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I just started chanting 16 rounds, but for my new job I have to leave home at 8:30, work 9:30-6:30, and come back home at 8:00. How can I get up early enough to finish my rounds?

Hare Krishna! Thanks for your question! It is a common dilemma, especially these days, when everyone is working hard just to maintain a simple lifestyle.

You ask about getting up early. Getting up early depends on going to sleep early, so actually your early morning japa starts the night before!

The habits you maintain during the day will greatly influence your ability to get to sleep at night, for example: what you eat and when you eat it. It's very important that you don't eat heavy meals just before bed. Since you get home from work at 8, you're probably ready for dinner, so you'll have to arrange that dinner isn't too heavy a meal; not fried, no yogurt, not too much dahl and rice either. Vegetables and light roti/bread will be best, and eat only enough to satisfy your hunger. If you eat heavily, it will prevent you from rising early and also make you dull-headed when you first get up. Drink a lot of water during the day and, in general, eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible.

You will also sleep best if you "wind down" by hearing something transcendental. Read a few pages or hear a tape, until you feel drowsy, and then go to bed. If you can get to bed even by 10:00 you will be able to rise by 6 and still get 8 hours rest. If you get to bed by 9, then you can rise at 5. Actually, you probably don't require 8 hours of sleep, but gradually work toward sleeping less if you're already used to more. If you can get down to even 7, that will give you more japa time before you go to work.

Also, when you rise in the morning, rise quickly. Don't allow your mind to lull you into lying around in bed. Get up and offer a prayer to your spiritual master or Lord Krishna, go directly to a cool shower (brush your teeth, etc.), then begin your japa...don't check e-mail or talk to anyone, etc., etc.; just chant.

Sometimes I find it helpful to chant in batches of 4 rounds at a time and then take a bit of a break, walk around, or stand if you were sitting, then chant another 4. Try not to stop before you have completed 12 rounds, or even 16...that will be best.

I hope these tips are helpful.

If I can be of further assistance please let me know.
Laxmimoni dasi