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10 Mistakes You’re Probably Making That Makes Waking Up Early Difficult

10 Mistakes You’re Probably Making That Makes Waking Up Early Difficult

Have you decided that you want to become an early bird but are finding it really difficult to drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Here are some of the most common things that you could be doing wrong.

1. Not Having a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Going to bed at different times every night is one of the worst things you can do to your sleeping body. It’ll also subsequently make waking up early difficult. This is because you’re not letting yourself get into a good routine and you’re probably not getting the correct amount of sleep. Often people will try and make up for a late night with little sleep by going to bed earlier the next night, but this attempt at playing catch up won’t work. The answer? Simply try going to sleep at the same time, it’ll make your sleep better and getting up easier.

2. Sleeping Late on the Weekend

Sleeping in on the weekends is perhaps one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, this little indulgence is just as damaging to your biological clock as a long flight. It’s a form of social jet lag that resets your internal rhythm, thus making your productivity decrease significantly, as well as making it near impossible to get up early during the rest of the week. In addition, it can cause health concerns, such as being overweight.

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The solution is to try and stick to your regular routine on the weekends, even if you stay up later than usual.

3. Having a Drink Before You Sleep

Despite the fact that this is considered to be one of the best sleep aids, it’s actually terrible for a restful nights slumber. This is because it will increase your deep sleep cycle. Although this sounds like a positive thing, it does so by robbing you of REM sleep, which is imperative for learning and memory. Alcohol can delay your first phase of REM sleep, which will leave your feeling less rested in the morning and therefore make it harder to get up early in the morning. So yes, a bit of booze before bed may help you fall asleep faster, but the quality you get won’t be so great.

4. Drinking Coffee Late in the Day

This is probably an obvious but often ignored answer to many potential sleeping problems. You feel sleepy in the afternoon so you have a caffeinated solution. Unfortunately, the half life of coffee and other similar beverages is longer than you might think and will thus prevent you from falling asleep at a timely hour.

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A better solution to the mid-afternoon sleepy blues is a energizing snack or even a bit of outside exercise. An afternoon nap can also be a good solution, so long as you don’t go overboard, because…

5. Taking Naps Can be Bad Too

Taking long naps after 4:00 p.m. will damage your chances at falling asleep at a decent hour later in the evening. If you absolutely have to take a nap, make sure it’s only one a day, under thirty minutes and earlier in the afternoon.

6. Letting Your Pet Share Your Bed

I know I’m definitely guilty of this one. As nice as it can be to cuddle with a furry friend during the night, they can be seriously disruptive to your sleep. Not only are they likely to be up and down during the night, close proximity to their dander can also impend on your sleep, therefore making you feel less rested early in the morning.

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7. Eating Late at Night

There’s a reason that your parents always said not to go to bed on a full stomach. Not only will you feel full and gross, but it will seriously impair a good nights sleep and make waking up early difficult. This is because your body isn’t supposed to be digesting food when you sleep, it takes too much energy and can make falling asleep difficult. If you do happen to drift off, your body will be working so hard that you won’t be properly rested in the morning. It will be even worse if you have a protein heavy dinner, as it’s harder for the body to process.

8. Watching TV in Bed

For a good sleeping environment you should have a a cool and calm room with a distinct absence of light. Unfortunately this also means that your TV should be omitted from your sleepy sanctuary. This is because darkness triggers your built in sleep mechanism and exposing yourself to too much light later in the evening can confuse the process.

9. Hitting Snooze

This one goes without saying, but not only because you’re literally getting up later with every hit of the button. Those extra 5, 10, or 15 minutes of snooze time aren’t benefiting you at all, and they certainly aren’t providing you with extra quality sleep time. Studies show that sleep needs to be in at least 10 minute increments to be beneficial, so dozing off between alarms isn’t helping you rest . So your stolen moments in bed aren’t only preventing you from getting up early, they’re also leaving you all the more tired.

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10. Keeping Your Curtains Closed

One of the best ways to wake your body up in the morning is by exposing yourself to sunlight. Doing so triggers a chemical reaction in your brain which helps you to wake up. If you want to wake up even earlier than sunrise, it may be a good idea to purchase a wake up light or a blue therapy light which mimics the effects of sunlight.

More by this author

Tegan Jones

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

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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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