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10 Simple Ways To Become A Morning Person

10 Simple Ways To Become A Morning Person

Becoming a morning person is a skill that is aspired by many but accomplished by very few. Whether its your work  or class schedule, it is a difficult feat to do. While some may feel that they accomplished this, many fail to understand that getting up in the morning and becoming a morning person are two different things. Today, we will look at a couple of ways in which you can transform yourself from begrudgingly waking up in the morning, to truly enjoying what waking up early has to offer. With the fall college semester coming up for many students in a little over a month, these are some pointers you should all pay attention to.

Standardize Your Sleep

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    The first step in becoming a morning person is having a set time for waking up and going to bed. The reason we find that we want to sleep in on weekends is so we can catch up on sleep. However, if your sleep is standardized for seven to eight hours, catching up on sleep wouldn’t be necessary. Even on your days off, if you wake up at your designated time, get your morning errands out of the way, and go for a nap in the mid-early afternoon, you’ll still be productive while treating yourself for the weekend.

    Take Baby Steps

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      To be able to sleep at a set schedule, you need to incorporate being a morning person in small baby steps. Start first by getting an assessment of what keeps you up late at night. The key to becoming a morning person is by hacking into the night before.

      • Sleep is the biggest hurdle and being able to figure out what prevents you from getting enough sleep at night will allow you to know how to survive the next day.
      • Once you figure out the triggers that keep you up, decide on a time to go to bed. This time will stay regardless of what time you have to be up. So, for example, if you choose that you will stick to a 10 pm bedtime, go to bed at 10 pm. Even if it’s a weekend or there’s a delay on the time you have to go into work.
      • After a 10 pm bedtime becomes commonplace, start to tailor your standardize wake up time. If you have to be at work at 9 am, standardize yourself to wake up at 7 am everyday.
      • Just like a diet change, you can have cheat days with sleeping as well. If you want to go out with friends, shift your schedule a tad bit. Don’t let becoming a morning a person also make you a hermit crab.

      Make a Task List

      Having a set guideline on what to do for the day will allow you to have an idea of what’s ahead of you. If you are able to know your day’s plan, you can have something to look forward to. Having a plan to look forward to will get you excited about getting out of bed. Attaching a task list to your day will also prevent you from running around like a headless chicken, taking the day as it comes.

      Hack your task list in two ways: by attaching an alarm to important tasks and ranking them. Setting deadlines through alarms will allow you to transition between tasks and ranking them based on importance will allow you to feel okay if you can’t complete the whole list that day.

      Understand Your Body

      It is important to always be in tune with your body. While you begin to work toward a steady sleep schedule, you will find that there are times when the work day is too much for you and you need to get some rest. By all means, when you find that you are tired, always get some rest. This is the case even if it deviates from your schedule. If this happens in the middle of the day, opt for a nap. If you are jittery or high energy from coffee or energy drinks later in the day, set a cut off time for coffee and start to eliminate energy drinks from your diet. Listening to your body over anything else is the key to becoming a morning person.

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      Dive Into the Morning

      A mistake that many individuals make in the morning is making it unproductive. By waking up in the morning, showering, getting dressed, and having a quick to-go breakfast, you aren’t relishing in all that the morning has to offer for you. Instead, dive into the morning by looking at the to-do list you creating the night before. Catch up on the day’s news, knock out a couple of emails, and leave home with the feeling that you aren’t about to start your day, but that you have already started your day.

      Natural Light is Best

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        Making use of natural light is a great way to aid in becoming a morning person. It allows you to feel more awake rather than simply waking up in darkness. Light is proven to treat disorders including Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because light is considered a mood booster. The main hindrance to a successful morning is mood and by opening up the windows the night before, using light colored sheets, reducing the use of lamps, and ensuring that the room is airy and not stuffy. This also opens up your brain and wakes it up from hours of slumber.

