Beep! Beep! Beep!
That’s your morning alarm, aka the most dreaded sound in the whole universe.
But what if we told you that it needn’t be the sound of terror? Mornings are famously the most productive part of the day and all it takes is a simple routine to get your day off to the right start. So, (tearfully) say goodbye to lie ins. Here is a simple guide, with spatterings of inspiration from famous trailblazers, on how to become a MORNING PERSON. Yes, we believe in you!
Resist the temptation
When that bleeping goes off and you have nothing specific to get up for, it’s oh so tempting to rationalize a lie in. “I have nothing on until lunchtime,” and “I have all day to do my work,” are all thought processes we can relate to. That’s where self control comes in. Think of it as a muscle; if you never flex the discipline muscle, it quickly becomes weaker and we find ourselves waking up at 11am every day and unable to break the habit. So, even if you have no particular reason to be up and about early in the morning, do it anyway. Research has discovered that self control works in tandem with the passing of time.
Researchers at the University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Education in Singapore uncovered that as the day wears on, your self control becomes increasingly exhausted. That’s why it’s important to make the most of the innate discipline that the morning affords.
Mark Twain, the author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, concurred with this theory back in the day. In his own (poetic) words:
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Loosely translated, this means that if you complete your big tasks early, the rest of the day will be a breeze! Brian Tracy took the metaphor and ran with it. He wrote a book called Eat That Frog which was sited in an article about morning rituals by Gina Trapani. She suggested you write your frog down on a piece of paper, stick it up in your office at the end of the day so that when you arrive at work the next day, your big task awaits.
If this hasn’t convinced you, take a look at some of the morning rituals of some of the most successful people in the world.
The brains behind Apple revealed his routine whilst giving a speech at Stanford in 2005. He said:
‘For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.’
Every day, the entrepreneur and investor has the same three-hour morning routine. He wakes up at 6am, reads the news (mostly ESPN, Business Insider, and a news aggregator called Nuzzel), before connecting with his Twitter followers. “I respond to as many people as possible.” Then, he scrolls through his Instagram feed, works out for 45 minutes, hugs his kids, and calls members of his family on his way to the office. “I really value those small moments. You have to use every second you get in a day.”
He might have a million emails that need replying to, but the founder of Tumblr doesn’t dive into them until he reaches his office at 10:00am after a pleasant 15-minute walk from home. He goes with the philosophy that if something is urgent, someone will call him. Until then, he dances to his own tune and checks his personal emails first before tackling work related ones. Dedicating personal time in the morning is his key to keep a good work-life balance.
Before the editor-in-chief of Vogue has even chosen her outfit for the day, she plays a game of tennis at 5:45am that lasts a full hour!
It’s all very well reading about how the super successful get their head off the pillow in the morning, but not all of us have a tennis court to hand at the crack of dawn. For us mere mortals, here are a few practical ways to make sure you get up on time.
1. Baby steps
Just because you’ve decided to begin your new life as a morning bird doesn’t mean you have to wake up at 4am tomorrow and for the rest of your life. Have realistic expectations of yourself and do it in 15 minute chunks. Keep doing this until you reach the goal time.
2. Go to bed earlier
This might seem like an obvious one, but surfing the internet until midnight won’t help the cause. Eventually you’re body clock will change and all will work in harmony.
3. Get up slowly
And by this, we don’t mean you go so slowly that you fall asleep again. However, leaping out of bed as soon as the cock crows can be stressful and unsustainable. So, set yourself two alarms; one to gently wake you up and the second 10 minutes later when you have to get out of bed. Try reading a book in the middle in order to get your day off to an inspiring start.
4. Schedule early activities during the weekend
The most tempting time to have a mammoth lie-in is at the weekend, so the way to combat this is to schedule stuff you have to get up for. Organize a class or an activity with a friend, or just make time for something you would never have time for any other day.
5. Plan your morning routine to the second
You’re more likely to stick to a meticulous plan than some loose agenda which can be adapted, delayed, postponed… well, you get the picture. Plan your morning activities in quick succession. For example, on which alarm do you get out of bed? Will you have a shower before or after breakfast? How long will you allow yourself to get dressed?
Make yourself a mini timetable and you’ll be out of the door, keys and phone in pocket, bright eyed and bushy tailed.
6. Tech ban
It’s common knowledge that looking at your smartphone or laptop before bed has repercussions on how well you sleep. So, logic dictates that the better or earlier you get to sleep, the earlier you’ll wake up. Not only that, you’ll wake up feeling alert and refreshed. Give yourself a curfew with electronics or get rid of them altogether.
7. Adopt a furry friend
If there’s anything that will get you up in the morning, it’s for cuddles with your pet. Adopting a pet also gives you a responsibility that you have to get up for. If your dog or cat or lizard or snake (no judgements here) know that feeding time is at 7AM, you’ll have to get up for then. You don’t want your darling pooch going hungry!
As well as more time on your hands, there are other perks to waking up early; more subtle changes that will brighten your everyday life.
More time, more joy
Most people might get up to cram more work into their busy schedules, but if you look at it another way, you have more time to do the things you actually enjoy. Be it a walk in the park with the dog or an early morning coffee in a cafe before the commuter rush, if it makes you happy, what better motivation to get up early! And as corny as this sounds, there’s nothing like a beautiful sunrise to get your day off right!
Photo credits: Unsplash, CNBC.com, The Business Of Fashion, Inc.com, ThinkMarketing.