If you know me even a little bit, there is one thing you can say about me (without a slightest doubt) — I totally, absolutely, definitely love to sleep in. I am no morning person. You don’t want to be around me early in the morning. Even the slightest move of yours can piss me off. I might yell, kick or just act like a real biatch. If you have had a chance to stay with me for a while, you know what I am talking about.
Here is what my old morning routine looked like:
- Wake up at 730
- Lay in bed till 745 (angry that I had to wake up)
- Brush, get ready and head out by 8
- Get to work late
And this is when I stayed 3 minutes away from work. Obviously my days didn’t start off very well then. The morning mood kind of sticks with me the whole day.
Recently, I have changed the trend. By waking up early every morning. Surprising, I know. It was a hard and long journey. But during the course, I learned a lot by trial and error. What motivated me to wake up early? I can accomplish a lot more during the wee hours. When I leave home for work, I am already active and ready to take over the world (at least most of the times :P). I have been able to blog more often. I read, write and get done with e-mail/facebook etc before I get to work. That leaves me with plenty of time for more important things at work. I also use my mornings to plan the rest of the day, set up goals and have my to-do list ready.
This is one of many things I learned from reading about successful people. Most of the most successful people wake up early; usually before most of us common-ers. During a casual conversation with my boss, he mentioned that he wakes up early too. So usually by the time he gets to work, he has already started working and is ahead of everybody else by a couple of hours. Found this interesting article about successful early risers.
Here are a few pointers that helped me transition from a night owl to an early bird –
- Cheat – One of my favorite blogs ever – Zen Habits – suggests starting slow. If you wake up at 730 every morning, and want to start waking up at 5, don’t just rush and set your alarm to 5 AM. That’s stupid. It will mess up your body clock and you will just be tired during the day. And guess what will you blame this on? Yup, waking up early. Instead, cheat your body. Start slow, may be 10 minutes earlier than your scheduled time every day. The next day do ten more. Soon you will be waking up at your desired time, and your body won’t complain either. Win win!
- Bribe – Guy Kawasaki (of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame) says that the best motivation factor for us humans is incentives. True. I bribe myself with a cup of fresh Starbucks breakfast blend. Every morning when I open my eyes, that’s the first thought that comes to my mind and bam! I feel like I should get up to get my coffee. Bribe yourself – spending time with your loved ones, watching morning news, reading, listening to music, writing for your blog, just having ten minutes of silence, working out or do whatever else you like.
- Ditch – Yes you heard me. Don’t allow your phone/alarm in the bed or anywhere near it. Set your alarm and put it away. This is the most useful tip of all. When my phone-alarm goes off in the morning, in order to get to it and turn it off, I have to walk around the bed, which requires me to get up, turn the lights on, move my dog out of the way, walk to the other side of the room and turn the alarm off. And I purposely put it next to the coffee maker. Tip #2 kicks in when I smell the coffee, my eyes automatically open up wide.
- Abuse – I am pro environment saving and all that, but this is one exception. I use the brightest light bulb possible for the lamp next to my bed. When I turn it on in the morning (to get to the alarm) it’s like waking up to sunshine 🙂
- Distract – Start your day right away. While coffee is still brewing, i either start bugging my puppy or brushing my teeth or moving things around, or look out the window while it’s still dark, or play scramble on my phone or whatever the hell I am supposed to do that day. Point being, just get your mind and body moving so that you don’t think about crawling back in your bed.
It works for me, and I hope it helps you too. Basically you just have to find a system that works for you. I call it the ABCDD system. Once you get used to the time and notice how much more you can accomplish in life by just shifting your day a couple of hours ahead, you would never want to go back!
P.S. Waking up that early also means getting into bed early. Do not ignore your sleeping needs. Your body needs to be well rested and fresh in the morning. Else you will end up spoiling your day (and blame me for that :P).