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How to Become a Morning Person (If You’re a Night Owl)

How to Become a Morning Person (If You’re a Night Owl)
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There are plenty who credit a large portion of their success to being a morning person. Yet, if you were not lucky enough to be born a morning person, you may be wondering how to become one. You could even be a “morning-person skeptic” who believes you accomplish your best work in the evening, so you can’t understand all the commotion around being a morning person.

Whether you have been unsuccessfully trying to become a morning person or you just want to experiment with it, this article is for you.

The Challenge to Becoming a Morning Person

Let’s start with the basics, why is it so hard to become a morning person?

Not Getting Enough Sleep

When you don’t feel like you have enough time to accomplish your goals, you feel as though sleeping is a luxury you cannot afford. The truth is, getting the proper amount of sleep can be the foundation of your success.

Numerous studies have found a lack of sleep increases the likelihood of someone developing serious medical conditions. These conditions include, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.[1] In order for you to have the best chance of becoming a morning person, you need to give yourself about eight hours of sleep.

If you are sleeping less than eight hours a night and having difficulty waking up in the morning, then waking up is not the problem. Your problem is you are not getting enough sleep each night. Your body is simply trying to ensure you get the proper amount of rest to live a healthy life.

If you want to wake up at 4am, then you need to be in bed by 8pm. Likewise, if waking up at 6am is your goal, then you need to be counting sheep by 10pm.

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Most people who have difficulty becoming a morning person are going to sleep at midnight and trying to wake up at 5am. While I can appreciate the hustle, five-hours of sleep is not going to cut it.

Whatever time you want to wake up, you need to count back eight-hours to determine the time you need to go to sleep.

Getting the proper amount of sleep is something many struggle with when attempting to become a morning person. You want to get this under control before it leads to health problems in the future. You do not want to be someone who sacrifices their health to build wealth and then spend their wealth to buy back their health.

Feeling Not Accomplishing Enough for the Day

Like any change, the hardest part is getting started. If you are ready to become a morning person, then you must be ready to go to sleep without “everything” being done.

One of the hardest things a night person has to deal with is the idea of going to sleep without accomplishing enough. You lay awake at night wondering if you could have done more with your day. You consider whether you can salvage a less than stellar day with some late night heroics.

Instead of asking yourself what you can do to salvage your day, ask yourself “what can you do to have a day that doesn’t need to be salvaged?”

The best thing you can do to ensure you have an amazing day is to become a morning person. As simple as it sounds, studies show that morning people are happier, more productive, healthier, perform better in school, and their employers think more highly of their work.[2] I could keep going, but I think you get the point.

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The key takeaway is if you want to accomplish your goals, your best chance of doing so is by becoming a morning person. The way you start your day is often going to be a sign of how your day is going to go.

If you have a lack of discipline and push snooze several times, you are going to have a lack of discipline throughout the day. On the other hand, if you accomplish two big goals before 10am, you have already set yourself up to have a great day.

Becoming a morning person allows you to start your day the way you want. You can use this time to invest in improving yourself. Whether you use your morning time to exercise, meditate, or clean your house, you are going to be in a better mental space than someone waking up with only enough time to get ready to leave the house.

If someone wakes up feeling rushed and pressed for time, they are likely to go through their day feeling rushed and pressed for time. When someone exercises and makes healthy decisions in the morning, they are more likely to make healthy decisions throughout their day. That is why it is essential you learn how to become a morning person, so you can live your best life.

Getting Ready to Become a Morning Person

Are you ready to become a morning person? Good. Like any transformation, you want to make it as easy as possible to change your habits.

There are two ways to accomplish this feat. You make the new habits you want in your life easy to integrate, while at the same time making the old habits you are quitting difficult to continue.

For example, if you need to stop pushing snooze, then move the alarm clock out of reach. The farther you must walk, the more likely you are to stay awake. If you leave the alarm clock within arm’s reach of your bed, you may turn the alarm off in your sleep (been there, done that).

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Another way to help wake yourself up in the morning is to do something you love first. This can help you to feel excited about waking up and it can get the juices flowing. If you enjoy movement, start your morning with a brisk walk or a short exercise session. If you are someone who enjoys a good book, only read your favorite stories in the morning. This will help you to equate sleeping-in with the loss of something you enjoy.

What if You’re a Night Owl?

For those who are night owls, you are going to need to find an effective night-time routine.

If your normal night routine is working once everyone is asleep and falling asleep in your work, then you are going to need to find a more relaxing way to spend your evening. This will help your mind to stay relaxed and get into the mood for sleep.

When you are working throughout the night, your mind can be over stimulated and that makes it hard for you to go to sleep without finishing your work. By taking it easy and leaving your work for the next morning, you are increasing the likelihood you will be able to go to sleep early.

Some activities that will help you to wind down effectively are to meditate, turn off the television, read a book, and stretch.[3]

This night routine will be useful for you: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

Final Thoughts

If you want to become a morning person, you need to keep two things in mind:

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First, you need to prepare to wake up early. You cannot go to sleep late and hope you wake up early. You need to get the proper amount of sleep to make the habit out of waking up early easy.

Second, you need to make it easy to wake up and difficult to go back to sleep. Don’t wake up and think about whether you “feel” like getting up. The longer you are lying in the bed, the easier it will be to go back to sleep.

Instead, get out of bed as quickly as possible. Once you are up, go to the bathroom, grab a glass of water, or take a shower. Each of these activities will make it easier for you to stay awake and harder for you to go back to sleep.

If you focus on these things, you will be well on your way to becoming a morning person.

More to Help You Stay Energetic

Featured photo credit: Cam Adams via unsplash.com

Reference

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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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