Let Me Make You A Morning Person
Since I am currently up early, I feel now is a great time to discuss why I am 110% PRO waking up early. It’s 7:03 a.m., and I’ve now been awake for just under an hour. My alarm goes off at 6 a.m. every weekday morning (unless I need to be somewhere earlier OR was somewhere late the night before, in which case I bump it to 7 a.m.) and I snooze it until about 6:15 or so. I don’t have to leave my house until 9:30.
It helps that I am actually an 80 year old when it comes to my sleep patterns. I naturally prefer to go to bed early an wake up early, and you can ask any of my college friends or my current roommate—I can’t hang with the night owls unless there are margaritas or imminent lesson plans to be created.
Nevertheless, 6 a.m. still comes too soon for me. My eyes don’t naturally open with birds chirping and a peaceful sunrise peeking through my windows. When my alarm goes off, I still have heavy eyelids and a body begging to stay under the covers. Just because I like waking up early does not mean it is easy every single morning, and this is the first thought you need to politely dump on the curb if you want to give waking up early a try.
Think about a runner, or a quarterback, or a swimmer. For the athlete, it’s likely an enjoyable activity, but that does not mean it’s easy. It just feels good (eventually), and there’s something about the hustle and grind and the pay off of it all that keeps them going.
You have to get over the sensation that you “just don’t enjoy it.” The first 10 minutes are not the enjoyable part of waking up early. It’s all the time after that. Quit waiting for yourself to like it, and just do it. Not because it’s fun, or easy, but because it’s worth it. Any you know what? You’re going to be tired! You’re going to yawn and your eyes will feel like closing and your body will be weak and saying “five more minutes… what are we doing?!” Get over it. Aren’t you going to be tired at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m., too, whenever your normal alarm would’ve gone off?
“Okay but why?” you might be asking. And my answer is another question: Do you have another pocket of at least an hour currently built into your day where you can do whatever you want with no repercussions? If you do, send me an email and let me know where you fit that in between work/school/family/friends/general home maintenance. Either you ain’t washing dishes, ain’t eating nothing but lean cuisines, or don’t have a job and don’t care. I got another post for you then, special one.
If you’ve confessed to not having that pocket of “whatever I want” time, than you might still be asking, “But what am I going to do for an hour and a half before any one else is awake?” You’re going to be alone, that’s what. You’re not going to have any texts coming in or any phone calls interrupting your work, because everyone else is sleeping! You’re going to peacefully read and respond to emails. You’re going to enjoy a cup of coffee instead of pouring it hastily into a go-cup as you rush out the door. You’re going to open the blinds and see the sky change from gray, to peach, to blue. You’re going to actually cook a breakfast for yourself. There’s so much you’re going to do! There’s so much you can do when you start to use time that was previously dedicated to nothing but sleep.
Remember in college when a class was cancelled and it felt like ultimate freedom because you had this gift of free time that was normally occupied? That’s the feeling of waking up earlier than you need to. It’s a gift of time for yourself, and since we’re all always complaining about how we don’t have time for something, well, voilà. Here’s some time. Make it. Use it.
I’ve already posted about why I think waking up early leads to increased productivity, here, but what it also leads to is a better attitude at work or school or wherever you go after you wake up. Why? If the first place you go or thing you do all day is work or school, that’s a “have to.” That’s not (usually) something you feel like doing. It might not be something you hate. It might very well be something you enjoy, but it’s still not really something you’re choosing. It’s something you have to do by bounds of employment contracts or educational duties.
What if you made the first thing you did when you woke up something you wanted to do? How crazy would that be? What if, instead of waking up and schlepping it to a place you don’t feel like going it, you woke up and went to a place you chose to go to? I’m not talking about quitting your job (not yet, anyway). I’m talking about letting your mind go where it wants instead of being forced to go crunch numbers or sell products or please employers. What if when you woke up, you did a “feel like” instead of a “have to”?
When I wake up, I feel like soft lighting while perusing emails, writing, reading, or finishing the episode of Shameless I fell asleep during the night before. I feel like organizing my tasks of the day, like taunting my cat with her string toys, like making an omelet and some toast. I don’t feel like much, but getting to start my day with the option to choose what I want to do—that’s a game changer. That’s the thing that’s going to change your attitude when you get to the place you have to be, the place where you get much less (if any) choice in what you do.
What would work or school look like if it weren’t the first but, say, the fifth thing you’d done all day? It’s strange to arrive at work and feel like it’s the “middle” part of my day and not just the beginning. I’ve woken up, chilled out, taken care of some personal business, and then shown up at work to take care of some professional business. If you do it like this, instead of constantly putting yourself last so you can put your sleep first, you will always be tired, and you will always feel this nagging, nameless, unidentifiable sense that something is missing. And that something is just some time where you get to call the shots, 100%.
That’s what you’re doing to do when you wake up early. You’re not going to get a head start on work. You're not going to whine about how tired you are. You’re just going to do whatever you freaking want.
The option to start everyday like this is available to us all, it's just a matter of choice. You can choose to let a sleep schedule run your attitude and suck away your time, or you can be the boss of yourself and suck it up and wake up a little earlier. Up to you.