The fact that early birds get more things done and are happier is undeniable. The reason behind this is that the body needs a routine to follow in order to optimize its energy reserves. If you develop the habit of waking up early, then your body will start up easier and you will feel a lot better during the day.
This having been said, there are two kinds of people who wake up early. The ones who have transformed this behavior into a routine, and people who have an erratic sleep pattern and end up feeling extremely tired every morning.
If you have to wake up early in order to go to work, to get your children ready for school, or just want to start your day feeling great then you have to understand that creating an efficient morning routine is extremely important. Our bodies are basically biological machines, and the more you enforce a certain behavior, the better they will adapt to it.
An easier way to explain this is if we consider our bodies a giant muscle. Similar to how you would exercise your muscles in order to become better at certain activities, the body will get used to waking up earlier in the morning. In time, you will discover that you find it less and less difficult to wake up in the morning, up to the point where it will become a reflex action.
Having a morning routine will help you start your day feeling great regardless of how early you have to wake up. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that what you do in the morning must be tailored to your needs and responsibilities. So, if you have to get your kids ready for school before taking a shower, then do that, regardless of how other people go about their morning routine.
In the end, using the checklist provided in this article will help you avoid situations where you wake up tired in the morning, or you end up being late for work because you couldn’t find your house keys or laptop. Being organized is vital to being happy and successful, so do a bit of research and take a look at what the daily routines of millionaires and billionaires look like. Various individuals such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have talked about their daily schedules, and how they manage to make the most out of their workdays.
One last thing that should be mentioned before moving on to the actual advice and checklist is the fact that creating and following a morning routine is not easy. While it will get a lot easier in time, the first few weeks will prove to be quite difficult.
It usually takes around 30 days for the mind and body to get used to a new habit, and a new morning routine is basically just that: a new habit. However, once 30 days have passed, you will notice that everything will be much easier. You will wake up feeling refreshed, even before the alarm has a chance to go off, and you will no longer have to consciously think about the activities that you have to do after waking up.
Starting Your Day the Right Way
- Plan your morning activities beforehand
You can make your mornings a lot easier by creating a few bedtime rituals meant to help you optimize your morning routine. There are a few things that you should take care of and prepare before going to bed.
First of all, think about what you want to wear the next day. Deciding what to wear and actually finding the clothes that you want can take a lot of time, and this can make you be late for work, or miss your bus. Once you’ve decided what clothes to wear, iron them and prepare them for the next day. It is usually a great idea to put them on a clothes hanger, somewhere you can easily notice them.
You should also make sure that all the electronics that you’ll need the following day are charged and ready. Charge and pack up your laptop before going to bed, make sure that your phone is charged, or plug it in, and you’ll make your morning a lot easier. This is where you should also make sure that you know where your watch, car keys, and house keys are, as well as any documents or other things that you will need the following day.
Finally, if you want to really optimize your morning, you can also prepare or precook your breakfast the night before. This is an especially useful habit if it usually takes a while to cook your food in the morning.
- Set an alarm
Waking up at a certain time is a habit, which means that the more often you do it, the easier it will be. This having been said, you should decide when you want to wake up and set an alarm. Also, you should make use of apps that help you disable the snooze button. There are many people who tend to press the snooze button by reflex, without even remembering that they did it.
On the other hand, if you want to make sure that you will get up on time, then download one of the many free apps that tie the deactivation of the alarm to a specific action. These apps basically make it so that the only way to stop an alarm is by taking a picture of a piece of furniture, or by resolving a mathematical problem.
You will notice that you won’t need the alarm after a few weeks. Our bodies are relatively easy to program, and once we get used to the fact that we have to wake up at a certain hour, we usually do so without the help of an alarm.
- Choose a good alarm tone
Contrary to popular belief, you will not wake up easier if you choose a loud, violent alarm tone. Quite the opposite; you will wake up confused and this can cost you valuable time.
