Hi, friends! It’s Elizabeth here, and I am so excited to share Episode 781 of Primal Potential with you today! Primal Potential is a podcast all about you — your ability to change is not defined by yesterday and doesn’t need to wait until tomorrow. Your transformation is now, no matter what stage you find yourself in life!
This episode is a powerful one. Today, I’m talking with Jeff Sanders, and he’s here to help you make small changes that add up to a much more fulfilling life.
Do you ever feel too busy? Do you find yourself saying, “There’s just not enough hours in the day!”? Do you wish you could be more productive?
I’m right there with you. Productivity has been a huge struggle for me in different parts of my life, so I get it! It’s a struggle! But it doesn’t have to be that way. I know for me, it comes down to mornings. When I started being a better steward of my time in the mornings, I not only became more productive, but I created a habitual pattern of productivity. And that has truly transformed the way I live my life and run my business.
But I know I still have room to grow! That’s why I couldn’t wait to talk to Jeff Sanders. He’s an expert on productivity, and his advice is life-changing. Today, he’s here to teach us how to get earlier and really own our time in the mornings. Additionally, Jeff has some incredible advice for anyone who wants to create a life that is manageable and enjoyable, and he talks us through some great ways to wisely leverage our energy and handle distractions.
Are you ready to stop letting your day run you over instead of taking charge of your time and living a life you enjoy? Then dive into my interview with Jeff Sanders to find out how to do just that!
Who Is Jeff Sanders?
Jeff Sanders is one of the very best productivity experts I know! He’s a highly sought after keynote speaker at universities and organizations around the country. He’s also a productivity coach and the host of The 5 AM Miracle, a podcast which boasts over 9 million downloads and six award nominations!
Jeff is also the author of a couple of incredible books on the topic of productivity, which you can check out here! His first book is called The Free-Time Formula, and in it, he offers his best strategies for decreasing busyness so you can focus on the things that matter and be the high achiever you want to be. His more recent book, The 5 AM Miracle, talks about his own journey to get up early, get going, and leverage his time wisely for maximum productivity and how you can do it too.
Jeff Sanders is a genuinely brilliant and talented person, and I am so glad to have him on the podcast today! He has a lot of wisdom and good advice to share, and we get into a lot of great stuff in our conversation! (In fact, you’ll probably want to have a pen and paper nearby — you’re going to want to take some notes!) So with that, let’s get into it:
It Feels Amazing to Feel Amazing
As you may have guessed, Jeff Sanders gets up at 5 AM. Ouch, right? That’s early! But here’s the thing: early mornings are an excellent opportunity for productivity, and you don’t have to be some kind of superhuman to create a routine of getting up early.
Jeff Sanders didn’t start out as a morning person — he was just a busy person who wanted to feel less stressed out. He decided to take charge of his day and start getting up earlier to make use of extra time first thing in the morning:
“… I knew that I was living day to day, stressed out and overworked, and I knew something had to shift. … And so what I tried was a set of experiments … and the goal of this certain experiment was to wake up early and see if a 5 AM wake-up call would allow me time to run before work. … And on day one, when I tried this, it felt miraculous to me … I felt phenomenal. Even though I had slept less that night, I still felt really good because I had done something for myself.” – Jeff Sanders
Getting up early in the morning is fantastic because it allows you to fit in things you want to get done before the day takes over and you run out of time. For so many of us — including Jeff — when we get busy with work and family and friends, exercise is the first thing to go. But if you can find a way to get up and have even just an hour or two before most of the world is awake, you’ll feel amazing. It feels amazing to feel amazing!
And it doesn’t have to be difficult. I know many of us — me included — are tempted to say, “I’d love to get up earlier, but then I’d have to go to bed earlier, and late at night is the only time I have to relax!” I get it! But consider this: what could you be doing with that extra time in the mornings?
“And so 5 AM for some people just sounds like torture, and they just refuse to even try. And I get it. Like, it’s not easy, but I tend to focus on, like, ‘What do I get from this?’ And I really try to ask myself, like, ‘What’s the benefit here? And how can I keep my mind focused on that?’” – Jeff Sanders
Find your motivation for getting up a little early to take advantage of the extra hours of motivation and productivity. For some people, it’s exercising, but it doesn’t have to be that for you. Maybe you want the extra time when you’re awake and fresh to do some meal prep for the day. Perhaps you want to do some laundry or clean your house. Ask yourself, “What could I get out of this? What would be the benefit of a few extra hours of productivity time?” My guess is that you’ll be able to come up with plenty of things that will motivate you to get up early in no time!
Separate What Is Necessary and What Is Fluffy
Even if you can think of plenty of ways to fill those extra morning hours, it may still be challenging to think about going to bed early! So what are some strategies you can use if you want to shift your sleep schedule in order to wake up earlier?
“You shouldn’t let yourself get into things when you know that that’s time to end the day. And so for me, the only thing that’s worked is a very strict evening boundary, and I have an alarm on my phone that goes off. It says, ‘This is it. You’re done for the day. Stop, put it away, and prepare for bed.” – Jeff Sanders
So set boundaries for yourself, and then choose to stick to them! If you want to utilize the early morning hours to maximize your productivity, decide to stop working earlier in the evening so you can get a full night’s sleep and be ready to go in the morning.
