Do you have a "love-hate" relationship with the morning? Yeah, yeah, you already know that getting up early can make you more productive, focused and motivated -- which is why successful entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson and CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies like Tory Burch and Indra Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo) wake up before the sun rises.
The only problem is . . . you absolutely hate getting out of bed any earlier than you have to. Sound familiar?
If you love the idea of creating a success-propelling morning routine but hate the thought of facing the day once your alarm clock sounds, don’t worry. Here are simple strategies you can follow that will make climbing out from under the covers and starting your morning much easier . . . and even somewhat fun.
1. Start the night before.
Many studies have linked motivation levels with REM sleep (which stands for rapid eye movement and is the part of sleep when you dream). If you’re not getting high-quality rest, with several REM cycles, your motivation and energy will lag when it’s time to get up in the morning.
One way to overcome this is to develop a pre-sleep routine that sets you up for quality rest. Here are some strategies entrepreneurs use to fall (and stay) asleep:
- Limit your caffeine intake. Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, admits that he used to drink caffeine all day long, but he now limits consumption to one-to-two drinks, max, so he'll feel less “wired” and sleep better.
- Step away from the electronics. The brightness of your phone, tablet or laptop screen right before bedtime can negatively affect your body’s sleep patterns, which is why Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, keeps her cellphone in another room . . . a habit she started after “passing out from exhaustion.”
- Read a book. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates reads an hour nightly (mainly biographies, historical books and intellectual periodicals) to help him fall asleep easier.
It’s also beneficial to create a sleep-inducing environment. Make your bedroom as dark as possible, turn the face of the alarm clock away from you and use a white noise machine or fan if you live in a loud neighborhood.
2: Figure out why becoming a morning person is important to you.
It’s difficult to make any type of change without first knowing why that particular change is important to you. Why is getting up early important to you? Why do you want to be more productive in the morning? Do you believe that establishing the perfect morning routine will finally help you lose weight and get into shape, giving you more confidence and energy throughout the day?
Or, maybe you view getting out of bed before the crack of dawn as the way to find time for things that make you feel good, like reading, writing, or meditating?
Once you know why you want to get up early, you'll find that that change is easier to do.
3: Don’t hit the snooze button.
How many times do you hit the snooze button on a typical morning? Once? Twice? Five times? More?
Although it might seem that getting a few additional minutes of sleep every time the alarm goes off is a good thing, the opposite is actually true. Hitting the snooze button makes you feel more tired. It screws up your sleep cycles, so you wind up dragging your feet all day long.
On top of that, when hitting the button is the first action you take in the morning, you are starting your day off by procrastinating. This sends a message to your subconscious mind that you don’t even have the self-discipline to get out of bed in the morning. Not a great way to start your day.
So, how do you get out of the snooze button habit? Consider placing your clock (or phone) away from the bed so you actually have to get up to turn it off. Another suggestion from the Sleep Junkies is to glue your snooze button so it no longer works. That will certainly stop you from using it!
4: Change your morning routine slowly.
Trying to completely overhaul your mornings, by (for example) getting out of bed at 4 a.m. when you normally sleep until noon, can make it difficult if not impossible to stick to your new routine.
Instead, work at making small changes that you can build upon. Taking this route makes you more mindful and gives you higher levels of enthusiasm. It also increases your focus, makes you feel calmer and helps you learn the right way to go about making changes that stick.
For instance, if you normally wake up at 7 a.m., then aim to get up at 6:45 tomorrow. Once you master that, get up at 6:30. Move your getting-up time back only 15 minutes at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be an early morning person…almost effortlessly.
5: Choose morning activities you enjoy so you'll stick with it.
It’s hard enough to get out of bed at the crack of dawn and when you wake up to do activities you don’t enjoy . . . your new regimen can feel like torture.
That’s why you should create a morning routine that is filled with activities you actually like, those things that make you feel better about yourself and improve your direction in life.
A few of the activities that I get the most out of in the early morning hours include stretching, meditation, writing Morning Pages and gratitude lists and spending quality time with my family. Create your own list of things that you look forward to when you pop out of bed to make it easier for you to get up and face the day.
There you have it: five ways to make your mornings easier and more productive. Now, all you have to do is try one (or all) of them. Who knows? Your love-hate relationship may turn out to be 100 percent true love, as you realize that you’ve finally found “the one” . . . the perfect morning routine for you!
To learn more ways to make your mornings productive, check out The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Powerful Morning Routine.