More Energy, More Productivity, More Intimacy
Are you tired of being tired? I finally had enough. It didn’t matter how much sleep I got, I never felt rested. I broke down and went to the sleep doctor so he could give me one of those sleep masks I was sure to terrify my wife in the middle of the night. After all the tests, the doctor gave me horrible results: he found nothing wrong with me. Nothing wrong? How about I wake-up a dozen times a night and never feel rested when I wake up. I laughed and demanded he do the tests again. He handed me a book and told me it was time I learn how to sleep.
Skeptical, I read the book. There was nothing new that I hadn’t heard before, but the more I read, the more I realized I had never truly applied these crucial sleep principles. I hesitate to even tell you this because I want you to read the book so badly, but the book’s summary is this: sleep is not about length, sleep is about depth. I was trying to catch up on sleep by going to bed earlier, staying in bed a little longer, sleeping in a little more on the weekends, or taking a Sunday nap. I had no idea every one of my attempts to get more rest was actually robbing me of it.
The book taught me to set a bed time and to never go to bed before that time. The book also taught me to set a wake-up time and never sleep in after it. My new bedtime became no earlier than 10pm (but I can go to bed later), and my new wake-up time is no later than 5am (but I can wake-up before). When we set consistent bedtimes and wake-up times, our bodies get used to the rhythm and respond with deep sleep which results in better rest. Better rest has given me way more energy in my life than I’ve ever experienced before.
After I finished the sleep book, I read a book on early morning productivity called “The 5AM Revolution.” I not only wanted to feel more energy, but I wanted to be more productive. The book helped me design my “dream morning routine.” Through it and other resources, I learned some really helpful tips and tricks to getting up early and getting more done every morning.
- Begin the Night Before: Around 9pm every night, I begin preparing for the next morning by making my breakfast protein shake, setting out my clothes, and reviewing my calendar for the next day. This creates more margin in the morning for more productivity.
- Set Your Alarm: I now set my alarm according to productivity in the morning instead of how I feel that night. No matter how late I go to bed or how tired I feel, I set my alarm for the next morning with productivity in mind.
- Pray: Right before I go to sleep, every night I put my arm over my wife and pray that God would give us peace, deep sleep, and feel rested in the morning. Also, the first thing I do when I wake up is ask God to give me the strength I need that day to accomplish His will.
- Smile: I know this sounds incredibly cheesy, but when we smile when we first wake-up, it helps to release any negative emotions, doubts, or even fears about waking-up early.
- Don’t Tell Yourself How You Feel: This one was huge for me. Every morning I used to ask myself how I felt, and I told myself I felt tired. Of course I felt tired! Everyone feels tired when they first wake-up. When we tell ourselves that we’re tired, we live out that narrative the rest of the day and look forward to bedtime. Instead, I don’t tell myself how I feel until I’ve been awake and out of bed for an hour. That’s when my energy hits, and that’s when I’m feeling good. That’s the narrative I want to live.
Back to a “dream morning routine.” I wanted to accomplish 3 things every morning before going to work: personal devotions, read a chapter in a book, and exercise. Instead of dragging into work after sleeping till the last possible minute, instead I wanted to be personally developed and productive before I entered into the office. Spending my first hour (5am – 6am) with Jesus wakes my heart up. Reading a chapter in a book wakes my mind up. Exercising for 30 minutes wakes my body up. Now that God Himself, and author, and exercise pour energy, productivity, and intimacy into me, I come into work ready to roll. Remember, how you start your day is how you’ll live your day.
I heard someone say recently “hurry is the enemy of intimacy.” My “dream morning routine” has brought me closer to Jesus than I’ve ever been in my life before. Spending the first hour of my day with Him has become my favorite part of my day.
I began to read the One Year Bible plan on the YouVersion app of my smartphone. I have met so many people who read the same plan. My wife reads that same plan, my Senior Pastor reads that plan, my supervisor reads that plan, and I’ve even been to lunch with someone I just met who was reading the same plan. It makes for great conversation with others about what they read and how God spoke to them.
God has taught me how to make my devotions more about intimacy with Him than information about Him. Don’t get me wrong, as a Pastor, I love doctrinal, theological information. But God has convicted me that my personal, devotional time with him is to be about transformation over information.
Here’s what I’ve learned most: I don’t remember every verse I read, but God remembers every verse I pray. God has lead me to not just read the One Year Bible, but to also pray the One Year Bible. As I read, I highlight verses that God especially speaks to me, and I pray those verses for my family, my church, others, and myself. The Bible has become my prayer journal.
I will never go back. I’m so thankful my sleep doctor didn’t hand me some mask for a quick-fix. Instead, God lead me on a journey for more energy from Him, productivity for Him, and intimacy with Him. Are you ready for your journey? What will your dream morning routine be?
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