Waking up early can be the key to greater productivity. If you work efficiently in the morning and get the most pressing tasks done before noon, it takes the pressure off you for the rest of the day. This leaves you free to spend the afternoon getting ahead on less urgent work, or taking time to pursue your hobbies. But, despite the benefits of an early start, pulling yourself out of your warm comfy, especially before the sun rises, can be challenging.
Before this year, I hovered between being a night-owl and an early-bird; I’d go to bed around 12 and wake up around 8. But I found with this routine I was too tired to do much work in the hour before I went to bed, and I woke up too late to enjoy the quiet hours before the rest of my house was awake. Part of working most efficiently is determining the time when you do your best work. For me, implementing an earlier bedtime and morning alarm allows me to capitalize on the times when my brain feels the freshest.
Now, if you’re a committed night-owl, the tips I have below probably won’t magically change the morning into your most productive time of day. And that’s okay – what’s important is finding the routine that works best for you. But if you find you’re having trouble working efficiently with your current schedule, try out some of the habits that I find helpful.
Jump out of bed, take 10 deep breaths
As soon as your alarm goes off, don’t give yourself a chance to debate hitting the snooze button and rolling over. Hop out of bed, turn on a light, and immediately take ten deep breaths. The oxygen will wake up your brain, and with the light on you’ll be less inclined to go back to sleep. I’ve found that the worst part of getting out of bed in the morning is the first 30 seconds after the alarm goes off when I feel SO TIRED. I’ve found that taking deep breaths is the best way to shrug off that initial feeling of exhaustion, and once that first 30 seconds has passed, I’m usually full of energy to start the day.
Get a housemate or friend on board
If I want to wake up earlier, making an agreement with one of my housemates that we’re both going to get up at a certain time helps hold me accountable. My bedroom is right beside the kitchen, so hearing my friend outside my door making her breakfast and starting a pot of coffee is good motivation to get out of bed. It’s always nice to know that you’re not the only one who is up early and getting a head start on school work. Even if you don’t live with housemates, you can still make a plan with a friend to get up early, and text your friend in the morning to let her know you’re following through on your commitment.
Plan an awesome breakfast
Another great way to get yourself out of bed at an early hour is to have a delicious breakfast prepped and waiting for you in the fridge, or to have a plan to make something yummy once you wake up. Then, you can enjoy your breakfast and a cup of hot coffee while you get started on your work. For breakfast options, I often look to some of my favourite bloggers for inspiration. Here are a few breakfast recipes that make me excited to get an early start:
Carrot Cake Overnight Protein Oats from Running on Real Food
Brownie Batter Overnight Protein Oats from Running on Real Food
Pumpkin Pecan Baked Oatmeal from Healthy Liv
One-Skillet Sweet Potatoes and Eggs from Healthy Liv
My other go-to breakfast option: any kind of omelette, or an egg and veggie scramble with fruit on the side.
Get to bed earlier
This is the tip that is so obvious yet so frequently overlooked. It’s going to be hard to pull yourself out of bed in the morning if you haven’t had enough sleep. If you find it difficult to get to bed on time, try setting an alarm on your phone 30 minutes before you plan to go to bed to give yourself some time to do your nighttime routine. If you’re worried about not completing enough work when you have an earlier bedtime, remember: you’re waking up earlier to be more productive, and it will be easier to work efficiently when you’re well-rested.
Give yourself a break
As university students, we often don’t appreciate the importance of sleep in the maintenance of overall health. There are times when I find myself thinking that it’s okay if I’m sleeping less to get school work done, as long as I’m still eating healthy and exercising. This is not sustainable in the long run, and will lead to burn-out. Additionally, it’s hard to have a joyful day if you’re too tired to do any of the activities that make you happy! So if you stay up late getting an assignment done, don’t force yourself to wake up early. Give yourself permission to rest. When you’ve spent enough time sleeping, the hours during the day that you are awake will be more productive, and you won’t be as influenced by distractions.
Are you more of a night-owl or an early-bird? Do you have any tips for making it easier to get out of bed in the morning?