If there is one thing I always hear people say it’s “I don’t have enough time.” This could be towards working out, bible studying, meal prepping, reading, praying…anything. I strongly believe that the solution lies in the hours we are asleep. We are all given the exact same amount of hours in the day; it’s all a matter of how we use them.
My whole life I have been more of an early bird than a night owl. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I committed myself to getting up between 5-5:30. I’ve found that waking up early has been one of the best ways to increase my productivity and truthfully, my overall fulfillment in life. I want to share a few tips that I hope you can use to train yourself to wake up earlier. Before I jump in, I want to point out that there are definitely seasons for early rising. Our baby is due in June, and I am fully aware that my time schedule is about to be totally warped. But does this mean that once our baby begins to sleep on more of a normal schedule, I won’t go back to my own schedule? Absolutely not. But I do realize that for a period of time, sleep will be pleasured whenever I can get it so things will just have to be temporarily adjusted.
There are also some people out there that are genuinely more productive at night, and that’s okay! If you are totally rocking things at 11pm, keep at it! This post isn’t to say waking up earlier is “better”. It’s just for me; I find that if I want something to be done, it has to happen first. Do whatever truly works for you!
Allow yourself to go to sleep earlier
Those of you that actually know me know I take going to bed early to the extreme. Most nights I am in bed (probably even asleep) by 9. You don’t have to set yourself up for that early of a bed time, but I do encourage you to go to bed earlier. If you go to bed at 2, you can’t possibly expect yourself to wake up at 6. Your body won’t be able to function properly, and your days will actually be less productive.
Make subtle changes
Start slowly. Whether it’s bed time or wake up time, start by changing it by 15-20 minutes earlier than usual. Do that for a few days or weeks and get used to it. Then gradually cut back another 10 minutes. Do this until you reach your goal.
Allow yourself to sleep in occasionally
Key word: occasionally. You should allow yourself a day here and there to sleep later than usual, but I encourage you to avoid doing so multiple days in a row. This will throw you off schedule.
You should include the weekends on this. People think I am crazy when I say that I get up early on the weekends. “But you don’t have to work” they say. Well, I don’t wake up to go to work, I wake up to live life.
Take advantage of the time
It’s important that you actually use the extra time wisely. You don’t want to wake up earlier just to sit on the couch and scroll the Facebook for an hour. You want to do something purposeful with this time, something that makes you feel better.
Set yourself up the night before
If you want to have 30 minutes of bible study, have your bible and notebook (if you take notes) out and ready to go. If your goal is to wake up earlier to work out, lay out your clothes and shoes the night before. Shoot, sleep in your workout clothes and have your shoes on the floor next to the bed. Do whatever you have to do to prevent yourself from having extra time to rationalize why you shouldn’t do it.
Get over your excuses
There are always obstacles when you’re trying to make a change. It’s up to you to decide how badly you want something. If you really want to wake up earlier and have a more intentional start for the day you’re going to have to get over your excuses. “It’s too cold in the mornings”, have a robe next to your bed ready to be worn. “My kids will hear me and want to wake up too”, go on the porch where they won’t hear you as easily. “I’m just too tired”, look at how late you’re going to sleep.
One of my favorite quotes is “instead of saying you don’t have time, say its not a priority and see how that feels”. Do you want to sit back and cruise through life with the excuse that you don’t have time to do the things you want to do? Or will you get over that excuse, prioritize your time and live productively.
What about you? Are you a morning or night person? What have you found that works best for your productivity? Share your own tips in the comments below!