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How To Get Up Early When Mornings Make You Cry

How To Get Up Early When Mornings Make You Cry

Admit it. You’ve clicked on articles with titles like “10 Outrageously Successful People Share Their Morning Routines” and “How to Create The Best Morning Routine Ever.” You nod along enthusiastically to the admittedly sage (but often pretty obvious) advice contained within. Stop hitting snooze. Exercise. Eat a healthy breakfast. Meditate. Maybe you even follow that advice for a day or two. But a few days later, you’re back to your terrible morning habits.

You know what? That’s okay. Even the most basic morning routine only consistently works for morning people. And whether you’re a true morning person is determined by your genetics (or, in science class-speak, your sleep chronotype is genetically determined).

The rest of us have to live with snoozing too long and then rushing out the door with mismatched socks and un-ironed clothes. But even if you can’t change your fundamental self, you can optimize your habits to work with your genetics rather than against them.

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Here are some key habits to foster that will make your mornings a million times more pleasant:

1. Find ways to prepare the night before.

Spend a portion of every evening preparing absolutely everything you need for the next day. You know you’re going to be awake until at least midnight anyway. Why not check tomorrow’s weather report and choose your outfit during that time?

Consider purchasing a small garment rack to hang your next day’s clothes. The monetary investment and a prominent placement in your bedroom will encourage you to use it. And for those who work out, exercise before dinner. If you shower before bed, you can even steam your clothes by hanging them next to the shower to kill wrinkles, eliminating the need to iron and allowing you to sleep in later.

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2. Start your morning with something you love.

Instead of waking up and dreading the moment your feet have to touch the floor, find one quick thing to do every morning that fills you with joy and replaces hitting snooze.

This can vary widely by individual. Check your Instagram feed in bed. Read an inspirational work. Brew a cup of tea and skim the news. Heck, keep a cookie jar on your kitchen counter and enjoy a single cookie. But no matter what, strictly limit yourself to just 10-15 minutes of “joy time”–even if it means setting a timer.

3. Set reminders for your morning brain.

When you’re not a morning person it can be hard to remember to brush your teeth, let alone bring everything you need for the day. Stick reminders on the inside doorknob of your main exit using a Post-it or opaque masking tape and Sharpie with messages such as, “Take leftovers from fridge for lunch” or “Bring laptop to work.”

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Your mind can be fuzzy first thing in the morning, so this is a great way to counteract forgetfulness as you head out the door.

4. Work out a more flexible schedule.

Negotiate a later start time with your employer (maybe by pushing back your end time). Not everyone will have such an understanding boss, but if you’re a top performer, you could make the argument about why you would be a more productive and happier employee with a later start.

Get creative about finding an agreement. If you absolutely need to be working by 8 a.m., see if you can work from home until lunch so at least you can avoid the chaos of morning rush hour.

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5. Find a job you enjoy getting up for.

If you never feel enthused to go to work, chances are you haven’t found a career that lights you up…yet.

If you haven’t done the real work of exploring different careers, now is the time to start. Visit career websites, download helpful career exploration apps, and invest serious time and effort into this critical area of your life. People make their living doing an astounding range of things, and if you explore in the right places, you’ll find something that speaks to your individual interests and passions. Then getting up in the morning won’t be such a pain.

If you’re a night owl, chances are you’ll never love to get up with the sun, but you can make the process a little easier on your pre-caffeinated brain. It just takes some time developing the right habits for you.

What other tips are there for night owls who need to get up early in the morning? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Workandapix via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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