How I organized my mornings

morning tea

I used to think I was definitely a night owl, and totally not a morning person. It has always been difficult for me so wake up early and I’d stay up really late every night. And I was trying to adjust my life accordingly. I thought that a nine to five kind job was not for me and that I needed to do something where I’d be able to work whenever I feel like.

Then I started working on my own business and realized that mornings were exactly the time I was the most productive. Since I allowed myself to be a night owl I slept through my most productive time. The times I tried to work I ended up mostly procrastinating. When I realized that my time management is not working at all I started following my activities throughout the day. What I noticed was that every night I went to sleep after 2 am, but from 10 pm on I didn’t really do anything productive. I just surfed the internet or watched tv shows for hours in bed. That kind of shocked me, cause I always thought night time was when I am the most active and awake. And yes I was awake indeed, but I could as well be asleep and the results would have been exactly the same.

So I decided it was time for a change. I had to utilize my most productive hours, which was morning and early day time, and use the night time for resting. And guess what? Nowadays I wake up every morning at 6 am, get up at 6.30 and get a lot done before going to work, which gives me great motivation and energy for the workday ahead. Wanna know how I did it? Here are some strategies that worked for me and will surely work for you.

1. Find a wake up buddy

The hardest thing for me is to actually wake up. When I hear the alarm clock ring all I know is that I want to go back to sleep. Even if there’s something important I have to do, I lose all feeling of responsibility. UNLESS that important thing I have to do is for someone else. Sounds familiar? Then you should find someone with a similar problem and start waking each other up.

For me it was my sister. She had difficulties waking up early enough to make it in time to her morning lectures. So I started calling her every morning to wake her up. Now I am responsible for her success as well and I can't slack on that. I call her every morning and we talk until we are both fully awake. The best way to wake yourself up is to get your brain working and nothing does it better in the morning than just plain chatting to someone. And when your brain is fully awake getting up doesn’t feel so hard anymore. I love that I get to connect with my sister regularly and catch up on things and it is a great bonus. We live in different countries and we are both quite busy, so we don't get to see each other very often.

2. Go to bed early

This makes a huge difference on how easy or difficult it will be to get up in the morning. I tend to get super active in the evening and start doing things I don’t have time for and before I know it it’s too late to get enough sleep. My secret solution is setting a going-to-bed alarm. I set my alarm at 10 pm every weekday night. When it rings it means I have to stop everything and go to bed. Even if I don’t feel sleepy I still go to bed and read a book for a while.

Make it a rule that you have to be in bed 8 hours before your wake up alarm. Even if you don't feel like sleeping. You can do something that calms you down, for example, read or crochet, but do not use your devices! There should be no screen shining into your eyes before you go to sleep. After a while your body gets used to it and you will find your own best time to go to bed. It is not 8 hours for everyone, but that is the average, which is a good starting point.

3. Have a morning routine

When I found out that all humans have a limited amount of willpower per day I was a little bit in panic. I am often really bad with making decisions, which means I have to take as little decisions in the morning as possible. That way I can save that willpower to take the right decisions when it is really important and hopefully have some left to stay off biscuits and potato chips.

Every morning I take time brewing my green tea, blending my green smoothie and preparing my lunchbox to take to work. My breakfast is pretty much the same every morning, so I don’t spend any extra willpower deciding what I’d like to have. I like to prepare recipes for my smoothies ahead, so I don’t have to decide on that, but still have some variety. Yeah, I know, my morning routine mostly includes food-related activities. Well, it does include shower and brushing my teeth, but I don’t have to talk about that, cause for most of us that is the routine we acquired when we were kids. At the moment I am trying to add yoga practice and cleaning to my mornings too. I still don’t do it every day, but I’m getting there. More on that below.

Just remember, habits and routines take time to build. You might fail on keeping up with them several times. Please, don’t give up and say this is not for you. Some of them might not be for you. But you need to take time to realize that. I had a goal to drink green smoothies every day. I failed many times because of not having ingredients at home, because of feeling lazy, because of traveling or having people over. But I was getting better and better at it with time and I was feeling much more healthy and energized when I drank them regularly. Nowadays I somehow always have ingredients (shopping for fruit and greens regularly has also become a habit) and spending time blending them every morning is not even a question. I just do it. But it took time and several failures to get here.

4. Get things done before going to work

I love the feeling of getting to work at 9 am having already accomplished something. It doesn’t have to be anything big. For me it is usually cleaning the apartment for 15-20 minutes. It feels so great to leave and come back to a tidy home. Plus 20 minutes of cleaning every day is much more fun that several-hour-cleaning-sessions on a Sunday. And I know if I leave it for the evening it won't happen.

This can be anything you wish you could do regularly, but never found time to do. If you wanna exercise more, paint or draw, crochet or knit, spend more time with your children, read books. Start getting up a bit earlier and spend 20 minutes every morning doing that thing you really want to do. Make it into a habit over time and you will get so much accomplished before you know it!

5. Exercise

Why would you actually do all this stuff in the morning instead of just sleeping and rushing straight to work? Because you want to stay energized, motivated and in good mood for the rest of the day. Physical activity is one of the best ways to stay focused and productive. Well, I'd say its good food and physical activity. You don’t have to go to a gym or have a 1,5 hour yoga class every morning (but if thats your thing, go ahead, it sounds amazing!) Spend at least 20 minutes doing something active in the morning. If you want to save time you can walk or ride a bicycle to work (I love to bike to work now that its warm outside). If you are ready to wake up a bit earlier, do a short workout or yoga session, go jogging or just dance around your house. Physical activity is an amazing way to wake your body up, stay energized and feel good. Next time you start feeling tired in the middle of the day, try jumping up and down 20 times, walk around the block or dance like crazy to your favorite song instead of getting that cup of coffee. Works like a charm!

This all might feel overwhelming at first and you might think you will never be able to organize your mornings like that. But believe me, if you told me a year ago that this is what my mornings would be like I would have laughed in your face. You need to think of what is important for you, what your ideal morning looks like and start adding one thing at a time. Remember to be persistent and I promise you will see results!

What do you do in the mornings? Any tips for your favorite ways to start the day? Let me know in the comments!

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