If you’re a night owl and you’ve tried waking up early, you know it’s one of the most difficult habits. It’s a pain in the ass to deal with grogginess in the morning and to be in bed on time with all the digital distractions nowadays.
Lots of people set the alarm with the best of intentions, knowing that's the time they need to get up to meet the day's demands. But then the alarm clock seems to ring way before they're ready to rise, so they're hitting snooze and, eventually, running late.
If you’re not a morning person, and you find yourself struggling at the start of your day, try these tips and strategies to get going.
Adjust your alarm to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual
Do this for at least one week. The benefit? You won’t feel a drastic change, and maybe the only switch will be to go to bed 30 minutes earlier as well. How will you know what is the best amount of sleep time so you can adjust your schedule? Read this answer.
After the first week, set the alarm for one full hour earlier
You’ll feel like hitting the snooze button when you implement this, but try to avoid snoozing. If it happens, it happens. I’ve hit snooze three times in a row one morning and got up later than usual, but I needed some extra sleep. Just go with the flow. Repeat for a few weeks until you get to the desired wake-up time.
Keep your hands off devices as soon as you wake up
Instead of reaching for the phone to check Instagram as soon as you open your eyes, use the first few minutes to gently ease into the day. Stretch your arms, take a few deep breaths, wiggle your toes, think about what you want to accomplish on that day, play some music that gets you in a good mood.
Start the day with one simple question
Ask yourself, What is the one thing I am committed to completing today? Of course, you may have ten or twenty things on your to-do list, but if you had to pare down that number to the top priority thing, what would it be? Give an answer out loud and make a commitment to reach that goal.
Simplify your breakfast
There’s no need to overdo it with meal preparation. Depending on what you like to eat, keep a short list of breakfast options top of mind (2–3), and rotate them around throughout the week. Some ideas to consider: oatmeal with banana and nuts, Greek yogurt with fruit and granola, or eggs with toast and fruit on the side.
Go outside for a brisk walk
Being outside first thing in the morning will feel like a burst of energy and you’ll get a good dose of vitamin D from the sun. Keep it short and don’t go far. Set the timer on your phone for 15 minutes and walk around the neighborhood or at a nearby park, then another 15 to get back home. If you think 30 minutes is too long to walk, reduce to 15 until you get into the habit.
Use a timer to divide tasks into short blocks
You can use the Pomodoro method (25 minute blocks) or go for 50 minutes then take a 10 minute break. Turn on your timer and begin working. Take breaks between sessions and when you’re done with three sessions, take a longer break. Have tea or coffee, listen to a podcast, eat lunch or a snack, and take your mind off the work for a bit.