For the past years, I’m able to wake up early in the morning. During both my undergrads and postgrads years, I start my day at 5 am. I feel completely in control of my day and completed many tasks while others are still sleeping
Once I start working, my productivity went out of the window. This includes waking up early in the morning. I did try several times. Setting my alarm clock, sleeping in early, have an early dinner. But I’m just unable to do it. I will probably wake up early for a few days, then I will go back to the old routine.
What went wrong?
So, I start doing my research. How other people did it. From what I found, most successful individuals, wake up early in the morning to start their day.
- Tim Cook, CEO of Apple company start his day as early as 3:45 am.
- Haruki Murakami, who started his day as early as 4:00 am and went to bed by 9:00 am.
- Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter wakes up by 5:30 am to meditate and exercise.
- Tim Armstrong, AOL CEO, and former Google executive wakes up by 5 am to work out and read.
- Michelle Obama starts her day by 4:30 to work out as she considers work out as her form of meditation.
After analysing a few tips, advice, and suggestion, I have summarised the 5 simple steps to help you wake up earlier in the morning.
Let’s jump right in.
Why do you need to wake up earlier?
Ask yourself this question why until you become convinced with yourself. You can become convinced with 1, 2, or maybe up to 5 whys.
I want to wake up at 5 am to do my assignment
So I can submit the assignment before the dateline
I can get good grades OR clear off my task quickly
I can focus on other tasks
I can graduate with good grades
As you do this exercise, you will get a stronger and more solid reason which should be aligned with your goals and aim in life. Until waking up early become casual and routine, you can keep modifying your purpose and why.
For me, I have identified waking up early as one of my keystone habits.
“Keystone habit is that one habit that can set off a chain of reaction or chain of good habit – Charles Duhigg, “The Power of Habit”
By waking up early, I’m able to start my day right. I will have time to journal and do my reflection and feel more organized. This good energy will continue as I go to Work -> Feel less urge to procrastinate & able to utilize my time more productively.
Your chain of reaction might look like this:
Waking up early -> exercise -> feeling energized -> eat healthy -> lose weight
Everybody chains of reaction might differ, but the outcome is the same: To be a better version of yourself.
However, just know that waking up early is not equal to productivity. So, if you don’t have any reason to wake up early, then you don’t have to. We are built differently and only we know our strengths and weakness.
That is why the first step of waking up early is to have a clear “why”.
2. It starts the night before
For you to have an easy morning, you first need to have a night routine. Just be real, it will be difficult to wake up at 5 am if we stay up late till 1 am. It just doesn’t seem possible at all. So, the night before, start your winding down routine by 9 pm so you can be in bed by 10 pm.
The aim is that you get a night of proper sleep and waking up early doesn’t affect your energy.
For me, I will set my table the night before with notebooks, journal, pen, and charged laptop set for the day. So, when I wake up, I will get my coffee, sit down and the rest of the activities will flow smoothly.
If you planning to exercise in the morning, gather your gear and lay the outfit on the couch. As soon as you wake up wash your face, you and change to your workout gear. At this point, you will feel it’s a bit silly to go back to bed and might as well do the running. The after effect? You will feel energized post-workout that you don’t even want to go back to sleep.
3. Simplified your morning routine
OK, you are already up at 5 am, now what? Set a simple morning routine so you know what you want to do the moment you wake up. It’s easier to go back and sleep when you don’t know what to do. This point aligns with the previous one.
Design a morning routine that fits your lifestyle. Some people incorporate meditation journaling, exercise.. the list continues in their morning routine. Don’t feel obliged to do so. Design a simple routine so you won’t feel overwhelmed, and you can stick with it for a longer time.
For me, my commute took an hour drive. There’s no way I can include all of those in my routine. My simple routine includes waking up, coffee, planning out my day & writing. Then I get ready to work. I know I have very limited time so I need to use 110% of my focus when I write and it’s become easier to get in the flow state when I write in the morning. So even it’s only 1-hour writing, it’s very valuable to me.
4. Get a manual alarm clock
This may be weird for some. But I highly suggest getting the manual alarm clock. Set the time and place it across the bedroom or outside the bedroom. This serves 2 important things:
- You cannot snooze the alarm clock.
- You must physically walk to stop the alarm clock.
Another thing that might work is to write down your reasons for waking up early, goals, and targets of the month, and place the alarm clock right beneath it. This way, it will lessen the tendency you go back to sleep and give you the direct sense and reason for you to wake up.
I highly suggest talking and discussing with your partner/family that you are currently working on your morning routine. The blaring alarm clock might annoy them. So, more reason for you to quickly get up and shut it off before you get scolded.
On the same point, do not bring your phones into your bedroom. It’s easier to get trapped into the rabbit hole of the web. The blue light from the phone will keep you awake and there’s no way you can easily sleep after long hours of scrolling. If you need to read, just use a kindle or the actual book.
Extra tip: Create a 30-day challenge of waking up at 5 am. Use a calendar. Either the digital or the manual calendar help measure the consistency of your new habit. I personally prefer to use the manual calendar. The more we see it, the more we believe we can do it.
5. Don’t overdo it
No matter how strong our why is, make sure you listen to yourself as well. If your body feels too tired, for a certain reason, it’s okay to sleep in. Don’t overdo it. Usually, at that time of the month, my body feels more tired than usual, and I feel sleepier. So, on those days, I’m allowing myself to wake up slightly later.
Be gentle to yourself. As much as we want to achieve the maximum possible for ourselves, sometimes it’s best to take a step back and rest when we need it. When you feel rested, your body will thank you for it. The next day waking up will be a breeze for you.
I think that’s about it. 5 simple and gentle approaches to help you wake up earlier in the morning.
Drop a comment and share with us the tips that help you stay consistent with waking up in the morning.