Published by: Entrepreneur.com
Regardless of how much sleep you get it never feels like enough.
Your alarm is always an unwelcome presence sitting on your bedside, just waiting for you to press the snooze button one last time. And even though you know there are things you need to do, you’re unwilling to break from the comfort of the sheets wrapped tightly around your shoulders.
It’s not because you’re lazy. You work hard all day to complete important tasks. But you know that you’d get a lot more done if only you had an extra hour in the mornings. The problem – you haven’t found the right techniques to launch you out of bed and straight towards your goals.
Not to worry. Waking up earlier is easier, even for people who are notoriously unproductive in the morning. All you need to do is make a few habit, lifestyle, and mindset changes.
1. Stop fighting your biology.
As an entrepreneur, it’s safe to assume that being productive and achieving your goals are priorities. Therefore, to maximize productivity it’s crucial to identify how and when you do your best work.
If you get more done at night, you’ll need to extend your evenings and go to bed later. But if you work best in the morning (or think that you might), you have to be able to wake up early. As much as we’d all like to be able to go to bed late and wake up early, science says we can’t have both. Healthy people need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.
For example, if you get to bed by 11:30 pm, you should only expect to make up at about 7:30 am. Anything less will result in some degree of lost productivity. If you’re going to wake up early, you need to go to bed early as well.
Yes, that sounds like advice coming from the mouth of a strict parent but you can’t fight biology. Going to bed late when you’re trying to wake up early isn’t just counterproductive – it’s unnatural.
2. Never sleep with your alarm next to you.
Many people are chronic snoozers. They set their alarms for exactly the time they need to wake up, but they’re powerless to resist pressing their snooze buttons one, two or even three times every morning.
While you may think these few extra minutes gives the body more time to relax, behavioral scientists suggest it does the exact opposite. Snoozing confuses your sleep cycle, disrupts your body clock and breaks your brain’s association between the sound of your alarm and waking up. Ultimately, you just feel more tired and your alarm is less effective.
These same researchers suggest that our bodies respond best when exposed to a single, consistent rule. Therefore, you have to recondition yourself to immediately wake up at the sound of your alarm.
Set your alarm for exactly when you need to wake up, then put it as far away from your bed as you can and still hear it. This forces you to get out of bed to turn it off. When you do, immediately leave your bedroom so you can’t climb back between the sheets.
3. Devise an unbreakable routine
Organization and momentum are two pillars of a productive person’s life. Without organization, you’ll struggle to work efficiently. Without momentum, you’ll never build the mental energy required to tackle and complete your most difficult tasks.
The best way to incorporate both these aspects in your day is to develop a solid morning routine. Sequencing your activities gives you a sense of purpose. Having something to do as soon as you wake up gets your day started immediately.
When your activities are strategically sequenced you accomplish small tasks that give you the confidence and momentum to engage with progressively more challenging ones until, eventually, you’ve ticked off everything on your ‘to-do’ list.
Routines help you start the day small and end them big. Routine is an invaluable means of staying out of bed and getting started with your morning.
4. Create an affirmation that sparks your fire.
I have a confession: I’m skeptical about affirmations and their effectiveness, but I still use them and they work for me almost every day.
“I have goals. If I don’t work towards them, I won’t achieve them. If I don’t start now, I’ll fall behind.” I tell myself this every morning. This simple phrase reminds me of what I’m trying to accomplish. It reinforces the idea that time is precious. And it puts all my actions into perspective, even the simple act of waking up on time. Consequently, it gets me out of bed in less than a minute every day.
Psychological research suggests that when affirmations are practiced deliberately and regularly, they reinforce chemical pathways in your brain that make the message resonate with you more strongly each time. Affirmations are powerful tools you can apply to numerous aspects of your day in order to become more productive.
When your mornings are a drain and waking up is a chore, your goals creep further and further away from you. Fortunately waking up early and making your mornings the most productive part of your day is more straightforward than it seems. Understand how much sleep your body needs to function. Recondition your mind to make your alarm clock more effective. Create a routine that facilitates organization and momentum.
And remind yourself of what you want to accomplish every day. You’ll be bouncing around your home and office bright and early before you know it.