“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
Whenever people talk about time management, getting up early seems to be one of the key habits to learn. But what about us night owls? Those of us who can’t operate a coffee maker at 7 AM, but hit peak productivity around 10:30 PM. If I wake up naturally before 7:30 in the morning, it’s probably because I have to go to the bathroom! When I go on personal retreat, the first thing I do is sleep. Then, after dinner, I stay up, full of inspiration, working until 2 or 3 in the morning without a single yawn or cup of tea.
So here’s the bad news. Getting up early is sometimes the only way we can get certain tasks accomplished. As I’ve talked about before, when I do hot yoga (it’s one of those habits that comes and goes in my life), I do the 6:15 am class. That’s simply the one that fits in best with my schedule and priorities. I’ve recently begun a structured prayer and bible study time, and if I don’t do it before my toddler gets up (at 7:35), it doesn’t get done that day.
But take heart, fellow night owls! Just because there are times when getting up early is the best way to manage our time doesn’t mean we have to give up precious sleep. Here’s some tips on how to get up early without feeling like a total zombie.
Ease into the early rising.
Don’t set your alarm 2 hours earlier and expect success! Start small. If you are already struggling to wake up when the alarm goes off, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier for a week or two before you attempt earlier rising. Then set your alarm 15 minutes earlier for a few days. Once that is manageable, push back your alarm time until you’re rising 60 to 90 minutes earlier. Yes, you’ll still feel tired, because we can’t fight our bodies, but this isn’t about becoming an early bird, just faking it.
Find your motivation.
There’s probably at least one thing that you’d really like to accomplish each day, and the best time to do it is when you get up. Maybe it’s a workout routine – doing it first thing in the morning means your post workout shower doubles as your daily shower – that’s time efficiency! Maybe it’s prayer or meditation. And just a tip – if meditation is your thing, do it in a nice brightly lit room while sitting up straight in order to avoid falling asleep again. Maybe you just want to have some alone time with a cup of coffee or tea in the mornings. Start your early rising routine with a task that you truly want to do, because the desire will be the final push out of your warm bed.
Make sure you have everything you’ll need accessible first thing in the morning. I wear contacts, so I always have my glasses on my bedside table. If it’s cold outside, I put my robe within reach. If I’m getting up before my spouse, I put out my clothes the night before in my bathroom so I won’t have to fumble around in the dark. For a while I was doing the Morning Miracle routine, and I set everything up in my office. That way I could slip out of bed and walk directly into my office and be productive.
Accountability is a fantastic way to build new habits, and if you find a partner in your quest to get up earlier, you’ll be a lot more successful. You can sign up for an early exercise class, schedule a prayer call with a friend, or you could just hire me!