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.
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.
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.”
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.
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