In this final post on getting up early I want to provide some tips on waking up early and making the most of your morning time (see part 1 and part 2). I've at the very least convinced you how important my morning ritual is to me, and hopefully I have perhaps intrigued you at the possibility of you having your own morning routine. That doesn't mean that it is always easy for me to get up. I still struggle at times with rolling out of bed. And my struggles don't always end there. Sometimes I distract myself and sabotage my own morning plan. So in no particular order, here are some tips on getting up early and having a good routine:
You Still Need Sleep
In telling you to get up early, I hope that I have not given you the impression that you should cut back on sleep. Nothing could be further than the truth. You need to determine what amount of sleep you need. And once you do that, then you need to aim for that each night. This often means going to bed a little earlier. For instance, I'm usually in bed and off to dreamland by 10:30, because I want to get up at 5:30. But, if for some reason I am up until 11, my alarm is set to 6:00. This is because I need 7 hours. If I sleep less than 7 hours for more than 2 or 3 days, I get neck cramps and have trouble concentrating.
Part of the reason that I can function on around 7 hours of sleep is because I have no qualms about taking a quick 20 minute nap at my desk if I feel the need. A short nap is very rejuvenating. Check out my post on the subject here.
Move Your Alarm Clock
If you struggle to get up, putting the alarm clock right next to you is not a good spot — it is too easy to hit the snooze without becoming full conscious. What may help you is to move your alarm so that you have to actually get out of your bed to turn it off. And once you're up, stretch a bit, and DON'T LAY BACK DOWN.
Start With a Tall Glass of Water
I start every morning with my "inner bath." I drink a nice big glass of water very quickly, and then go on to drink another 1 to 2 glasses during my morning routine. This is good for your system, as it is naturally dehydrated from your sleep. And the cold starts to awaken your senses.
Give Yourself Another Reason to Get Up Early
Sometimes you need something or someone else to motivate you. Instead of getting up just for your own morning routine, add something to the morning that needs to be done for your house or another family member. For instance, as a family of 5, we do laundry every day. I set our washer for 4:30am, and it is done at 5:30. I need to get up after it is done so that I can stick the clothes in the dryer. This gives me added motivation to get out of bed and get started with the day. Find some other motivation to get up early, like a house chore or a pet chore.
Do Something the Night Before to Free Up Morning Time
If you feel like your morning time is already too busy, think through the things you do every morning — is there anything that can be done the night before to free up some of your morning time? If so, do it!
Don't Get Sucked into eMail/Facebook/Twitter
The one thing that derails my morning routine more than anything else is Facebook. I start reading my feed, and next thing you know, half of my time that I had planned for more important things in the morning disappear. On my better days, I am disciplined enough not to bother looking at Facebook until much later in the day.
Time Your Morning so it Doesn't Get Away From You
I mentioned this in my first post, but whatever you decide to do in the morning, have a timer keeping you to it (I'll mention the great Seconds app again).
Even 7 Minutes of Exercise Can Do Wonders
Even if you don't have a lot of time, you still do have some time. It is amazing what even a little bit can do for you, both reading, meditation, and exercise. I recommend that even if you can't get more than 15 minutes in the morning, do 5 minutes of silence/meditation, and do a 7-minute workout. There are all sorts of 7-minute videos and apps, etc. Here is the one I use.
Thanks to everyone who has read and shared these last few posts on getting up early. I hope I've encouraged you to do the same!