Choose a song that you like and set it to ring at a specific volume. You should avoid having it get louder and louder each second. If you want a bit of specialized help, then you should be able to find quite a few wake-up apps that have been designed to wake up people in a calm and efficient manner.
- Drink water when you wake up
While you may not notice, your body dehydrates when you sleep. Pretty much all your bodily functions continue while you sleep, and you will have to replace the liquid that the body used overnight.
Place a glass of cold water on the nightstand and drink it right after you wake up. Doing so will help start your day feeling refreshed, and also trigger your digestive system and muscles. You can also add a bit of lemon to the water, to give your immune system a boost.
- Make your bed
An efficient morning routine requires discipline and making your bed right after you get up is a good idea to let your body know that there is no way of going back to sleep. You will eliminate any temptation to go back to sleep and also cross out one of the morning chores that you have to do.
Making your bed in the morning will also give you the feeling that you have already achieved something right after waking up.
- Do some exercises to get the blood flowing
Doctors recommend that we exercise for at least 30 minutes each day, so why not do it in the morning. Doing a bit of physical exercise is a great way to jumpstart your body and get ready for your day. You can do any kind of exercise you want, from a few simple pushups to a quick jog around the neighborhood. If you’ve got a treadmill, use it.
Once you’re done, take a quick shower and start making the breakfast. You’ll have a healthier appetite, and you’ll feel a lot better. Keep in mind that physical exercise also helps us clear our minds and increases our ability to concentrate, so there are multiple benefits to working out in the morning
- Stay focused on what you have to do
Don’t go online if you don’t have to. Most of those who check out their email and social media while in bed end up either falling asleep again or losing track of time. While it may be hard during the first few days, the urge to scroll through what others have posted during the night will soon disappear.
A good way to avoid temptation is to disable the notifications for social media apps or to turn off the wi-fi connection of your devices. You can always turn it back on and look at what has happened after you’ve gotten ready. Researchers have found that if you postpone checking your social media accounts until after you’ve arrived at work, the online interaction will help decrease your stress levels and feel as if you’re rewarded for doing everything on time, further enforcing the morning routine.
- Give yourself a bit of free time before you go to work
If you’ve got kids, then this may prove to be quite challenging, however, it can do wonders. If you manage to sneak in a few minutes of time with yourself, then you will be able to plan ahead and think about what you have to do in the coming hours. Alternatively, if you’ve got a stressful day coming up, then you can just sit on the couch and clear your mind. This will help you think positive and focus on what’s important.
- Eat healthy
Breakfast is extremely important when you wake up early, and the exercise that you’ve done prior to eating means that you will have to prepare a healthy meal to nourish your mind and body.
If you’ve prepared the ingredients before going to bed, then it shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to cook a healthy, balanced breakfast that will give you the energy that you need.
If you don’t know what to cook, then you can look online. There are thousands of great recipes that include all the ingredients that your body needs in order to stay healthy. Furthermore, if you have a bit of time to spare, you can also make a glass of fresh orange juice. The extra Vitamin C will help your immune system against colds and will also give you a lot more energy for the coming day.
- Listen to music while you’re getting ready
Listening to music while you get ready in the morning can do wonders. It can put you in a great mood and give you enough energy to take on the entire world.
Listen to whatever genre you like. Rock, country, pop; they all work great. Statistics show that individuals who listen to music in the morning find it a lot easier to cope with stressful situations at work.
On a psychological level, listening to music will also help your brain change its perception of your morning routine. You might have a hard time adjusting to this new morning behavior and listening to some music will help you associate the new things that you have to do with a pleasant experience.
Furthermore, music helps stimulate the brain, so by listening to music before going to work, your ability to concentrate will be increased.
In the end, you can either take each of these 10 points as individual items to include on your checklist or make your own. However, keep in mind that the first few weeks will be difficult. After about a month or so, you will find that you no longer need to remind yourself what you should do next, and you will also be able to wake up on time without having to set an alarm (though it may be best to keep setting it anyway).