I’m a night owl.
When I was 5, I stayed up until 11 to watch Goosebumps with older sister (aka hide under the covers for half an hour listening to the show’s scary soundtrack). In grade twelve, I’d sit on Skype with my friends until 2am doing calculus homework (aka sit with my textbook open not doing any math at all).
I’ve always been the most motivated, creative, and productive at night. Which is absolutely fine, except for the fact that the world tends to operate in the mornings and I have a job to get to.
Though I’ll never be the person to join the mornings fan club, I have learned a few tricks to make my mornings suck a little less.
1. Go to sleep.
I’ve received this advice over and over again. The key to waking up early is to go to bed early. Though the logic behind this is great, it’s not always practical. I have the hardest time getting to bed on time. My brain likes to play a little game of “Guess how many more to-do’s we can think up” around 10pm each night…which basically makes me scramble to get things done until at least midnight or later.
What I have found helpful in getting me to bed on time is setting an alarm on my phone. I set it for anywhere between 15-45 minutes before I have to sleep and it acts as a reminder to start wrapping things up and to start my night routine before bed.
The bedtime alarm makes me evaluate my outstanding task list and prioritize things that must be done before the night is over and increases my focus to get it done.
2. Wake up calmly.
I use an app called “Sleep Cycle” which basically tracks your sleep to wake you up when you’re not in a deep sleep. I don’t quite understand the technology behind it, but I found it accurate enough in tracking when I’m in a deep sleep and when I wake up in the middle of the night. I’ve been using it for over a month now and have really seen an improvement in the amount of time it takes me to get out of bed after my alarm goes off. Instead of pressing snooze a thousand times, I usually only stay in bed an extra 5-10 minutes (which is an improvement from the 30 minutes I used to take).
The app also uses a calm ringtone to gently wake you up which is surprisingly pleasant. Really starts your day on a positive note! I’ve been recommending this app to all my friends.
3. Offload your morning tasks.
I like to take it easy as I get ready for work each morning. I like eating my breakfast at home and enjoying a cup of coffee before I step out into the world. I also like doing my makeup and getting ready at a calm pace, instead of speeding through all my tasks.
In order to take my time in the morning, I have two options: 1) wake up earlier to have more time to do these things, or 2) reduce the number of things I need to do each morning. Option 1 doesn’t sound like much fun, so I opt for option 2 instead.
To reduce the number of things I need to get done in morning, I’ll offload tasks to the night before (or even a few days before). For example, I have five hangers in my closet labelled for each day of the week. Over the weekend, I’ll take time to put together my outfits for the week. That way, I don’t need to waste time in the morning ironing a shirt or looking for a belt. I also plan and pack my lunches in advance and keep them in ready to take containers in the fridge.
4. Get motivated.
It’s easy to get up on time when there is something important or exciting to look forward to during the day. This may be a major exam, a big meeting, or exciting lunch plans you have for the day. But not everyday can be so motivating that you easily hop out of bed at 6am every morning. Some days are just easy going with nothing major planned.
I recently watched a video by Youtuber: “muchelle” who brought up an excellent reason to wake up early that really resonated with me. She wakes up early because nobody else does. That time in the morning is solely her own, uninterrupted by others. This is the time to get a jumpstart on work without a constant inflow of emails. This is the time to reflect with yourself without new texts ringing on your phone. One of my favourite things about staying up late was the peacefulness of it all. This too can happen in the morning, it’s all about shifting around your schedule.
5. Enjoy yourself.
I’m all about the little things in life. Each morning, I find little things that will make it a little easier to roll out of bed, put myself in a good mood, and get on with my day.
It may be a good cup of coffee (Tip: Instead of paying $5 a cup for a Starbucks latte every morning, I learned to make comparable alternatives at home) or a delicious breakfast (like…maple brown sugar oatmeal).
I also like to play music that is so lyrically and melodically beautiful it inspires me. Music that makes me want to dance (even when there’s a car stopped next to you at a red light and they can fully see you jamming in your car..thanks Justin Timberlake).
I hope these tips are helpful in making you more of a morning person (or at least closer to pretending that you are). Let me know your tips for making your mornings suck a little less!