I will be the first to admit that I am not really a morning person. I am so far from a morning person, you wouldn’t believe it, and I would love to know how to be a morning person.
But for now, there isn’t a single part of me that enjoys mornings. Well, maybe I have nothing against mornings – but I do hate waking up! I love to be asleep, y’all.
And when I read blog posts or articles about more productive mornings, I can tell – I mean, you can always tell – that it was written by a morning person. These are the sorts of blog posts I get nothing from.
Of course, a morning person can tell me how to be a morning person – but they can’t really understand the struggle of a person who truly loves to sleep in (and just sleep, let’s be honest) but also wants to jumpstart their day.
So, I started looking for advice from people who were not morning people, to see how they recommend you take advantage of your mornings and become a more productive member of society before high noon. And some of the advice is from trial and error – my favorite thing.
1. Don’t force yourself to be a morning person if you don’t have to.
I have tried unsuccessfully to convince myself to wake up incredibly early and get my life going sooner every day since I was in college. Six years later, I am in exactly the same place I started: I do not like to wake up early, I do not like to function in the mornings and you can’t make me. (Except now, you can make me because my job requires me to exist before 11 a.m.)
But what I did learn while working from home about changing the way I go about my mornings is that I didn’t and shouldn’t have to force myself into the same routine and the same system that every other person out there has.
If you are getting your work done, you have time to spend with your family and you have time to walk your dog or exercise – or whatever it is you want to get done in a day – and you do it by sleeping later in the morning and going to bed later than most of your friends, then don’t feel obligated to push yourself into the I must wake up at 5 a.m. box.
2. Start your morning with a big priority.
If you are not a morning person, getting out of bed in the morning to take a shower, put on makeup and clothes and go to an office or sit at your desk or on your couch to work might not be enough to motivate you. It certainly is not enough for me, considering I can wait until after noon to put real clothes on if I’m in that kind of mood.
When I worked from home, I started planning something fun, like playing tennis with Pat or writing at Starbucks for an hour, or something important that I couldn’t miss, like doctor’s appointments or vet visits for Theo, in the mornings.
By the time it was time to start working for the day, I was wide awake and usually had already gotten coffee or tea, and even though I started working at or around the same time as I would if I had gotten right out of bed and grabbed my computer, my first hour or two of work was infinitely more productive.
3. Don’t start your day on the couch.
When I worked from home, I still spent a lot of time on the couch. But I knew when I went to my desk or the kitchen table instead of the couch, I would start my day off in a better place.
When I really want to start my morning on the best foot, I go straight to our spare bedroom office and settle in at the desk with a full cup of water or tea and a little bit of breakfast, once I’ve taken the dog out and all.
4. Prepare for your day the night before.
I was listening to the Dais podcast – one of my favorites, btw – and one of the guests on the show told host Rachel Hollis that when he’s getting ready the night before, he puts everything in the place it needs to be and gets any and all obstacles to him getting started on his day out of his way.
He even takes the cap off the toothpaste and leaves it open on the counter next to his toothbrush.
Getting ahead of yourself the night before and anticipating what will slow you down or get in your way the next morning is a great idea.
A few things you can do the night before include:
- Set your coffee pot timer.
- Put your phone across the room so you have to get up to turn the alarm off.
- Take a shower, so you remove one task from your morning routine.
- Do your most intense skincare or other hygienic or beauty routines at night.
- Plan what you’re going to eat for breakfast. Either get it together ahead of time or set out the ingredients that are safe to set out.
- Make your to do list and prioritize what you’re going to work on the next day.
5. Give yourself a deadline.
When I sit down to plan out the next day the night before, I block off specific tasks for specific hours and attach time-sensitive deadlines to the highest priority things I have to do in a day.
That means I might say I need to finish one task by 9 a.m., one task by 11 a.m. and one task by 1 p.m.. When I was working from home, this allowed me to know ahead of time that I needed to get out of bed and get to work in a timely manner.