        Tailor Your Diet

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          What you put into your body directly affects how you will feel about the rest of the day. If you start your morning with sluggish food, you will have a sluggish day. I used to never eat breakfast, except on weekends. However, your morning is important to the start of the day, and some cultures even take it on as an important sit-down meal. There are certain foods that can put your day on the right track, including:

          • Grains: Including grains, like oatmeal and flax seed, is a great way to get your fill of potassium and heart-healthy foods. You can incorporate oatmeal with fruits, eat it in the form of a car, or mix it in with the other breakfast foods we will mention. Flax seed can also be added into a smoothie for your finer intake.
          • Yogurt: If you find that simply drinking milk is unsatisfying, and having it with your cereal is just not fun, then get your fill of calcium through yogurt. As mentioned before, you can enjoy it with fruit, honey, or nuts. Greek yogurt specifically comes with protein needed for a hearty morning.
          • Fruits: Fruits like bananas, blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, and raspberries all can satisfy your morning sweet tooth naturally, instead of grabbing the syrup or sugar filled breakfast buns. Many fruits come with natural vitamins. Some may also recommend grapefruit due to the antioxidants packed in it, however I would stay away if you take a morning supplement or medication due to interference.
          • Protein and Carbs: Grain cereals and breads can also be great additions to your breakfast a few times a week, either through toast or a small pastry here and there. These are fiber and nutrients that stick with you until lunch, preventing you from wanting to grab a mid-morning snack. On bread less days, grab meat (including turkey bacon or turkey sausage) instead. If you are vegetarian or vegan, avocados, lentils, apples, and blueberries all are protein packed.
          • Drinks: Coffee can still come with it’s health benefits, including lowering health risks and boosting antioxidants, when enjoyed moderately. If you set a limit to finish your cup of joe before noon, you won’t be jittery before bed. If you want to skip coffee, opt for tea. If you want to remove caffeine all together, a fruit filled smoothie is a nice morning treat. If you’re in a rush and can’t make a smoothie, go for cranberry juice to boost antioxidant intake.

          Understand the Purpose of Your Bed

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            When you find yourself getting work done in bed, and waking up to immediately check emails or work in your bed, you will find that your body will forget what the bed is only made for. Aside from sleep and sexual intercourse, you shouldn’t find yourself doing anything else in bed. By restricting your bed to those two acts, you will find that when you hit the sheets, your brain will gradually get into the bedtime mode and you will fall asleep faster. Put your phone on do not disturb if you have to and set your alarm. Out of sight, out of mind.

            Utilize That Gym Membership

            If you find that you aren’t making use of the gym membership you signed up for, use this as an excuse to incorporate the gym into your morning routine. A 30-45 minute daily workout in the morning, low-to-mid pace, can get your body moving and ready for the day. Look through your job and see if they offer gym membership discounts or partnerships. If your company as a gym, utilize it. If not and you’re looking to save money, a low pace walk around the neighborhood or treadmill in the morning can get you in the morning spirit.

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            Make the Morning About You

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              All in all, the key to becoming a morning person is to make the morning about you. When you get started on your task list, even if it includes tasks for other people, you are making the morning about yourself by feeling accomplished. When you eat a healthy breakfast, go to the gym, get eight hours of sleep every night, you are making an investment in yourself for a successful morning and a healthy life. Various successful people make their morning the most productive part of their day, why shouldn’t you?

              Let us know in the comments below how you are hacking your morning to make you a morning person.

              Featured photo credit: HavingTime via havingtime.com

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              Published on January 16, 2019

              How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

              How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

              We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

              You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

              You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

              That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

              Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

              1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

              Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

              We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

              To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

              At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

              The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

              2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

              Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

              The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

              In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

              It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

              It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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              So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

              • Are you a great strategist?
              • Are you an effective planner?
              • Is Project Management your strength?
              • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
              • Are you the ideas person?
              • Is Implementation your strength?

              Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

              3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

              One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

              Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

              Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

              Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

              4. Take Time for Planning

              “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

              One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

              You can take the time to think about:

              • What’s the purpose of the project?
              • How Important is it?
              • When does it need to be delivered by?
              • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
              • What are the KPIs?
              • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
              • Who is working on this project?
              • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
              • What tolerances can I add in?
              • What are the review stages?
              • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

              Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

              5. Focus on Priorities

              Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

              Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

              One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

              1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
              2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
              3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
              4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

              James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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                The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

                If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

                If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

                6. Take Time Out

                To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

                If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

                Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

                In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

                Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

                7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

                Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

                I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

                Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

                If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

                8. Stop Multitasking

                Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

                So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

                When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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                If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

                9. Work in Blocks of Time

                To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

                I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

                Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

                Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

                Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

                Then take another 10-minute break.

                Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

                By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

                10. Get Rid of Distractions

                Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

                “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

                Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

                If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

                11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

                You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

                Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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                Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

                12. Take a Time Audit

                Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

                Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

                You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

                Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

                Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

                At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

                If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

                13. Protect Your Confidence

                It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

                When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

                Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

                When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

                Final Words

                A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

                The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

                If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

                Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

                Reference

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