I like sleep. I really do. It feels great. Now that I think about it, I LOVE sleep. The covers. My bed. The coolness of the pillow. It's always one of my favorite things to do. However, I also like getting things done. I'm addicted to productivity. There's no better feeling than maximizing your time and following through. And one of the biggest secrets to getting things done is waking up early.
But what happens if you're not a morning person? (Because trust me when I say, I'm not at all.) How do you wake up at 6a? 5:30a? Dare I say 5a?! Yeah. 5am wakeups are the secret sauce to creating more time for yourself to get things done. And even if you're a night owl, like me, you can train yourself to get up early on a consistent basis.
Here are 5 actionable tips you can apply immediately to become a morning person:
PREP THE NIGHT BEFORE
This is where 98% of us drop the ball. We don't position ourselves to win in the morning. And when we wake up at the butt crack of dawn, we wonder why nothing is getting done. It's because nothing was prepared. Take 20-30 minutes before your bedtime to make small decisions that need to be made for your tomorrow to be smooth sailing. What will you wear to the gym? What will you wear to work? What will you eat for breakfast? Do you have coffee? Cream? Sugar? Does the car have gas? Is your phone on the charger? Are your car keys somewhere you'll remember when you're on your way out?
Preparation the night before results in an autopilot morning. And trust me, when you're up that early, you don't want to do much thinking. It's easier to get things done when you don't have to make real-time decisions.
PLACE YOUR ALARM IN ANOTHER ROOM
As someone who is the queen of the snooze button, there's no worse feeling than promising yourself that you’ll wake up at a certain time just to wake up an hour later and realize you hit snooze like 3 times.
It doesn't matter how good your intentions are, if you're a snooze-a-holic, you have to eliminate being able to hit snooze within an arm's reach.
Place your alarm clock—or the cell phone that you use as an alarm— in another room. It should be a nearby room so you can hear it and not necessarily wake up everyone in your house, but far enough so you have to get up to turn the alarm off.
Once you get up, don’t get back in bed. Wash your face with cool water or drink a glass of cold water to wake up. (Cold water gets your metabolism working because water has to be room temp before it's digested.) I like to place my phone in my bathroom because my bathroom is in my bedroom and is closest to my side of the bed.
Getting up to turn your alarm off forces you to get up and stay up.
WAKE UP GRATEFUL
For most of us, when we wake up, we're dreading doing a bunch of morning chores or going to a subpar job we hate. That's why when we wake up, we drag our feet to get our day started.
But what if the first thought you had when you woke up was, “I'm happy to be alive”?
I'll tell you what, nothing will have you hopping out of your bed quite like gratefulness will. Not even your alarm clock. If you're thankful that you got another chance to get it right, then wake up with enthusiasm. You might not get there immediately, but it's a great mindset to have as your goal every day.
Gratefulness is the currency of favor, and it's also the mental space you need to be in if you want to wake up early consistently.
CREATE A ROUTINE
So what exactly happens when you wake up? Because that's important. The point of waking up early is to get more done (in this case), so what are you doing once you're awake?
This is where your morning routine comes in.
Everyone needs something a little different to ensure they have a positive, physical, and productive day.
To ensure a POSITIVE day, do you need:
To ensure a PHYSICAL day, do you need:
+ Strength training
To ensure a PRODUCTIVE day, do you need:
Pick one activity from each group to create a well-rounded morning routine. At least 20 minutes of an activity in each group will make for an hour well spent in the morning. Don't forget to include getting yourself ready and having breakfast within your routine as well. A two-hour morning routine—positive, physical, productive, getting ready, and eating breakfast—is pretty reasonable. (Don't forget to consider your commute as well!)
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
This seems like a given, but I think we all know it's not. Here's the thing, this is where self-awareness comes in. How much sleep do you need to function productively throughout the day? While 8 hours of sleep is suggested, it may not be necessary. If I get 6 hours of sleep, I'm in great shape for the day. 8 hours of sleep makes me too groggy. How much sleep do you really need?
The whole "sleep while you're dead" spiel is very much overrated. If you're running on fumes, you’ll be the equivalent of a walking zombie. When you’re exhausted, it's also hard to be grateful, follow a routine, and actually wake up when your alarm goes off. I'm all about an early start, but only if you're physically equipped to do that.
Try out different bedtimes each night for a week, journal when you're most rested (without grogginess), and then strive for that amount of sleep moving forward. Typically, 6-7 hours of sleep is sufficient for the average person.
You don't have to be a natural morning person to be an early riser and take advantage of a morning routine. All it takes is some preparation, strategic alarm placement, gratefulness, routine, and rest!