Last updated on September 16th, 2020
Ready to try new ways to wake up early AND happy to be more productive and get things done before the rest of the world wakes up?
I challenged myself to wake up at 6 AM during both, weekdays and weekends to focus on projects I wanted to push forward faster.
I am a night owl (or better said: a night beaver), [“Beavers sometimes come out during the day, but they tend to prefer the cover of night for their building escapades” – Rob Harris]. Here you have it! 😉
So, as a person who has a hard time getting out of bed, it required a few tricks, new habits, and trial and error.
No Torture! There are better ways to wake up early AND Happy
I also wanted to wake up in a happy and relaxed mood to avoid early morning grumpiness.
This list does not include any radical measures to get you out of bed by all means such as an ice bucket container next to your bed for god knows what.
There is no point to “torture” myself on a beautiful Saturday and Sunday morning.
It is more about these days which could be the most productive but I miss them due to procrastination and more time than necessary in bed.
Here are the tricks I tried to get me going, both as standalone measures and in combination with each other.
And you may also like this article: Work Smarter With These 11 Awesome Productivity Tips
1. Using A Spotify Playlist As My Alarm Clock
One of the first things I tried was to change my boring alarm sound.
It seemed I got used to it and snoozing this sound away within a second after it went off was just another habit to get back to these few more minutes of sleep – until that second back up alarm.
When I changed the sound to a random Spotify playlist (here is how you do that), I had no idea what song was coming and this immediately pushed me out of that routine.
I still switched it off or lowered the volume eventually, but due to the random song, the day immediately got a unique touch.
In case you are wondering, the song that played was “Let me Love You”, by Rita Ora.
The song also helped me to get out of my dream state I wanted to cling onto.
It definitely made me wake up easier, but more habits are needed to get up consistently.
2. The Caffeine Intake
Ok, so let’s get straight to the point: caffeine!
I figured it does not really help to have some coffee prepared in the kitchen when you wake up, you won’t even get there.
How about a caffeine boost right next to my bed. What would happen if I take a sip of Red Bull or a can of iced coffee after my alarm went off. Will it help to get me out of my comfortable dream state and if so, how long does it take? Will it make it easier to get up?
I tried it this morning.
Right after the alarm I open a can of Nescafe iced latte and took two big sips, then back, eyes closed, curious to see what happened.
I think the taste of coffee already helped me think of this present day (and not my dream, whatever it was) and by being curious about the coffee intake, my eyes were not feeling so tired and sleepy as well.
While this definitely helped me get out of my dream mode, I still felt like I want to linger in bed, thinking about something and even worrying about random stuff which I often happen to do when I am lazy to get up.
Thankfully, I already had another idea in mind for the next day.
3. The Alzheimer To-Do List
Ok, so I realized that on some days I am half asleep, half awake in my bed, and find excuses not to get up. I either tell myself that I wait for that second alarm I set up, that I need to finish that dream or that I have to think this thought through. This could go on and on, including thoughts about the current day and the unknown future.
Although knowing that this won’t help and just wastes time, I still stayed in bed, longing for that comfort in bed for a few more minutes.
What if there is something that naturally stops me from doing this. Could I use the to-do list approach to get some dopamine hits, ideally 2 of them right in bed?
I know it feels good for me to tick off my to-do lists. I usually have one on my phone for all (usually small) tasks that just need to be done every day and it works great for me. In case you are interested, I am using ToDoIst for it but there are other really good ones out there.
The advantage is, by listing all of it down it gets off my mind and if I want to be productive I push my self to tick these tasks off until they are done. Nothing to think or speculate about, just taking action.
What about writing a To-Do list of what needs to be done in the morning? Knowing there is a To-Do list waiting with easy tasks to tick off, it could get me up and going. And I know that once I am out of bed, I made it.
Note: It may be better to use a paper to do list in this case, because you do not want to check your phone too early in the morning, or even worse, while still in bed.
So before going to bed last night I curated my so-called Alzheimer To-Do list which included basic stuff such as, 1. switching off the alarm, 2. Taking two sips of my ice coffee I placed next to my bed (see tip 2) 3. Getting and going to the kitchen 4. Preparing my cereals, oats, and milk and placing it on the table 5. Going to the bathroom 6. Shower and brush my teeth 7. Dress up 8. Eat breakfast and go through daily to do’s 9. Grab my bag, keys, wallet, phone 10. Put my shoes on and leave … DONE ..easy…
It really worked! I actually thought of of that and got up to tick it off.
It worked so well, my wife added 2 more morning tasks onto my list the next day while I was asleep. Shame on her!
4. No More Coffee After 3 P.M.
I realized that I usually experience a productivity boost sometime between 3 to 5 p.m. in the afternoons and I actually enjoy a cup of coffee during this time.
I believe this is one of the main reasons why I always feel so energized up until late at night.
It was time to change my coffee drinking habits. To wake up earlier, my body simply had to calm down at the end of the day.
And indeed, within the first 3 days of cutting my coffee intake in the afternoon, I actually started to look forward to my bed again, not every day, but it does seem to work to get tired earlier.
Update: After more than a month, I can say I changed my habit and do not touch any caffeine after 3 p.m. I now start to feel tired at around 11:00 p.m.
More Tested Tricks and Tips coming soon
If you have input to extend this list of wake-up tips and tricks, please send me an email at email@example.com or just add a comment below.
in this spirit,
have an awesome morning!