“No one schedules a meeting at 6AM unless there is an emergency.
Or if you’re talking to someone in India”
When I was back in college, I did everything in my power to avoid those classes at 8AM or 9AM. To be quite honest, I actively avoided any organized activities before 11AM.
My college routine usually included waking up, grabbing late breakfast / early lunch, class in the late morning / early afternoon, working out in the late afternoon / early evening, dinner, and then somehow wasting my time until 3AM or 4AM when I would collapse someplace (hopefully my bed) and then the cycle would start all over again.
Ah - those were the days.
Unfortunately, that bad routine carried over into my working world days after graduation and I discovered that my evening workout routine was not compatible with being a consultant. I always said that one of the best things about being a consultant was that every day when I woke up, I was never sure what was going to happen that day so it was always fresh and exciting - and one of the worst things about being a consultant was that every day when I woke up, I was never sure what was going to happen that day so it wreaked havoc with my schedule. Every day it seemed like there was either a crisis du jour that needed all hands on deck or a team dinner or a critical deadline or the worst of all - mandatory compliance training (ugh). And when one of these things popped up, it wasn’t like I was able to head out to the gym for an hour or so and come back (not if I wanted to stay gainfully employed that is). I think I gained about 20 pounds my first year as a consultant and I wound up spending the rest of my signing bonus getting a new set of clothes to fit my new rotund girth.
I remarked to my manager one time how it was difficult to find time to work out with everything that seemed to come up on a daily basis. That’s when he told me this:
“OK Ed - let me stop you right there. Just so that we’re clear - I’m not paying you to work out, I’m not paying you to eat, I’m not paying you to sleep. I’m paying you to work and to deliver. All that other BS you want to do - you do it on your own time. Let me give you a piece of advice - no one schedules a meeting at 6AM unless there is an emergency.”
While perhaps a little heavy handed, that last nugget of wisdom stuck with me. When I reflected on my day to day schedule, I noticed that my work day never really got loaded with meetings until about 9ish - and from there, each day had its own unique twists and turns. The only time during the day that I could count on to be consistently available was early in the morning (unless I was talking to my off-shore developers in India).
So I started to adjust my schedule and became an early morning workout person. I always thought that the only people who woke up at 5AM to go work out were professional athletes or crazy people - but as I continued working, I became one of those crazy people. And as my career progressed and I needed to carve out time for a personal endeavor (e.g. studying for my GMAT), it became natural for me to do that first thing in the morning before the workday craziness started.
Getting back on a regular workout routine also allowed me to get rid of that “First Year 20” I gained as a new consulting analyst. The only downside? That new set of clothes I purchased no longer fit me - thankfully, I was able to donate them to a local Goodwill. So somewhere, someone enjoyed the benefit of slightly used professional clothing thanks to my schedule epiphany.