For a 10 year stretch of my adult life in my late 20’s and 30’s, I had to get up each morning at 4am just to get enough of my work done to stay perpetually and painfully behind.

Thank God that’s over.

Just like then, I still sleep until I have to get up. However, now it’s 7-7:30.

It’s early enough to get almost everything done that I have to do, but it’s not early enough to get done what I want to do.

Have to do’s vs. want to do’s.

The want to do’s don’t win because it requires sacrificing sleep. And as my friend Arthur says, sleep is delicious. As is sin for a season.

But occasionally I’ll pump myself up to get up super early again, say 4-4:30am, so I can do the want to do’s-workout, read the Word, pray, write, etcetera. Then the next morning, exhausted from the insanely long day before (and I’m not 30 years old anymore) I pound on the snooze bar until it breaks and I wake up guilt-ridden and deflated at 7:30.

Then it takes 7 months to psych myself into tackling the want to do’s again. There has to be a better way.

There is. It’s The Slight Edge. I’ve referred before to the book by Jeff Olson.

I am going to slight edge my sleep. Instead of trying to capture super-size chunks of time in the morning even before God wakes up, I’m going to set my alarm for 1 hour earlier than normal. I’ll use that hour for the want to do’s and over the course of 1 year I’ll have invested 365 hours in them. Or maybe I’ll sleep late on Sundays and still have 313 hours towards my want to do’s. As Olson comments, this type of small decision changes the trajectory of your life.

I’m hoping that the 2 competing lists will become one. Doing the want to do list will result in such compounding, gratifying progress that it becomes a have to do habit.

Charles Stanley said that discipline determines your destiny. But discipline starts with a decision. And I get to make that decision each morning at 6 o’clock.

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