attributed to what the author defined as “Willpower”: “You have one energy resource that is used for all kinds of acts for self-control.” So in early morning after a good night sleep, your willpower tank is full and during this time, you have the purest of focus and strength to do something that tends to be hard to do any other time of the day or after eventful day, such as working out, writing that big chunk report, strategizing and planning, and so on. Make sure you don’t spend that willpower on tasks that can be done mindlessly at any other time of the day such as: email checking, social media, and so on. And the greatness of the early hours is that those hours are often before anyone else wakes up at your home, so you don’t have interruptions.
It’s a great book, definitely puts you on the fast track and motivates you to get started with this routine. It does mention that it could be hard in the beginning, but committing to it for a month will make it a habit and will do you wonders.
I give this book: 4.5/5
2. “The Ultimate Guide To Waking Up Early” by Gordon Sharp
This was an easy read too, but in comparison to the other two books it wasn’t deep enough to give guidelines or explanations. Perhaps for someone who is already committed to morning rituals this could have been a good book to keep them on track, but it’s not the kind of books that would get you to convert your lifestyle to be an early riser.
The book however did bring out two important points:
“Becoming an early riser means committing to a 9 p.m. bedtime and a habit of getting the rest your body needs.” No ifs and buts, you want to be an early functional riser, you need to sleep early and let go of late nights lifestyle. The funny thing is when I started this new shift, I kept getting this regular sarcastic comment: “So now you’re like a westerner, sleeping and waking up so early!” So if you’re in our Arab region, you need to be prepared that this shift will be frowned upon, but the results will be worth ignoring those voices!
The second important point the book brought up is this: “Successful people are successful people because they set goals and boundaries and they don’t let anyone interfere with them.” I believe this point is really important, for the simple reason that people will always have something to say about your goals, your plans, your lifestyle and everything that they have no right to say a thing about. So you need to be very sure about your goals, plans, and lifestyle, so you can be confident enough to keep people out of them and ignore the naysayers!
I give this book: 3.5/5
3. “Supercharge Your Mornings” by Dennis Crosby
I loved this book. It was short enough yet detailed enough with the right amount of examples, exercises, quotes and guidelines.
The author tracked down her morning habits and then interviewed a number of successful and rich people to see the common habits, then detailed and simplified them further for this book to make it as easy to follow as possible.
There are many great techniques and pointers in the book to follow, here are some of them:
- Ensure you start working with the biggest chunk of work that you tend to avoid, push till end of the day, and then push for the next day and so on. Start with that monster (or like she says it: “Slay the dragon first”) so you can be fully focused on it and mark an achievement by finishing the monster first every morning.
- Make sure you put detailed plan of the most important tasks you want to accomplish in the morning and have them all prepared from the night before so you avoid procrastination.
- Be aware of your distractions, as you eliminate your distractions there will still be new distractions taking over. Be conscious of them and of what eats up your time, and try to be firm with yourself at your focus periods by ensuring you cut them out.
- Make sure you put weekly plans (and monthly and yearly) not only daily plans so you can measure your productivity and accomplishments. Being able to measure and track down your achievements is one of the very important changes to increase your productivity. You would think you’re already doing it but you’ll be surprised when you start following the author’s approach in tracking and you will find your productivity skyrocketing.
I loved this book, it gave me great structure to proceed with and I highly recommend anyone who wants to jumpstart their mornings to read this book. It’s perfectly short and works like a reference book to keep going back and forth to in order to maintain your momentum.
I give this book: 5/5