Plan the previous night, if you want to wake up early
- Waking up early on a regular basis doesn’t just give you time to plan your day better, it is also good for your health
- A lot of people skip breakfast as they are getting late for work; others reach office and then grab some unhealthy junk
Shailja Mittal, founder of Koala Kabs— safe taxi transport service for women, kids and the elderly with women taxi drivers in Delhi NCR, wakes up at 5.30am every day. An alumna of Delhi College of Engineering, Mittal says there are two reasons which are key to making her an early riser. In 2017, when she started Koala cabs, she was suddenly busier than ever. Since she wanted to spend more time with her two children, an eleven-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son, she decided to start her day early. She spends quality time getting them ready for school every morning. Second, waking up early has helped her to keep time aside for her other passion: dance. She spends time dancing to a Bollywood playlist curated by her husband.
She keeps this routine on all days except during school vacations when she takes a half-hour leeway and wakes up at 6am. Sunday, too, is generally a relaxing day for her and a day when she sleeps late.
Mittal says waking up early is a habit she picked from her mother who would finish most of her home chores in the morning. She sleeps around 10.30pm after spending one hour in planning the next day.
Waking up early gives Mittal time with herself. She says half-an-hour session of dancing helps her set the rhythm right for the day. “Managing a business can often be overwhelming. Dancing is my outlet to vent out and tune out all the negativity and unwanted thoughts," she says. It’s a win-win for her. Music is food for soul, and dancing stimulates her physically and emotionally. “It invigorates me," she says.
Mittal has been dancing since she was 15. Then, it helped her cope with the stress of studies. Today, it does that and keeps her fit too. “After dancing, somehow, I feel I am better equipped to deal with the challenges that life has to offer. Everyone should have energizing activity, and what better time than early morning to indulge in it," she says.
It makes for such fun memories too. She remembers when her son was younger, he was so elated by the music and watching her dance that he joined her. “During holidays, both the children sometimes join me for a quick Zumba session on their favourite tracks—and this makes for well-spent, enriching family time for all of us," she says.
On waking up, Mittal likes to start her day with a chant. She chants “om" 10 to 15 times and then she heads straight to warm water for tea. By 6am, both her children and husband wake up.
Between Mittal and her husband, the couple have divided duties: He gets the children ready for school, while Mittal handles the kitchen and prepares the tiffin boxes. After seeing the children off to school by 7am, she begins her personal energizing time. In this period, she doesn’t check her emails or thinks about work at all.
Work-related reading begins only when she reaches office.
The waking hours
Mittal believes that “early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise" is not just a phrase; it is a real talisman. “Waking up early doesn’t just give you time to plan your day, it is also good for health. Our hormonal health too depends on sleeping early and waking up early," she says.
According to her, this habit also relaxes the body and mind by allowing you to do your morning things at your own pace rather than doing them hurriedly and mechanically.
A lot of people skip breakfast as they are getting late for work; others reach office and then grab some unhealthy junk. “This doesn’t happen if you wake up early. You will have time to eat well so that you can manage your day well. In my case, since I start early, I also get to end it early and head home to spend quality time with my family," she says.
The Morning Diary traces leaders to see how they manage their time after waking up early.