You don't have to be a 'morning person' to enjoy all the benefits of waking up earlier. For the longest time, my mornings consisted of up to six snoozes with a minimum of three. It doesn't take a behavioral psychologist to understand that this was both inefficient and unhealthy. The mornings that started like that never amounted to much at all - a quick shower and then off to work. No productivity to be seen.
Gaining Three Luxurious Hours
In order to break this habit, I had to throw multiple kitchen sinks at the issue. In the end, I was able to form the habit of waking up three hours before work. Here's how I did it.
- Place your alarm clock (probably a phone) as far away from your bed/bedroom as possible. I like to move it every few days so I have to engage my brain to find it. Here are my favorite alarm clock songs.
- Turn on the lights as you walk to your alarm clock. It's easy to do and tells your eyeballs and brain that the time has come. We have an automated indoor herb garden that turns on its blueish lights right at 6 am.
- Enable simultaneous alarms. The girlfriend hates this, but we collectively have two phone alarms and our Google Home to shock us into consciousness. This may be too stressful for some, but I find the chaos invigorating!
- If possible, have the alarm clock/phone go off near your coffee maker. Having coffee literally in sight helps initiate the brewing process. I highly recommend looking into the Aeropress for an amazing cup that only takes a couple minutes.
- Turn on music within 60 seconds of turning off your alarm. Having a little morning jam fills the dark silence and creates a new space for your awake mind to inhabit.
- Get to bed earlier. This may seem obvious, but it's the most important step. I aim for 7.5 hours of sleep and usually average seven (Bob's Burgers isn't going to watch itself!).
Massive Morning Gains
That heading looks like a euphemism, but I can assure you that allowing yourself three hours in the morning will double your productivity output compared to the same amount of time in the evening. In the mornings I never watch tv and rarely mindlessly browse the internet. With a fresh mind, it's much easier to focus on getting things done, whatever that may be for you. Here's what my morning routine has become.
- Frantically turn off the alarms.
- Turn on some funkstep (jazzy, funky electronic music).
- Grind coffee beans and brew a cup.
- Read one or two chapters of a book (currently How to Win Friends & Influence People).
- Burn through emails to achieve a zero inbox (here's how).
- Cook up some eggs and veggies.
- Immediately do all of the dishes.
- Thrown down 30-60 pushups.
- Complete a guided meditation using Calm.
As you can see, these three hours are filled with tasks that enrich the mind, body, and soul. I would be hard pressed to complete that list after a day at work.
What about you? What does your morning routine look like?