It’s all about being the best steward of your time you can be. If you can find a way to reprioritize your schedule, you can structure your day so that it’s easy to get up as early as 5 AM. And not only that, but you’ll find yourself being significantly more productive toward your goals!
“I think the biggest thing for me that has shifted in the last few years has come from being very diligent about what I’m saying yes to and then letting go of absolutely everything else. … So you have to be very specific about saying I’m going to address these few things, and that’s it and everything else that’s fluffy or unnecessary or is not going to make a significant difference in my goals, I’m just not going to do. And that takes a real, like, self-awareness around what you’re currently working on to know what is necessary and what is fluffy.” – Jeff Sanders
What are your priorities? (This is where it’s a good idea to pull out your journal and start writing!) Think about your daily routine from your job to cooking and cleaning to your side hustle — everything you do in a day — and ask yourself, “What is necessary and what is fluffy? What are the things that make a big difference each day?” Once you’ve identified tasks you do each day that just aren’t going to move the needle toward your goals, go ahead and cut them out of your schedule!
Here’s the thing: when you aren’t diligent about your priorities, you’re going to struggle to be a better steward of your time. But when you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish each day, you’re much more likely to design your day to be as productive as you can be.
Create the Life You Want to Live
Here’s the bottom line: maximum productivity and managing your sleep schedule and all the things we’ve been talking about today are about creating a life you enjoy living. It’s about designing your schedule around your top priorities and cutting out the things that don’t move you toward your goals or bring you joy and fulfillment.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure your priorities are in order. Besides helping you create a sleep schedule that allows you to wake up earlier, making sure you know what your priorities are and investing your time in those things will help you create the life you want to live.
“… there are simple things you can do. Like one thing I do every single week is a review process. I take about an hour and a half on Sunday afternoon, and I will review the last week, ask myself, ‘What went well? And how can next week be better?’ And just taking an hour out of my week to ask those kinds of questions will then cause me to cut things that don’t matter and actually create an ideal schedule for the upcoming week to make sure it matches my priorities.” – Jeff Sanders
What parts of your daily routine just don’t match up with your priorities? Take a little time to go over your schedule for the day or the week and consider what tasks aren’t bringing you fulfillment. Jeff even suggests asking yourself, “What am I not looking forward to this week? What do I not want to do?” so that you can find a way to remove the things from your schedule that just don’t connect with who you are and who you want to be. The point is to make sure you’re using your time to advance toward your goals and create a life that is fulfilling and enjoyable for you. And if waking up early is part of that strategy, then find a way to get up early!
And if you’re still saying, “Nope, 5 AM just sounds absolutely terrible,” that’s okay! It’s really about leveraging your time and using your energy cycles wisely.
“I’m still kind of working on … really leveraging my energy cycles throughout the day. … 5 AM is not my typical wake-up time even today, but there’s a goal for me to really ask the question, like, ‘When do I feel my best?’ How can I leverage those kinds of energy times in the day to do my hardest work?’… I know a lot of people who are night owls will do their best work, you know, at 7 PM to midnight, and if that’s the case for you, then leverage that time and really make sure you’re focused and can really tackle those things that matter.” – Jeff Sanders
Use your time wisely. That’s all there is to it! Take some time today or this weekend to consider what parts of your schedule are vital and what parts can go. Then, consider what times of the day are most productive for you, and leverage that time wisely to get the maximum amount done when you’re at your highest energy level. When you design your day around your energy cycles, you can get the most out of each day and really create the life you want to live!
“It’s a Lifestyle of Thinking More Creatively …”
Are you ready to maximize your productivity? Do you want to leverage your time and use your energy wisely to make as much progress toward your goals as you can? You can do it, and you can start today! It’s just about learning to think creatively and design your day in the way that’s best for you.
“It’s a lifestyle of thinking more creatively, thinking with possibility, thinking with ‘what ifs’ and ‘how can I’s’. And it’s a language that you have to really learn how to speak.” – Jeff Sanders
So consider your daily routine with creativity! How can you use your time wisely? What would be possible if you found a way to get up early and use your mornings for maximum productivity?
Thank you so much for checking out this episode! Jeff Sanders is an incredible person, and I’m so grateful to him for the time he spent sharing his helpful advice today! If you enjoyed this interview and you’d like to connect more with Jeff and his content, remember to check out his podcast, The 5 AM Miracle, and his books, The Free-Time Formula and The 5 AM Miracle.
And, if you’d like some extra support, a little more coaching, and accountability, I want you to get on the waitlist for our next 12 Weeks of Transformation! In this program, I work with people in a much more personal and structured way to create change. We tackle our excuses head-on and find the core values that will motivate you to take action. If you’re not sure what to do next, I encourage you to check out 12 Weeks to Transformation and get on that waitlist!
I’d also love to connect with you via text! I send out text messages with my daily mindset upgrades and daily encouragement. I know they will empower you as you take action and close the gap!
Thanks, everyone! I’m so glad you chose to join me today. Now get out there and use your time to create the life you want to live!