• Saturday, May 18, 2024


British Asian achievers share secrets of early starts


HIGH-ACHIEVING British Asians have revealed one of the keys to their success – waking up early.

They told Eastern Eye they follow the idea that the early bird catches the worm, with many getting out of bed between 4am and 6am every day.

Doctors, entrepreneurs and chefs said they use the time in the morning to set goals, plan their day and exercise or meditate.

It comes after famous personalities, such as Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, revealed he is up at 3:45 am to answer emails, while the wife of US president Barack Obama, Michelle, said she does a 4:30am workout.

Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, starts her day at 4am.

Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford, a Labour peer, said he is at his most productive in the early hours.

The director of the England and Wales Cricket Board management board told Eastern Eye: “I normally get up about 6 am to catch up on the news, then by about 6.30-7 am I am at my most alert.

“I can deal with urgent emails and papers, as well as prepare for the day ahead – issues that felt complex the night before do seem clearer and I am able to complete them much quicker.

“I still make the mistake of reading a lot of my emails before I go to bed – this is not advised as the issues tend to stay in my mind as I go to sleep, which is not helpful.

“If I could, I would prefer to go to the cricket nets at 7am and bat for half an hour – I am sure that would focus my mind!”

Research in the US has shown that early risers are more productive and were more likely to agree with statements such as “I feel in charge of making things happen”.

They are also more likely to anticipate problems and handle them more effectively.

Dr Suman Saha, co-founder and medical director of the Doctify website, said he is used to rising at 6am after years of working in hospitals.

He said: “The morning is the only time of the day I generally have to myself, it’s my only meditative time for self-reflection.

“It is also the only predictable part of my day! I start with emails, but I get all the activity of the last 24 hours sent to me so I can monitor and highlight any urgent issues and triage [decide the order of treatment] them.

“After a long shower, where I get most of my thinking done, I walk to my local coffee shop and order a dry cappuccino, my daily treat to myself, and that first sip resets me and kick-starts the day.

“I then put my headphones on and walk to the office where I usually do an hour’s work before everyone arrives.”

Raj Dhonota, an angel investor and former contestant on BBC show The Apprentice, has a long day with a 4:30 am alarm.

He said: “It enables me to manage my Asian business interests before I focus on the UK during the day and then US in the evening.

“I love what I do, which makes it much easier to get out of bed, and as it’s been a routine for so long I very rarely need the alarm to sound.

For additional energy and mental alertness when I feel a little groggy, I will shower and then have a green tea whilst relaxing in our conservatory, focusing on my list of priorities for the day which helps to focus the mind.”

Previous research has shown that a pattern of going to bed at a sensible time and waking up earlier leads to better sleep.

Manju Malhi, a chef and food writer, is up by 6.30am on most days.

She said: “First, I have my breakfast cup of Assam tea with a small splash of milk.

“Then I check out the news on television and the radio while sipping the chai.

“I respond to a few urgent emails or press the send button from ones I’ve drafted the day before I Tweet and Facebook a dish.

Malhi added: “After that, I start on some recipe research where I jot down any new ideas for cooking, tick off my mini-list for the day and finally head off to a kitchen to cook.

“This is the place where I’m most relaxed because I’m happy that my menu for the day ahead is sorted and planned just like my ingredients.”


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