When you’re in your teens it is practically expected that you stay up all night and sleep away most of the morning. Its what teens do. But as you move away from your teenage years you find you need all the daylight hours you can get. I work full time and I have a number of hobbies and goals I want to achieve. But I can’t do that if I spend those precious morning hours in bed, let alone get to work on time.
I have never been a morning person. If there is anyone unfortunate enough to be around when I get up they will experience my dislike of mornings and my general grumpy behaviour. But that isn’t the kind of person I want to be, I want to be able to hold a conversation and cheerful disposition (and not just stare at my breakfast or grunt good mornings – its true, I do that). So its time for new and improved habits. Here’s how I plan to adjust:
Stick to the plan. I have planned out a routine and will be sticking to it every morning. I think I’ll find that I’m much less likely to lose track of time or forget to do something if I follow roughly the same routine every day.
Plan ahead. This makes the morning that much easier. Each night before I go to bed, I make sure everything I need for the next day is ready to go: clothes & shoes picked out, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and water bottle in the fridge/packed; Gym bag packed; phone charged ready to put in bag. Even if I oversleep by a bit I wont need to stress that I don’t have my stuff ready – and there are less excuses not to go to gym with my bag ready.
Unpack-Repack – immediately! Like my planning ahead step this ensures I am already organised for the next day. As soon as I come home, I clean out my gym bag and lunch bag. Dirty clothes and towels in the laundry, fresh clothes and shoes re-packed. Any uneaten food gets sorted, ice packs back in the freezer etc.
Extra stuff. There’s nothing worse than getting into the shower at gym and realising that you don’t have something – be it underwear, pants, socks, shoes, soap… whatever. Thankfully, I have never forgotten clean underwear, but I have forgotten clean socks and had to wear my sweaty gym socks all day. This part of the plan means I will keep a spare set of anything I might need in my car: socks, underwear, towel. That way I don’t have to take a 30-minute detour home, or wear stinky socks all day.
Cut out distractions. I tend to check my phone when I wake up, my email accounts are linked to it and it also works as a back-up alarm. I don’t generally read the emails, I just skim them to clear the notifications. But that is still something I can do later in the day, even during breakfast. A number of people are tempted to open their laptops, or turn on the TV in the morning. These can be some of the worst time wasters as they just suck time away. These would be a good habit to kick in the morning.
Stick with it, especially on weekends. If you stay up late you will need the sleep and the entire preparation goes to waste. Its important to know how much sleep you need to function at your best, everyone is different. Personally I need 7.5 to 8 hours to be at my best, which means I need to be in bed by 9pm (asleep by 9.30) to be up at 5.30am. When I was first changing my routine I would keep as close to getting up early as possible, which means not going crazy and staying up all night. So for Weekends that means in bed by 10.30pm and waking up at 6.30am just so that I don’t throw everything out. And I say waking up, because when its cold I’ll stay in bed and read or do some writing or crochet until I’m ready to get up, nothing wrong with that!
Go easy on yourself. I know there are some days when my alarm will go off, and I’ll hit snooze a few times rather than getting up and getting on with my day. Other days I might be sick, or something comes up the night before and I don’t get enough sleep. I need to remind myself that life happens, my routine will be affected. But that is no reason to give up!
If I can manage this anyone can!