|Photo credit: Richard Ricciardi on Flickr|
- Brushed my teeth and put on my contacts
- Let the dog out
- RTed stuff on Twitter (probably too much ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
- Answered a potential client e-mail and did the math required for it
- Looked at my To-Do list for the day
- Re-arranged my blog post schedule a bit
- Started writing this post
I wrote a while back about how I became a morning person, which is a strategy that, two years later, has continued to work well for me. While I don't always get up quite as early as I used to (I average around 5:30 AM now instead of 5:15 AM), I do want to push that back again so I'll probably start doing that soon. Nevertheless, as I've gotten to know myself and the progression of my disease has carried on, I've found that my trend of having more energy and motivation in the morning to be productive than I do in the afternoon—especially because when my disease flares it usually happens later in the day—has continued.
Some days, though, I still struggle to drag myself out of bed.
So maybe, like me, you want to try this morning thing to see if it helps you get more writing done. I think that's awesome and commendable and not just because I do it—changing your schedule around and pushing yourself to do something not-so-fun (getting up early) not because you have to but because self-discipline is pretty awesome.
How do you do it then? Well, there are a few keys and tips I've picked up over time:
- Go to bed early. I put this first because honestly, this is the most important part. I always try to make sure I get between 7-8 hours of sleep, which means if I plan to get up at 5:15 AM, then I go to bed at 9:15 PM. This right here is the easiest way to self-sabotage because going to bed early can be hard sometimes. But if you really want to get serious about waking up early to be productive, then you need to make sure you get however many hours of sleep you need every night.
- Make it a habit. The only way to do this, of course, is to be consistent. This means going to bed early and waking up early every day—yes, even on the weekends. The only way to reset your sleep schedule to get used to your new sleeping pattern is to do it every single day. If you only do it during the weekdays then stay up late and wake up late on the weekends, your body will never get used to the sleep schedule and you'll be tired and cranky every time you wake up. And that's not fun or productive.
I've made my habit so concrete that some nights when I make an exception and stay up...I still wake up at 5:30 AM. It's not really a bad thing—it means my body has gotten very used to waking up early, which helps me most days, but it is a thing that sometimes happens.
- Don't look at your phone notifications when you wake up. I started making this mistake last year and it was a huge mistake. I can't tell you how many times I woke up at 5:30 then spent an hour—an hour!—in bed scrolling through my Twitter. That was an hour I could have been getting to work. Oops.
I've reigned that in again with the strict rule of not looking at my notifications until after I've gotten out of bed, put on my contacts, and brushed my teeth. Even though I do tend to do some RTing when I get to my computer, it's still made an enormous difference because I get to my computer a lot sooner than I did when I was lying in bed on my phone.
- Remember the whole reason you're getting up early is to be productive. While I won't say don't use social media at all until after you've been productive (if only because that would be hypocritical since I don't do that and even maybe checked a Twitter notification while writing this point), reminding yourself why you're awake early in the first place can help you limit that time so you can get to work. Or at least, it helps me.
- Put away the social media while you're working. I still have Twitter access on my phone, of course, but it's incredible the difference in my work output when I close Twitter on my web browser while I'm working. Something about not having a constant reminder of Twitter notifications I haven't yet checked allows me to ignore it for longer stretches of time—and get more work done as a result.
With those steps I've allowed myself to continue getting up before the sun for two years—and reigned myself in when I started making productivity-killing mistakes. If getting up early to get the words in is something you want to try too, I hope these tips help settle you into the early bird life. It's a pretty nice one, if I do say so myself.
Do you (or would you consider) get(ting) up early to be productive?
Want to try getting up early to be productive? @Ava_Jae shares some tips. (Click to tweet)