I always wanted to secretly become a morning person. All my life I have been a night owl.
Right about the time that I should be winding down for bed is when I get my best ideas. It is when I start creating or moving furniture around. I could stay up late reading, writing, surfing the interwebs.
It was almost like when it got closer to bedtime I became wired. Of course this made mornings the most dreaded part of the day. Especially when I had to get up and go to work.
There Is Never Enough Sleep
Even when I get a good night’s sleep I just am not interested in getting out of bed. I could easily sleep 10 or more hours if given the opportunity. Any given weekend with nothing to do? I will just have a lie in and snuggle under the covers thank you. It really feels good under there.
I do hate the guilty feeling of wasting the day away, especially when traveling. Even though I live my life at a much slower pace these days I do want to still be productive. Sitting around and accomplishing nothing is OK some days but I don’t like to make a habit out of it.
Making The Switch
I have always been jealous of people that labeled themselves as morning people. Anyone that jumped out of bed willingly each morning for that matter. I have friends that tell me they are just done sleeping and have to get up. Done sleeping? What does that mean?
For years I have tried to look forward to the mornings, but it just never happened for me. I mean I like coffee and everything, but not enough to jump out of bed to enjoy it along with the day regardless of where I am in the world.
The few times I was able to get myself out of bed early on a Saturday to head to Yoga, then off to grab a coffee before heading to the farmers market I was always amazed. How did I already do so much stuff and it is barely 9:30? I felt accomplished.
I knew that if I were a morning person that this could be my life every day. Getting up, getting shit done. It added so much time in the day. I decided for once and for all that I was going to do whatever it took to become a morning person.
Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t say for sure that morning person is the right term. But improved and determined is certainly probably a good fit. Trust me, I didn’t just start setting my alarm earlier and decide that was what was going to do it.
It takes a lot of hard work and determination to turn a night owl into a morning person. A little organization and planning don’t hurt either. Here is how I now manage to wake up before the sun without groaning.
I Came Up With A Plan
In my bullet journal I made a daily to do list of everything to accomplish each day. I started by making a checkbox with the time I wanted to get up.
☑ Get up at 5:30. If I didn’t get up on time then I couldn’t check the box. You have no idea how much I love to check stuff off of my to do list.
I Read, A Lot
One of the books I read when starting my journey to become more efficient in the mornings was Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. I am a sucker for self help books, and he had me hooked in the very first chapter.
Even though I stayed up late reading the book the very first night I received it, I knew that I had to start the next morning. I wasn’t done with the book at this point, but the bit that I read had me motivated to get up and start each day.
In the book, Elrod describes six steps we should take every morning to set ourselves up for success using the acronym SAVERS: silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, scribing.
While it can seem like a lot at first, the Morning SAVERS get easier with practice. The first morning I tried it the routine seemed forced, but as the days came and went it just became part of my daily routine.
So that I don’t get discouraged in the morning or try to talk myself out of anything, I lay out everything I need the night before. When I wake up I brush my teeth and splash my face. Just this little task makes me ten times less likely to go crawl into bed.
If I plan a workout that morning, everything down to my socks and shoes are laid out and waiting for me. What if I plan on working on blog posts? I have my computer setup at my desk waiting on me with my to do list beside it.
Even if the first thing I plan on doing in the morning is to make a cup of coffee, I have my French press all set up and ready to go. All I have to do is heat my water and wait.
Planning ahead gives me less excuses to fail. Trust me I am the queen of excuses. The fact that I need and deserve to sleep in is the one that gets me most often.
Have A Bedtime Routine
Yep, getting ready for bed in the evening is an important part of waking up in the morning. Who knew?
If you want to get in enough hours to feel rested you need to stick to a regular bedtime and wind down well before it is time to hit the hay. This is harder when traveling of course, but I have come up with a few ways to make it happen.
My ideal wake up time is 6:30am. So I know in order to get my recommended 7-9 hours of sleep I need to be in bed no later than 10pm. I spend a little time each evening in the hours prior to falling asleep preparing myself for my slumber.
Starting around 8pm I put on my blue light blocking glasses. They look ridiculous, but they help block out the blue light emitted by cell phones, e readers, and computer screens. iOS also has a night shift setting that allows you to change the backlight to a warmer tone. I use this to read books on my iPad as I am winding down for bed.
About 45 minutes before bedtime I wash my face and all that good stuff. If I am at home I take a final loop around the house. I make sure to pick up any straggler items that are sitting where they don’t belong.
I would much rather take a few minutes to tidy up before bed than wake up to clutter. No one wants to jump out of bed for that.
If I am traveling I make sure that I am prepared for the next day. Do I know where I need to be and when? What will I wear and is it all ready to go?
I will often make myself a cup of warm herbal tea and put it by my bedside table. I usually actually get in bed about 30 minutes before I want to fall asleep. During this time I unwind by enjoying my tea, reading a book, or recording my gratitude from the day.
When I was younger I could read all night long. Now days reading just a few pages makes me and my eyes tired so I use this as a regular part of my bedtime wind down routine.
A few other ideas include meditating, journaling, and diffusing essential oils. Do whatever helps you relax best. These are all things that I can continue while traveling so I try to stick to my routine whenever possible.
I also like to set an intention before I go to sleep for the following day. This keeps me on track and reminds me why I am becoming a morning person.
If you are looking to increase your productivity, mood, and overall well-being, I highly recommend altering your schedule and waking up a little bit earlier. Being a morning person is something that I thought I would never enjoy. Now I am lucky enough to reap the benefits each and every day just from making a few simple changes and a commitment to myself.