In 2009 I took a position within my company that requires me to have an early start. You may think that I am referring to an early start at 7 a.m. or even 6 a.m. No, my workday starts at 4 a.m. This means the alarm goes off at 2:45 a.m. 5 days per week and I am out of bed and in the shower before 3 a.m. This may sound absurd to you – and I often think that myself. However, after 10+ years I have a few tips for you to help you get up earlier and transform your life with better morning habits.
The first year (or two) getting up at 2:45 a.m. wasn’t all that easy. I won’t lie. Every time that alarm went off I would dread it. I was late on more than one occasion and the habit just wasn’t sticking for me. It took a lot of practice but now getting out of bed while the rest of the world sleeps isn’t all that difficult.
I don’t necessarily suggest you try to get up as early as I do. However, imagine what your life would look like if you had just an hour of productive me time before the rest of the family got out of bed. You could work out, journal, meditate, enjoy your coffee in the quiet, shower without little ones looking for you. Your morning could transform and you could set yourself up for an amazing day ahead!
How to Have Better Morning Habits
It is one thing to say that you want to transform your life and become a morning person. It is another thing to actually do it. I want to share some tips with you that I have used to get up earlier and become more productive during the early hours while everyone is still asleep.
Decide the Best Time to Wake Up
What do you want to accomplish by becoming a morning person? It is said that millionaires and billionaires alike wake up early because they are more productive at the start of the day.
Imagine how much you could get done if no one else in the house was awake. This is the best time to work on a special project for yourself. You will have more creative energy in the morning hours and can do some of your best work then.
If you are not a business owner you can still benefit from waking up early. Use this time for personal growth – reading, journaling, meditating, yoga etc. The quiet time by yourself will give you time to reflect and work on your own goals.
Once you understand what you want to accomplish in the morning you can decide what time you want to wake up. Would you benefit from an extra hour in the morning? Maybe you need two hours.
Slowly Start Changing your Wake Up Time
Let’s say your normal wake up time is 7 a.m. but you desire to be up by 5:30 a.m. I won’t tell you to change your alarm and start waking up at 5:30 a.m. Your body isn’t going to respond well to this and you’ll most likely fight it.
I suggest changing your alarm by 15 minutes each week.
- Week 1: alarm set for 7 a.m.
- Week 2: alarm set for 6:45 a.m.
- Week 3: alarm set for 6:30 a.m.
- Week 4: alarm set for 6:15 a.m.
- Week 5: alarm set for 6:00 a.m.
- Week 6: alarm set for 5:45 a.m.
- Week 7: alarm set for 5:30 a.m.
Making smaller incremental changes will make the task at hand not as difficult. If your body is used to waking up at 7 a.m. and then you suddenly change it to 5:30 a.m. you’ll find your body fighting it. You’ll be exhausted all day and less productive. We want to increase productivity by waking up earlier.
To make this new wake up time a habit you’ll need to do this every day of the week. I know it’s not so glamorous waking up early on your day off but it will help instill this habit in you!
Get Ready First Thing for Better Morning Habits
You are out of bed – now what? To create strong morning habits you need to be ready for the day. This includes taking a shower, getting dressed, doing your hair, doing your make-up etc. Whatever is part of your normal routine to get ready for the day needs to be done first.
When you are ready for the day you are less likely to go back to bed. If you decide to get up early to have more time to read and journal but you are still in your pajamas you may find yourself curling up on the couch or in a chair and falling back to sleep.
If you are dressed and ready to go then you’ll be more likely to stay awake and be productive.
Some of my coworkers think that it is odd that I shower every morning. However, that warm water wakes me up and energizes me for the morning. If I didn’t shower I wouldn’t feel my best and would be less productive.
Do whatever you need to get ready and feel your best first.
Start Your Day with Breakfast
Breakfast is always a hot topic. Either you are pro breakfast or anti-breakfast. It doesn’t matter what camp you are in. Most of us having morning habits that include either coffee or breakfast.
Start your day with your breakfast of choice. This will help set the tone for the rest of your day. When you have fuel in your body to get through the morning you’ll be less likely to snack on unhealthy foods in the morning.
If possible have your breakfast before everyone else in the house is awake. This will allow you to savor your breakfast and actually enjoy it. I know how difficult it can be to fuel ourselves when there are little ones who need your attention during meal times.
If you decide breakfast isn’t your thing – drink water. Water will help rehydrate you in the morning and help you feel full.
Take care of yourself first before everyone else is awake.
Create a Plan for the Day
I have a love-hate relationship with planning. I know that planning can help me be more productive but it is not something I have made a habit yet. However, I know how important it is to know what is going on each day.
I personally use Google Calendar for all of my appointments but you can use a paper planner if that suits your needs better.
You will want to know all of your appointments for the day (time-sensitive) as well as any major to-do items you have. I like to keep this to 1-3 major to-do items that way I don’t overwhelm myself and I can accomplish my goals while still moving forward.
Having Better Morning Habits Start with You
I can give you more tips on creating better morning habits but truthfully it starts with you. You have to want to be a morning person and to change your habits.
From personal experience, I know that morning is my most productive time of the day. If I don’t get my work done first thing in the morning I am not energized and lack creativity.
Slowly start changing your morning routine and work on it every day. This is the only way you will be able to have better morning habits. You need to do it every day – consistently.