Anyone who knows me personally knows for a fact that I am not a morning person. I’m unpleasant, unconversational, barely functioning for a time that is completely dependent on how much sleep I got the night before and at what hour you’re trying to wake me. However, I discovered that my ideal time of writing, which was at night, was no longer conducive to my lifestyle. If I wait to write at night, I’ve likely gone through 8 hours of work, on most days, an exercise class, probably an hour of chores/dinner/what not and whatever else life has chosen to throw at me that day. All of that is to say that, I was mentally exhausted by the time I contemplated sitting down to write. This resulted in a whole lot of time spent NOT writing, stifling my voice and my emotions and going on autopilot watching television.
While I still maintain that I can get more done staying up late than people who wake up at the crack of dawn, I’m trying to become a reformed night owl. I was reading “Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind” when this mental exhaustion became apparent to me, so I decided to give it the old college try.
Step 1: Sun simulating lamp
The first step I took was to get an alarm clock that simulated the sun. I realized that I’ll wake up with the light if my windows are open and it’s a day I don’t have to wake up. But, being as how I began this in the winter time and I’m a productive member of society, I do, in fact, have to get up and the sun wasn’t going to be up when I wanted to. So, I invested in a sun simulating alarm clock. It begins to light up 20 minutes prior to your alarm, slowly introducing light into your environment by getting brighter. It’s much less abrasive than waking up to a loud blaring near one’s face.
Honestly, I was hopeful and working off of a bunch of assumptions when I summoned Amazon to deliver me a miracle machine. But, that’s just what I got. I still struggle with the actual getting out of bed part, but the waking up is much easier in this gradual manner!
Step 2: Develop a routine
I zealously decided that not only would waking up early make me more productive, but it would make me superhuman. My original plan was to wake up and meditate with the Breethe app. Then, I would turn on the tea kettle, wash my face and proceed to do a 5 minute yoga flow using Asana Rebel followed by making my bed, at which point the tea would boil and I’d be ready to sit down and write, tea in hand for a half hour before needing to actually get ready for work. At about 7:30 I would force myself away from my computer, choose my clothes for the day, make myself breakfast and consume it, while listening to “Up First” podcast from NPR, of course. I’d then finish getting ready — clothes, hair, makeup, lunch — all before needing to leave the house by 8:05 to get to work at 8:30 a.m.
As you may have been able to tell from this explanation, my intentions were bigger than the time I had available. Although I cannot get ALL of the above done on any given morning, I manage to get to a majority of it. For example, some days I meditate, other days I get to my yoga mat, there were even a few days I ripped the chord of my sun simulating alarm clock from the wall because there was NO WAY I was getting out of bed.
Step 3: Make it a habit
I have successfully gotten out of bed and/or had the intentions to do so for about six weeks now. Mondays are particularly difficult to get this thing started and it’s a hurdle I’m working on. On the days when I do get out of bed and get my day started in this way, I’m more productive and, I’ll say it, happier! It’s a great feeling to know that I’ve dedicated time to a project I’m passionate about before I even punch a clock. (I may even understand how people get up and exercise before work now, not that I’m joining that tribe any time soon.)
Step 4: Consistency
As I’ve said previously, there are days when this doesn’t work out, and that’s OK. If I spent the entire 24 hours until the next alarm berating myself, then I likely wouldn’t get out of bed then either, creating, what is bound to become an endless cycle of sleeping in and jumping out of bed just in time to throw on some pants and get to work.
In reflecting, I’m proud of myself for prioritizing what makes me happy in life and, what’s more, creating a plan and executing it to increase the happiness in my life. That, my friends, I would say confidently is #adulting.
What do you all do for your morning routines? Are you night owls? Early birds? Appreciators of sleep in any and all forms? Keep the conversation going in the comments! (Perhaps I’ll read them at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow!)