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11 Ways To Become an Early Riser Like Most Successful People Do

11 Ways To Become an Early Riser Like Most Successful People Do

So you’ve noticed all of those happy and productive early risers who always seem to be on top of things. You probably hate them a little–they’re just so damn productive! But a small part of you has probably wondered, lying in bed at 11 a.m., how they do it. Maybe you’ve even thought you’d feel more energized if you could just manage to get up without feeling like crap. Here are a few tips of the trade on how to become an early riser and feel good while doing it.

1. Go to Bed Earlier

Probably the biggest detractor from getting up early is not getting enough sleep. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you don’t go to bed so late, you won’t need to sleep late either. Do you really need to be staying up until midnight or later, particularly on a work night? I’m willing to bet that you’re not actually doing anything productive or beneficial. The TV shows and social media can wait; stop wasting your time. You’ll be surprised by how great you feel once you get into an early sleep routine.

2. Have a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Your body thrives on routine. That’s why you get hungry at certain times–your body has been trained to expect it! Establishing a proper sleeping schedule is no different. Furthermore, having a routine will make it easier to get up early. The bad news is that you should start getting up at the same time everyday, including weekends. I know this may be a struggle, but if you don’t do this, your body will be constantly confused about when it should wake up, and getting up early will be all the more difficult.

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3. Never Eat Before Bed

I know that a quick pre-bed snack can be tempting, but this is an incredibly bad idea if you want to wake up earlier and feel rested at the same time. Sleep is a time for your body to rest, repair and recharge. It is not a time for digestion. This is because it takes up far too much energy, which can make falling asleep more difficult. If you do manage to visit the land of nod, food digestion will rob you of the strength you’re supposed to be regaining. Even if you do get a full eight hours of sleep, you’ll wake up feeling tired and drained. You certainly won’t feel like getting up early. In short: put the cookie down.

4. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

This may be an obvious one, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Less caffeine means that you won’t still be riding its high at 11:30 p.m. I would start by eliminating any kind of caffeinated beverage in the afternoons. I know that this can make life difficult when the mid afternoon sets in, but you need to resist the urge! If you’ve started going to bed earlier you hopefully won’t get these kind of tired attacks anymore anyway. If you really feel like you need some kind of ‘pick me up’ try an energizing snack instead.

5. Never Drink Before Bed

A cheeky little sip before bed may seem like a good idea, particularly if you haven’t yet cut out that afternoon coffee. Despite what people say, drinking alcohol before bed will not help you sleep well, even if it does make you pass out. What it will do, however, is increase your deep sleep cycle and rob you of REM sleep. Because you this, you will feel tired when your alarm clock goes off and be all the more tempted to hit the ‘snooze’ button. As a side note, REM sleep is also needed for proper learning and memory function, so you definitely want to get enough of it.

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6. Have a Good Reason to Get Up Early

Getting up early requires motivation, at least initially. Give yourself a good reason to do it. This could be anything from getting tasks done to having something to look forward to. I personally recommend a combination of both. Get up because you need to get stuff done, but make sure you also give yourself a little motivational rewards, whether it be allotted time for a TV show, or a nice brisk walk.

7. Turn Your Reason into a Challenge

Now that you have a reason to be up, make it a challenge! Don’t let yourself fall into a rut or break the routine. Tell yourself that you can and will get up early to complete these tasks and that you’re capable of turning this into a habit. The only person that can truly hold you back is yourself.

For those of you with a competitive streak, try using Wake N Shake. It’s an app that makes you and your friends compete and earn achievements for getting your butts out of bed and doing stuff.

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8. Start Working Out

Exercise is a fantastic tool for waking up early, firstly because a good workout in the afternoon or evening will leave your body rested and in need of an early sleep. Secondly, working out early in the morning will make you feel energized and ready to conquer the rest of the day. These two ideas may seem to negate each other, but I can assure you that they’ll work in both circumstances.

9. Make Sure Your Alarm Clock is Out of Reach

The oldest trick in the book is sometimes the most effective. Force yourself to get out of bed by putting that pesky alarm clock out across the other side of the room. For added incentive, I recommend downloading a humiliation app such as BetterMe that will post on your Facebook wall that you were ‘too weak to get out of bed’ if you hit snooze. Not embarrassing enough? Go for Aherk. This app will post embarrassing photos of you to all of your social media accounts if you don’t reach your goals. Sure, self blackmail may seem easy enough to dodge, but once you have it set up you can’t get out of it.

10. Go to Bed Calm and Relaxed

Going to bed wound up and stressed will only serve to keep you awake, regardless of how tired you are. Try to go to bed calm and relaxed. If you need a little help in this area, I would recommend yoga, meditation or even a simple relaxing tea such as chamomile.

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11. Have an Exciting Breakfast Planned

When all else fails, food is the answer. Seriously, I’m far more motivated to get my tired ass out of bed if I know I have something delicious to eat for breakfast. Now, just because I say ‘delicious’ and ‘exciting’ doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Personally, I can get excited over a smoothie and juice made from fresh fruit, but then I’m a freak who has her own blueberry bushes. If drinking your breakfast isn’t your style, a simple bacon and eggs or some crunchy muesli can do the trick. Just make sure it’s something that you’ll look forward to, that way you’ll be more likely to get up for it.

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Tegan Jones

Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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