Up until about three months ago, I was living quite a different life. I still woke up, got coffee and worked out of my home office, but all of this didn’t typically go down until at least 11 a.m. Yup, my ‘early’ mornings would start at 11 a.m., and I’d work through the afternoon. I also would stay up until 4 a.m. getting work done.
It wasn’t because I actually had so much on my plate that I was working day and night, it was because I hated mornings, and did my best work at night. I had probably lived this way for two years, but I had always been a night owl since I could remember. Even as a kid, falling asleep was a huge issue, and getting up early for school was even worse.
Well, all of this recently changed when I started working on some new, intense freelance projects. I was having calls scheduled at 8 a.m., and my inbox seemed to be flooded by the time I opened up my laptop. It quickly became clear that my night owl ways weren’t going to cut it, and I needed to create a new schedule for myself.
This was definitely hard, but now I effortlessly wake up at 7 a.m. and am in bed by 11 p.m. the latest! That’s right, no more late nights or mornings. Here’s how I was able to change my night owls ways in just a month.
Take The Morning Off
I used to really overschedule myself. I would give myself about 10 minutes to get coffee and get straight to work, or start answering emails in bed right after my alarm. If you tend to go to sleep late, the last thing you want to do is wake up to a slew of emails no matter how late in the day you wake up.
It’s important to take at least 30 minutes to yourself when you wake up. That means no phone! Once I started getting up earlier, I knew that I needed some form of me-time. So my new ritual includes making that essential cup of cold brew and reading a magazine or a book for a bit before opening my laptop. Sometimes I like to journal as well if I have a stressful day ahead of me. Figure out a mindful and meaningful habit that you can incorporate into your morning that has nothing to do with work so you have a reason to look forward to getting up early.
Go To Sleep Early
This was definitely the hardest part for me. I have strange cycles where I can’t seem to be productive during some mornings or afternoons, but this is probably linked to my insomnia, which can tend to keep me up all night. Creating a nighttime ritual has been essential to my sanity.
Some nights are harder than others, but I try to make sure that I’m in bed by 11 p.m. at the latest. I have to do something to unwind, whether it’s a sheet mask or reading. This really calms me down. However, if I know I won’t be falling asleep anytime soon, I’ll take some melatonin.
Know Your Body
I get it, some of us just do our best work at 8 p.m. However, I don’t have the luxury to do this anymore. A lot of my day is filled with emails and communication that needs be done before 5 p.m. Sometimes, I know that my creative juices feel hindered, so I’ll do all of the tasks that I have to do as soon as possible, and take the afternoon to do something I love.
Then, I’ll do some of my more creative tasks in the evening after dinner, when I tend to feel more energized. You have to learn how and when you work best, and try to schedule your day to ensure that your projects and tasks fit this. For some of us, that means doing the hardest stuff earlier in the day, and for others, that means doing it at the end of the day. You need to figure out where you fit in, and how to productively create your ideal day.
Stick To It
I’m a creature of habit, as most of us are. So these changes definitely weren’t easy, but they were necessary. You need to realize that this won’t be easy. Habits usually take about 22 days to build, so that time will definitely be more difficult than usual, but you have to stay positive and keep the big picture in mind. Sticking to these routines and schedules will help contribute to your success.
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