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How To Wake Up Earlier: Science-Backed Tricks For Night Owls

How To Wake Up Earlier: Science-Backed Tricks For Night Owls

Our modern lives strongly encourage the development night owl sleeping habits. There’s 24-hours services, bustling nightlife, artificial lighting and the lure of the internet.

We’ve clearly become far less dependent on natural sunlight, but if we are not careful this habit will catch up with us. It can become increasingly difficult to wake up early in the mornings amongst other negative health implications.

Benefits of Becoming an Early Bird

As the expression goes, the early bird catches the worm! More specifically, here are a number of reasons change to sleep early and wake up early:

  • You will feel energized, refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead
  • The peace of early morning and extra time will skyrocket your productivity
  • You will accomplish more with your day without working harder
  • Studies have shown you are likely to be happier and healthier overall!

Clever Tricks to Banish Your Night Owl Habits

Changing your sleeping habits will be challenging, but with the right strategies and a couple of tricks, you’ll be rising with the birds in no time!

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1. During the Day: Restore Natural Light Exposure

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    It’s strongly believed a significant contributor to unhealthy sleeping habits is a separation from natural sunlight. Many of us spend the majority of our day under artificial lighting, not to mention blue lighting from computer screens and mobile devices.

    Our modern lifestyles can utterly confuse our natural body clocks, even preventing the release of sleep-inducing melatonin.

    So, to help you sleep early and wake up early, you should first try to increase your natural exposure to sunlight:

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    • Open your curtains before you go to sleep, the flood of natural light entering your room in the morning will ensure you rise with the birds. This will certainly help kick start your natural circadian rhythm.

    Then you should decrease your exposure to unnatural sources later in the day. Here are a couple ways to follow the natural light as it fades, winding down your environment to mimic it:

    • Dim the lights as the evening progresses. Use shaded lights and lamps to create a more relaxed environment
    • An hour or so before bed, shut down all electronic devices without excuses. This includes the TV, laptop, and any mobile devices

    2. In the Evening: Have a Nighttime Routine

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      It’s easy to get wrapped up with work and other commitments. Before you know it, it’s already 10PM and you’re still wide-awake. To break this habit you need to set yourself a simple nighttime routine.

      1. Start off with a gentle alarm/reminder at least an hour before bedtime. This will signal the start of your evening wind down.
      2. Tie up loose ends, finish up what you’re doing and shut down your computer and electronic devices.
      3. When you are ready for bed, retire to a dimmed bedroom and perform a relaxing activity such as reading
      4. Finally before sleeping, remind yourself why it’s important to wake up early and visualize it happening.

      Building a simple bedtime ritual enables you to wind down gradually and get you off to sleep nice and early.

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      3. In the Morning: Wake Up Physically and Mentally

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        Eventually, you should be able to ditch your alarm clock altogether. However, during this transitional stage, having an alarm is going to be a dreaded essential. Use these tricks to help you wake up more naturally:

        • Don’t make the mistake of setting an obnoxious alarm, it will only serve to ramp up your stress. Instead, wake up gently to the sound of a radio talk show, podcast or similar. Hearing these conversations will also serve to awaken your mind.
        • Move your alarm as far away from your bed as possible. The mere act of standing up and going to switch off your alarm will wake up physically.
        • To ensure to your fully awake and reduce the chance of a retreat back to the bed, splash your face with cold water.

        4. Bonus: Take a Camping Trip

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          Separating yourself from all your distractions and artificial stimuli can be beneficial to your overall health. Also, there’s no more effective way to reset your body clock than returning to more natural roots.

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          Going out to rise and shine with the birds is a powerful indirect trick. You will be working physically during the day, basking in the natural sunlight and winding down over a campfire in the evening.

          If you fancy a weekend away, camping could help you slip back into a more harmonious sleeping pattern.

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          Last Updated on September 16, 2019

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

          We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

          The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

          Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

          1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

          Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

          For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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          • (1) Research
          • (2) Deciding the topic
          • (3) Creating the outline
          • (4) Drafting the content
          • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
          • (6) Revision
          • (7) etc.

          Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

          2. Change Your Environment

          Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

          One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

          3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

          Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

          Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

          My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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          Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

          4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

          If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

          Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

          I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

          5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

          I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

          Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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          As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

          6. Get a Buddy

          Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

          I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

          7. Tell Others About Your Goals

          This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

          For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

          8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

          What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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          9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

          If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

          Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

          10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

          Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

          Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

          11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

          At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

          Reality check:

          I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

          More About Procrastination

          Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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