At the beginning of this year, I didn’t want to go into the rabbit hole of “new year’s resolutions” again. They might work for you and that’s great, but I’m lazy so I never keep my resolutions straight for more than two weeks.
This year I decided to change that by tackling the whole “NYE resolution game” from a different perspective. I was inspired by Matt D’Avella when he decided to do 12 habits in 12 months. It seemed doable.
6 months in, trust me, it’s doable.
The first habit I wanted to develop was to wake up early. I didn’t decide on that because I was fuelled by some ambition a productivity guru instilled in me. I did it because I felt like it would give me more time for the other habits I wanted to develop.
Mostly though, I did it because I knew I was a morning person, I’ve always liked the morning hours to study.
This might not be you, and that’s why this article’s title tells you not to do what I did.
Why shouldn’t you wake up at 6:30?
I prefer waking up early to do my tasks. I don’t like staying up, it gives me headaches and it minimizes the amount of time I’m awake in the winters when the sun’s only out for 7 hours.
I know a lot of people that prefer staying up at night to work. I’ve just never found myself to be in that ballpark, that’s why I wake up early.
If you take away only one thing from this article, let it be this — wake up when you want to, when you’re comfortable. Don’t jump out of your comfort zone because someone told you it would boost your productivity and make you the next Ali Abdaal.
What if I’m a morning person too?
Now if you did decide to wake up early, there’s nothing better you can do than getting into a morning routine.
I find morning routines make me feel set for my day. They put me into the “productivity mindset” that I need to make my day’s work as efficient as possible.
I wouldn’t say I have a well thought out morning routine, but it works for me. If you think what I do would be your ideal way to wake up, by all means, go ahead and copy-paste it into your mornings.
If it doesn’t resonate as well as it should, make it your own, it’s your morning routine.
1. Go to bed early
The first step to having a good morning routine is to not think of going back to bed every second you’re awake.
You’re not superhuman, you need a good amount of sleep. Everyone knows that you need at least 7–9 hours of sleep each night.
To achieve this, I do one simple trick that enables me to be asleep by 10:30 PM and awake by 6:30 AM (other than keeping my phone on the other side of the room so I have to actually get up to turn the alarm off).
What is it? To keep a proper evening routine and sleep early.
Just like morning routines, evening routines are a thing. That’s not the topic of this article though, so I’ll write about that another day.
2. Personal care
I prefer taking showers in the morning, if that’s you, welcome to the club. *high five* 🖐
If that isn’t you though, by all means, change it up.
Brush your teeth though, that’s pretty important.
Ah there it is, what everyone on the internet talking about productivity has in their arsenal.
Other than the caffeine aspect of coffee, I mostly make coffee as a mindfulness practice. There’s just something about brewing a good cup of joe when it’s completely silent and I’ve just woken up that brings peace to my mind.
I got into brewing coffee at the same time as I decided to start waking up early. Due to that, I think that I’ve built a stacked habit that signals my brain into “waking up” when I put the kettle on for my brew.
4. Morning “journaling”
I put journaling in quotes because I’ve never been consistent with actually journaling in my life. It’s always been on and off. My workaround for that is two things — morning pages and daily questions.
Put simply, “morning pages” is a technique to unclog your mind before the start of your day that alleviates you from things that might (or might not) be bothering you.
Traditionally, you should write out three pages longhand. I couldn’t get myself to do that so I take a shortcut and I type my pages out on Notion.
I also set out a couple of questions to answer every morning so that I can check self-reflection off of my wanting-to-be-a-better-person list.
The questions include:
- What are you grateful for today?
- What is your highlight for today?
I want to focus in on the “daily highlight” question because this is something I feel like everybody should be doing. Having one thing to focus on for your day lets you supercharge your motivation to do that thing. You set a personal deadline for yourself and you don’t fall prey to leaving that task for tomorrow.
5. Start your day!
That’s all for my routine. I take a look at my to-dos, emails, and whatnot after “journaling” and decide on what I need to be doing the most, then I do it.
Like I said, your morning routine could look different. For example, you might prefer having a quick workout as soon as you wake up. I tried running in the mornings but that came to an end after the pandemic started.
I instead split my workouts into little jolts between my study sessions throughout my day (well, most days).
Waking up early isn’t for everyone. You should experiment and find out what makes you feel comfortable and what makes you more productive and happy.
If you do think that waking up early is your jazz though, having a morning routine is a great way to set your habit so you can stick to it in the long run.