Waking up early, being productive, and not feeling like a zombie isn’t something that comes naturally.
Everybody calls me a morning person, and I guess I can’t say they’re wrong because I do go sea swimming at dawn, which is about 5:30am in the summer… But the truth is, when I’m snuggled in my duvet and I can hear the rain trickling outside, I don’t particularly want to get out of bed. I do it because I know as soon as I get up, I’ll feel so much better for it – I’m more productive and considerably less stressed.
Believe me, But how do you drag yourself out of bed when you really don’t want to? These are little hacks I’ve been using for years to not only get me up and out of bed, but to actually be productive, and make my days feel longer (ultimately, leaving me feeling waaay happier, because I have more time outside of work to enjoy).
1. Rest well
Firstly, these tips are only going to work if you put in the effort to go to bed early and get enough sleep. There’s no way you can be productive consistently when you’re running on zero. Aim for 8 hours initially, even if you usually get less, so you feel well-rested. Cut out caffeine, turn off your phone, and give yourself time to unwind. The first night is always the hardest but because I get up so early, I’m usually exhausted by the early evening, so I don’t struggle to nod off.
2. Be ambitious
I’ve read a lot of articles where people say to gradually begin waking up earlier each day until you achieve the desired time you want to wake up. I’m going against the grain with this advice though… When I have to get up ridiculously early for something my body just deals with it because it has to. I find it just as difficult to get up at 8am, as I do 4am, except when it’s 4am, I can justify a few hours more in bed. Now, I don’t give myself the chance to argue with myself about how much longer I can stay in bed because I know I’m going to feel the same, either way.
3. Get outdoors
I swim in the sea almost every day, come rain or shine, 365 days a year. My preferred time to train is just before the sun rises when the water is flat and the beaches are quiet (it also set me up for the day). The thought of getting into cold water when I’m in bed isn’t appealing but as soon as I force myself out the door, there are zero regrets. It gives me a huge boost of energy and I forget how early it is until I remember the sun still hasn’t come up yet. Mind over matter, get outdoors.
4. Prioritise pleasure
There are two reasons I get up early, either to go swimming or to do something for work. It’s much easier to force myself out of bed if I know I’m going to be doing something for myself, instead of slaving away at my laptop. Whatever it is, give yourself an hour in the morning to do something you love, so you have something to look forward to. Try and avoid the television, and instead focus on your hobbies or interest that will stimulate your mind or get you moving.
5. Drink coffee
If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll have preempted this one. My husband is obsessed with coffee and it’s one of his biggest passions, so this really ties into point number 4. Create a morning self-care ritual you look forward to. Pour yourself a brew, spend 15 minutes reading your favourite book, and have a shower. I’m a fan of starting my day with a herbal tea, but if you need caffine to wake you up, then treat yourself to some high-quality coffee beans. My husband buys a new batch of beans every couple of weeks, and it gives him something to look forward to every morning.
✨☕️ Sam’s coffee recommendation: People are always asking what coffee Sam recommends… This month he’s drinking Signature Gold from Runner Bean Coffee, which has a rich, nutty flavour, and a smooth chocolate aftertaste with notes of walnut & praline. If you don’t have a coffee grinder you can buy filter grind or espresso grind coffee from them too. The best thing? Runner Bean Coffee plant a tree for every order and their bags are fully compostable. Read more about their sustainability ethos here.
6. Get organised
Once you’ve tackled getting out of bed and fighting the feeling of being tired, procrastination is your biggest enemy. It’s easy to be awake if you’re just relaxing and not getting much done, but that kind of defeats the point of getting up early. Organising my day and planning my schedule using Asana makes it easier to get into the swing of working. There’s something really satisfying about calculating how much I’m going to get done and I get that little dopamine hit before I’ve even done anything. It also gives me some goals and accountability, as I hit these little objectives throughout the day.
You can have all the best intentions in the world, but sometimes pulling yourself out of bed can be really difficult. Make a commitment that will force you to get out of bed, for example, make a plan to go for an early morning run with a friend. When you’ve made a commitment to someone else, it’s harder to hit the snooze button and stay under the duvet, because you won’t want to leave a friend hanging or bail on them in the morning when they’ve woken up to see you.
Once you’ve been doing it for a while, you may not find it easier but you’ll have way more motivation to pull drag yourself outside, because you know how much better you’ll feel for it.