by Mary Cantando, Founder of The Woman’s Advantage, Guest Contributor

People are often surprised to hear that I get up between 2-5AM every day—and without the aid of an alarm clock. I realize that is an early start, but I am so glad I’ve developed this habit because I get so much accomplished in that “half-day” in my home office before the rest of the world wakes up. (Before you ask, I usually go to bed around 10.)

Here are five benefits I’ve found to waking up early.

Five Reasons to Get an Early Start

1. Gain time for morning rituals without jumping into the day.

An early start allows you to get your bearings—whether you do that through prayer, meditation, or just relishing that second cup of tea. It allows you to get your act together before the craziness begins.

2. Better use of the first half of your day.

Because my phone is not ringing and emails are not flooding into my in box, I can accomplish hours of undistracted work before 8AM.

3. Fit exercise into your schedule.

I work until about 8:30 and then head out to the gym as kind of a mid-day break. At that time, the parking lot is less crowded and I don’t have to fight to use equipment.

4. Shorten your commute.

Because I work from a home office, I don’t have to deal with rush hour, but if you do, consider the difference in your commute if you were able to be at your desk by 6 or 7 AM.

5. Lengthen the day.

This doesn’t mean YOU have to work longer hours than before. Imagine if you finished up your work day by 2PM every day; you could pick your kids up at school or start a new hobby in the afternoon. If your staff continued working until 6PM, then you’ve effectively turned your company’s office hours from eight a day to twelve. This might be valuable to you, especially if you deal with multiple time zones.