It’s time to wake up — there’s a full day’s work ahead, projects to catch up on, dates to go on, and friends to catch up with.
You can hear your alarm clock for the third time and all you can do is groan. After an hour, you’re finally up. But is that really the best way to start off your morning?
The way you kick off your day explains everything about your lot in life. Are you content or are you hungry? The most successful people get their most productive work done in the early hours of the morning when everyone else is sound asleep. Warren Zevon said it best: I’ll sleep when I’m dead (not that you should skip sleep either).
Living in California, I’d be giving up on half the country if I didn’t wake up at the same time as New York. You’re missing opportunities if your implied message is, “I’ll get back to you after lunch, once I wake up.”
So how do you become a more successful and driven person? My answer is always the same: be a morning person. Not everyone is born a morning person, but we can all become a morning person. While some among us require a swift push out of bed, we are all capable of jump-starting ourselves towards more productive days.
Here are four morning brain hacks you can use to shift your goals into the fast lane:
1. Keep an arms length from your alarm. If the snooze button is next to your pillow, you’re likely to swat until it stops, and say 5 more minutes. Studies have shown you’re not actually getting more rest with 5 more minutes of sleep. That requires REM sleep, which occurs after 30 minutes of uninterrupted sleep. Something that’s not going to happen when your alarm is blaring every 5 minutes.
The best thing to do to start your morning off is to set your phone or clock across the room where you’ll be forced to get your body moving. Have it play the most annoying alarm ever or music you can’t stand, so you move fast.
2. Open the blinds, bask in the morning light. Humans have evolved to operate on a circadian rhythm; to wake up with the sunrise dawn and fall asleep at dusk. We have to go out of our way to break this rhythm. We do so by staying up too late watching TV, checking email on our computers, and trying to get top score on Angry Birds with our smartphones. By keeping your iPad on, you’re opening up your body to health problems like depression, the lowering of the immune system, and obesity. These are real consequences that can affect your potential productivity in the long run.
For a good night’s rest, there can’t be any distractions. Set your phone across the room, turn off the lights, shutter the blinds. You want complete darkness. When you wake up, you want the complete opposite. Open the blinds, turn on the lights, and blast your ‘get up and go’ music! Give yourself a reason to jump out of bed!
3. Take time to freshen up. Start your morning off feeling awake and alert with a shower. The act of showering releases dopamine into your brain, which is a neurochemical that puts you into a happier, more relaxed state. You’ll have your best ideas in the shower because of it.
There’s the added benefit of starting your day off with a clean slate, which can make the difference between a productive day and one full of frustration.
4. Find a passion that you can’t wait to get out of bed for. Remember what it was like being a kid on a Saturday morning. You couldn’t wait to jump out of bed and watch Saturday morning cartoons! The exuberance to get up is something children have on most adults. Then again when was the last time you got up for a cartoon?
You need to find that same excitement in projects and goals that you’re passionate about. Find the drive that pushes you to leap out of bed before the alarm clock even sounds.
While you’re at it, build connections with others who are interested in the same aspirations as you. Create a support network that keeps you motivated and won’t let you stop even when the days ahead are tough.
By adopting these four habits into your life, you’ll rewire yourself to be a more engaged, energized, and cool headed person ready to take on the world all before breakfast.
About the Author
Eric Schiffer is the Chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, Founder and CEO of 2 INC. He is a contributing writer for Entrepreneur Magazine, INC Magazine, Fast Company, and CNBC. He is also the author of the best selling book “Emotionally Charged Learning.”