Despite my protests about New Year’s resolutions, getting up early (or at least on time) is a challenge I’ve set for myself this January – and yes, I am well aware I picked the worst month possible, by a long shot. As a previous early riser, I used to hop out of the bed without even considering the snooze button, for years (and yes, I did feel ridiculously smug about it, all a distant memory now). Over the last couple of years, due to a combination of work scheduling, illness and just general life-being-messy, I seem to have lost this very, very useful ability (ditto the smugness). I have the busiest year to date ahead of me (3 different jobs and counting, a part time masters and every second one of my friends seem to have picked 2017 to get married) so if I don’t figure out how to get up on time I am going to be way behind by the start of February.
Like every other challenge I embark on, after a cursory Google search, I try to figure out the best way to make it easier for myself by reading any relevant material available – usually by way of Pinterest and a number of blogs I follow. So between that scientific process (!) and the life lessons learned by not getting up on time, here are 3 of my best.
Write a to-do list
This one probably makes the cut on every “how to” guide related to sleeping easy, being productive or organising your life. Even still, in my experience, it’s there for a reason. I use both a written list, for emails and small things that I really need to get done before work, and an app, Wunderlist. Wunderlist I picked up from organisation expert, Claire Burge. She uses the app to take note of any task or errand she needs to remember in one “master list” – she then sorts through it on a Sunday evening, scheduling them into her week, while the further into the future items remain on the list. The advantage of the app is if things change and your objectives need to follow suit, you can very easily shuffle things back out of your week and onto the master list without needing to delete them. Wunderlist also lets you upload files, write notes about your notes (which greatly appeals to my OCD side, but may not quite be as exciting to you) and even share lists with others – and each item is ticked off as complete with a very satisfying “ping”. I use it to keep my shopping list, my do-to list, and every kind of list you could possibly think of (books and movie recommendations etc). The written to-do list I keep beside my bed, and look at it first thing in the morning – which accomplishes two things: I focus on the more urgent items that I need to get done, and I get my a*& out of bed very quickly when I remember exactly how much I need to get done before lunchtime.
Tidy your room
What I really mean by this is organise yourself so you’re not dreading getting up. For me, this means having a tidy room to wake up in, with whatever I’ve planned for the morning laid out for easy access – so workout clothes, yoga mat or laptop etc. When I lived in Australia, it used to be – 2 degrees when I woke up in winter (not something I had expected either, especially in a wood framed house with no heating) and found getting up to run almost impossible as all the clothes in my cupboard were freezing – I eventually resorted to putting my running gear into the bed with me overnight, as this was the only way to warm it up. So while thankfully, this is no longer necessary (I live in a tiny, but wonderfully warm apartment), I still find reducing the amount of stuff I have to do to get up for a run/out the door to work/study on time really makes a difference at that all important will-I-press-the-snooze-button moment.
Put your phone on airplane mode
This one is vital for not starting your day by scrolling through your friend’s cousin’s very stylish girlfriend’s instagram (not guilty), and for going to sleep at somewhere near the time you were aiming for. Many “sleep” articles advise buying an alarm clock and keeping your phone in another room – I don’t have room for a clock on my bedside locker and find this works just as well. Airplane mode signals the end of the day for me, and does help in sticking to some sort of sleep hygiene when it comes to screen time before bed. In the morning, leaving it like that until I’ve had my first cup of coffee allows for a quieter, clearer headspace first thing, and has definitely helped with my productivity. If I manage to go for a run or do some yoga, I do it with a sense of peace that would make any seasoned yogi proud. And if not (admittedly, 2017 so far has been more not – thank you flu), I can tackle my urgent to-do list, emails and even study much more efficiently.
This list is not exhaustive, but I have found the above really works for me – have you anything to add?