Never feel like there's enough time in the morning? Find yourself struggling to get up or into work mode? We know the feeling. Try out these tips on waking up, getting energised and getting things done in the early hours.
Photo by DeaPeaJay.
10. Save the morning for thinking
The morning tends to have a quieter, more contemplative feel to it. Take advantage of it, as one CEO recommends, by following poet William Blake's advice to divide up your day: "Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening, and sleep at night." Even if your job's more about cranking than managing and contemplating, you can use the mornings where you're not on tight deadline to think over problems, consider future challenges, and give your tasks more mindful attention than they'll get when everyone else gets in and starts grabbing for your attention. Photo by s0ulsurfing.
9. Track your AM habits
Why are you always late to work or school? It's not because the Earth randomly spins faster on certain days. There's a good chance you've given yourself an arbitrary time span, like an hour, rather than see what your morning really requires. The Unclutterer blog suggests a system for tracking and streamlining your routine, and determining what wild cards can throw you off-balance. Got a rough list of necessities? Make a list, follow it, then revise it — but give yourself a couple days to see what really works for you. Yeah, it feels geeky to use a timer and spreadsheet walking around your kitchen in the morning, but once it becomes habit, you can put down the pencil and get on with life. Photo by ♥ellie♥. (Original posts: tracking, planning).
8. Put your kids on an itinerary
You may be master of your morning, but your smaller subjects can quickly cause it to go haywire. Gretchen Rubin, blogging at The Happiness Project, suggests a deadline-oriented, precise routine for your kids to eliminate the dreaded "One more minute!" It takes some time and consistency to enforce, but soon enough, your children will be able to actually relax in the morning, if they know they're ahead of their specific breakfast/bathroom/homework-roundup routines. Photo by D Sharon Pruitt.
7. Eat for better sleep
The simple way to realign your energy throughout your day is to eat less at night, saving the big meals for when you're up and running. If the problem is that you're just not falling asleep, plan your dinners and later snacks around foods that contribute to a good night's sleep, like turkey, bananas, honey, potatoes, almonds and others. Photo by drumecho. (Original post).
6. Choose your most important task over email
Whatever your boss sent out at 5.45pm last night likely isn't as important as the most important thing you need to work on this morning. The way most of us handle our mornings, though, you wouldn't know it. If you want to look back on your morning and not feel like it disappeared, take control of your workday by prioritising one task — just one thing you really need to do — and put off opening your inbox for one hour. Seems sacrilegious, but if you asked your boss or clients which was more important, their answer might not surprise you. Photo by chadarizona.
5. Trade coffee jolts for smaller perk-ups
When it comes to caffeine, a tall cup of coffee is a sledgehammer. If you're going to use caffeine to boost your morning energy, there are real benefits to spacing out smaller caffeine boosts. A 12-ounce thermos with a 3-4 ounce mug in the lid is just about perfect, as reader jopasm tells us, as you can space out your java throughout the morning and never quite get that shaky-leg feeling. Switching to tea or diet soft drinks, if you can stomach it, also makes for a slower-dose substitute. Photo by flash.pro. (Original post)
4. Wake up without any caffeine
Blogger Scott Young, waking up at 5:30 every morning, had to find a way to convince his mind and body that it was actually time to get up. He's not a caffeine person, so he relied on other cues and tactics to wake up. Filling the room with light, tricking himself into committing to "just" 10 minutes of staying awake, doing his creative work early in the morning, and a bit of exercise worked for him. The real secret, he writes, is in getting enough sleep that mornings just feel like a soft transition from sleep, but his other strategies can help when that basic foundation fails. Photo by sleepyneko. (Original post)
3. Set a morning prep reminder the night before
Whether it's your watch, your mobile phone, or a microwave reminder, set something in your home to beep at a certain time every night. When that beep goes off, around 10pm, for instance, it means you should drop what you're doing and spend just a bit of time preparing for your morning, while you're actually awake. LifeClever calls it the 10 O'Clock Rule, and suggests a few things we can all do to semi-automate our mornings: set out your clothes, pocket contents, and shoes, grind coffee, check your calendar for events and reminders, and packing anything you're bound to forget into your bag. It's a night person's best hedge against the morning, and a morning person's ticket to spending their energy on more exciting things. Photo by Aidan Wojtas. (Original post)
2. Crank out some push-ups
When a loud noise wakes you up, you might notice you're not quite so groggy and annoyed as wide-awake and alert. Cranking out push-ups first thing in the morning can provide some of that same kind of bio-feedback that tells your body it's time to get up and do something, something maybe even related to caveman-instinct survival. Do as many push-ups as you can (or as many feel comfortable, without sore arms), wait 30 seconds, then repeat two more times. Personal trainer Dan Boyle swears by it, and some of our commenters find it reliable, too. Photo by whyld. (Original post).
1. Know your peak performance times
Different people find their energy, and inspiration arriving at different times, but not everybody can rearrange their work schedule. If that sounds like you, you can benefit from learning the peak times for early-risers and night owls, or learning your own energy schedule. If you're a data hound who likes specifics, you can do more than deal in generalities of morning, afternoon, and evening — you can map and graph your daily ups and downs. Photo by Hamed Saber. (Original posts: night owls, energy map)
What change to your morning routine has made the biggest difference in your days? What parts of your early hours still need work? Share your scheduling strategies in the comments.