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10 Easy Ways to Rise Earlier Than Anyone Else

10 Easy Ways to Rise Earlier Than Anyone Else
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You want to get a head start on your day. You know that you have more energy in the morning, and have heard the old cliche about the early bird drilled into your head from childhood. But you just can’t get yourself to bridge the gap between the idea of doing it, and the actual doing it. What can motivate you to get up, out of bed, and on with your day earlier?

Here are 10 ways to get up early and catch that worm!

Go to bed earlier

It seems simple, but in order to get adequate rest, it is key to allot enough hours to get the sleep your body needs. Try thinking backwards to establish your bed time. Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep; some people only need six.

Figure out how many hours you need, then plan accordingly.

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Establish a wind-down ritual

Turn down the lights, fire up the candles, and put on comfortable clothing. Create your home as a haven for rest an hour before you go to sleep. This may include a hot shower, or even a cup of relaxing, non-caffeinated herbal tea to help soothe you to sleep.

Wear a sleep mask

Even if the lights are off when you sleep, there is outside light and light from electronics that can hinder your sleep cycle. To kick into full REM sleep mode and to boost melatonin (the hormone responsible for good sleep), blocking out the light by wearing a sleep mask has proven effective in becoming more well-rested.

Skip the nap

It will be easier to go to sleep if you are already sleepy. Simple.

Forgo the afternoon nap if you are tired. Have an apple or take a walk to refresh you instead. A short nap of 20 minutes or less is probably fine. Any longer, and you can actually feel groggy, and then be prone to stay up too late.

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Avoid stressful conversations before bed

Even watching movies that are suspenseful can keep you awake. They used to say, “never go to bed angry”. Nowadays, many experts recommend sleeping on it, so you wake up refreshed and more clear in the morning.

Even if it seems urgent, it can almost always wait until morning.

Don’t eat after 8 pm

Eating late at night will often keep you awake. If you eat too close to bedtime, your stomach is working hard to break down food when your body should be resting. This practice also causes indigestion and heartburn.

Don’t drink alcohol before bed

You might think that alcohol relaxes you, and you’re right to an extent. But drinking alcohol before going to bed can also disrupt sleep cycles, make it more difficult to wake up the next morning, and leave you feeling groggy.

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You will find yourself wanting to hit the snooze button if you wake up with a hangover.

Change what you say about mornings

As a child, I had a Snoopy pillowcase that showed a picture of a groggy Snoopy dog on it with the saying, “I think I’m allergic to mornings.” We are culturally trained to view mornings as bad. Get out of the habit about talking about how you hate mornings, or te fact that you’re “no good before coffee.”

Start your day out with a walk

If you wake up to a beautiful sunrise walk, even better. Start the day as the sun rises and wake up to your body’s natural Circadian rhythms of getting up with the sun.

Don’t let yourself hit snooze

It can be easy to get in the habit of hitting snooze over and over again. You may have the best intentions of waking up early, and then rationalize about how you can sleep in. Start training yourself to get up early, no matter what.

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Follow these tips and you’ll be waking up early as a habit. It’s a great experience that leads to feeling like you have somehow found lost time.

Featured photo credit: Blond Girl Peacefully Drinking Coffee At Sunrise/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Bridget Baker

Web Presence Sherpa

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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