When I was a teenager and into my early 20s, I would sleep very little. My motto was “No rest for the wicked” or “I’ll sleep when I die.” Unfortunately, my time investment was not spent on growing or running a business, inventing the newest life-changing product or finding a cure for a debilitating disease. My time investment was built solely on relationships. Just like most twenty-somethings, I was a social butterfly, enjoying life and paying little attention to my future.
Many nights I would sleep four to five hours and the next morning drag myself to work, that is, if I had the willpower to drag my butt out of bed. Too often I slept in, but having a gracious boss who saw my potential, I was able to stay employed. I would often make a vow to myself to hit the sheets earlier that night. Yah, that never happened.[quote align=’right’]When a business doesn’t implement systems for management and policy, as it grows, problems will surface and if systems are not utilized, that company will fail.[/quote]
I was a night owl and knew I could function with very little sleep. I mastered the snooze button—I could hit snooze almost instantly and without opening my eyes. My personal best was hitting snooze every nine minutes for three hours! …yes, it’s possible.
I got married when I was 24 and brought this lovely habit into my daily activities of marriage, which probably annoyed my wife much more than she ever let on. It was only a couple of years ago that I began to truly master the snooze button and gain full control over it.
I started my main business (Zeal Media) in 2011 and instantly became responsible for keeping motivated and inspired, and without knowing what that meant, I did my best. I had no mentor and very little outside influence on my life. I was on my own. Thank God for the internet, books and podcasts. I have found much inspiration and learning.
I have been listening and reading about the habits of successful entrepreneurs for a while now. I always wondered how they manage to get so much done all the time, as if they were a different breed or superhuman or something. Hearing how some entrepreneurs sleep 4 or 5 hours a night, I established an ideal in my mind that I would also need to sleep very little to be successful. What I was lacking was not hours put in, but rather focused hours put in. I lacked structure.
Up until recently, my whole methodology in business matched my personal life; go with the flow. Let me tell you this: It doesn’t work this way in business. Don’t get me wrong, I ran my business well and grew it year over year, but as it grew I knew that I had to develop systems to keep things running smoothly. When a business doesn’t implement systems for management and policy, as it grows, problems will surface and if systems are not utilized, that company will fail. You cannot scale a company without first having a well oiled machine.
I have implemented certain things to help with management and organization, and though I am still working to improve and make things more automated, I have seen great advances. I used to ease into my day slowly. By the time the evening rolled around, I would get my “second wind” and work hard until about 1:00 – 3:00am, depending on how I felt. I am a great proponent of listening to your body, and if I felt tired or sickness trying to attack me, I would head to bed for a little more rest than usual. I believed that the best way to get things done for me was to work until I pass out from exhaustion.
A few weeks ago, I changed my life. I am not an night owl nor an early bird. I am Ryan, and I am in control of my body and life. If I want to be a night owl, I can. If I want to get the worm, I get up early.
I started going to bed at 11:00pm and getting up at 5:00am, and it has made a world of difference. I shifted my energy and it only took a few days for my body to fall into a pattern. Now I start the day early and hit the ground running. I spend the first few hours reading, researching, learning and planning. I go throughout the day more focused, have more energy and accomplish more than I did staying up into the wee hours of the night. I am now a firm believer in a sleep schedule.
What systems are you implementing to scale growth in your business? I would love to hear, please comment below!