October 1, 2012 by chriszumtobel
One of my major weaknesses is my love of sleep, luckily, almost right there with it is my love of coffee, because I’m really going to try to start getting up early in the mornings. I know on most blogs when people give advice on how to wake up early, they usually do it regularly (and its usually really early), but I’m hoping we can do it together. I’ve read a dozen or so blogs written by these “morning masters” and I’ve put together a strategy for myself – and whoever else would like to join me – to transition to the life of an early riser.
The key there for me was transition, as I am going to start with only 7 am and hopefully within a few months be waking up consistently at 5:30. My problem is I love the work I get done at night and I love the tranquility I feel very late at night when everything has calmed down and I have the day to reflect on.
This being said, I don’t think I want to sacrifice my night owl lifestyle but I also hate missing out on the early morning routine and the productivity it can add to a day. So maybe I can eventually get a little system figured out where I sleep from about midnight until 6 every night with a little nap midday — I really hate the time from about noon until three so hopefully my nap will take place somewhere in there (I know this is really not a viable option with most jobs, but because I own my own business I think I can swing it — at least for a while).
Here is how tomorrow morning is going to go. At least it goes about like this for me, and I think most people are probably the same way, if my conversations with friends and perusing of popular blogs on this subject hasn’t failed me.
Your sleepy body is gonna ask your sleepy brain some questions, and if you don’t practice your answers the night before, you’ll stand no chance laying under the warm covers in your vulnerable, groggy state. Below are the questions you’re confronted with each morning as your alarm sounds, as well as an outline to the questions that you will need to condition your mind to replace them with.
Why am I getting up this early?
Have a reason, a definite reason, and not just that you want to know what it feels like. Make sure you really like the sound of it the night before: start thinking about how good the coffee will taste when it is still dark and cool outside, how peaceful it will be to be in the house and the neighborhood before all the action of the day has begun, or how beautiful it will be to watch sun come up as you begin your day. How have you missed out on something so beautiful for so many days of your life? Make sure you have yourself convinced, if you can’t convince yourself it’s what you really want the night before, then there is not a chance you will be able to convince your half asleep subconscious the next morning.
What am I going to do when I get out of bed?
Have a plan. Map out your morning and try to incorporate some things that get you kind of excited. If you enjoy reading, start off with just a book or the morning paper, if you like to run, start off with a jog. But if you hate to run definitely don’t start off with a jog, start off with some eggs or just watching TV, anything you can get yourself to look forward to and that won’t feel too daunting. You don’t want to add to the difficulty of leaving your bed, by piling other things you don’t like on top of the already unappealing idea. How will you have time for (something you enjoy) if you don’t get up now?
What reason is there to do it now rather than later?
Pick something that you wouldn’t have time for unless you do it the morning, before you would regularly be awake. Make it something you don’t want to miss but you know that you will unless you can force yourself out of bed it won’t happen. Set a goal with a friend and hold each other accountable, tell each other to meet for coffee at 7 am or 6 am and if one of you is late then they have to buy. What fun is sleeping when it would mean missing out on (fill in with something that you will be excited)? Make it fun, make it a game, don’t think of it as a miserable activity or something you are forcing yourself to do, think of it as something you feel compelled to do because you enjoy it but at the same time don’t leave yourself a way out of it.
Why not just hit the snooze button once? It’s only 5 more minutes?
How fast does this become 3 more snoozes or 5 (or as was the case for me in Spain, 50 more. I don’t know why I didn’t just turn it off, but I swear there were times when I would snooze the entire day away… I like to blame the Spanish lifestyle)? Snoozes multiply like rabbits. Instead of snoozing 5 minutes later, why not just do the opposite and set your alarm for five minutes earlier? But still don’t hit the snooze, instead wake up on the first ring and think about how precious you can make those extra ten minutes you’ve just earned yourself. My dad once told me that if you woke up ten minutes earlier everyday it would add a week and a half of productive time by the end of the year.
Don’t I need more sleep if I still feel this tired?
It sure feels that way doesn’t it? But eventually you will adjust, we all do, and quickly too. Think of it as moving from the west coast to the east coast, picture all those people already at work and already in the streets of New York. All that action. If you were there you wouldn’t want to be asleep and so why do you feel like you should be asleep at home just because it is still quiet. The peace and quiet will do things for you that the busy streets never could and you don’t want to miss out on this peaceful, productive time. Wouldn’t everyone do it if you didn’t feel tired and miserable at first? You just have to get through the first few days, the same as if you were taking a trip a few hours to the east.
So let’s try this together, or I can try it first and you check the time of my blog posts to see how I do from now on. Then if my posts are showing up early in the mornings, you can know that I’m making progress. I really enjoy blogging, it will be my excitement for that day’s post (and let’s not forget, the taste of the hot coffee) that will get me out of bed in the morning!
Have you changed from a sleeper to an early riser? What helped you during the transition?