Do you have a set morning routine? After spending the past few weekends back in DC following a lot of weekend travel, I’ve finally found myself getting back into my own routine, especially during the week. Coming back Sunday night after a couple days away always sets a weird tone, so having had relatively “normal” Sundays (read: going to bed at my regular time) has made a world of difference in helping maintain my idea pre-work schedule Monday through Friday!
When people hear that I consistently wake up between 6 and 6:15 during the week, they usually express a combination of surprise and awe over why and how I do that. I’m always quick to clarify that I get into bed pretty early…it’s not always fun, especially when there’s something enticing on TV, like a game in overtime or an awards show that runs late, but knowing it’ll make me a much happier person the next day is almost always worth it.
Here’s a sample of what my ideal sleep/morning routine looks like:
9:45-10:00pm // Get into bed to read; turn phone on Do Not Disturb.
10:00-10:15pm // Lights out (J reads on his iPad during this time and hardly ever goes to sleep when I do!)
6:00-6:15am // First alarm goes off somewhere in that window. I typically set one for 6:05, another for 6:15, and a third for 6:20 just to make sure I’m up and give J the opportunity to wake up “early,” if he hasn’t gone to bed really late. Once my alarm goes off, I’ll either wake up immediately and pick up my phone (not the best habit, but it forces me to keep my eyes open while still being comfortable, so is how I choose to wake up), or hit snooze once. I’ll ideally only spend 5-10 minutes on my phone but depending on how comfortable bed is, it may be a little longer.
6:15-6:30am // Be up with teeth brushed, tea made, and laptop open.
6:30/6:15-~7:45am // Work on blog and freelance work, and turn on the Today show right at 7:00! Depending on when I want to leave for work for the day (it ranges between 7:45-8:15, but has been trending earlier in that window as of late), I’ll take a quick break to get ready, pack lunch, and make the bed during that time. This is also the window where I’ll eat breakfast, unless I’m somehow not that hungry or super in the groove and decide to take it to work with me.
As you can see, I aim to get eight hours of sleep but realistically end up with 7.5 to 8, depending on when I actually fall asleep. There was a point a couple of years ago when I was out of bed, teeth brushed (bed made, when I lived with a roommate), and on the couch with a cup of tea and my laptop open by 6:15 every morning. That was ideal, and I’m trying really hard to get back to that but struggle mentally when I know I’ve gotten less than my ideal eight hours. This is a bad habit I need to break because missing a half hour here shouldn’t affect my productivity for the day. However, I do know I need as close to eight hours to be at my best and plan to stick with that while my lifestyle allows it–major respect for/awe towards the new mothers who impressively function without even close to a full night!
There are obviously some exceptions to all this intended structure–a dinner that runs really late (I shower at night, so never just go home and hit the sack), a late flight, or just a conversation or book that keeps me up past my bedtime. However, I work hard to stick to this schedule M-F since I know getting my eight hours and waking up early helps set a positive, productive tone for the day. I’m going to be doing a post about balancing work-work, blog work, and freelance work, but basically it comes down to taking advantage of all pockets of available time–like early mornings! We both typically like waking up early on the weekends too (more like 7-7:30 early!), so that helps keep things consistent during the week.
This all sounds kind of complicated, but it’s really not…it just takes a little commitment, but is so worth it once the habit sticks! While I’m much more of a morning person than a late night person, I did need to motivate myself to get on this schedule. I used to just get on my laptop in bed and while it was definitely more productive than just scrolling through my phone, it didn’t mentally wake me up the same way as getting out of bed and onto the couch does. What really helped was having a fun, positive reason to jump out of bed…for me, it’s getting a solid chunk of uninterrupted time to power through work (so satisfying), turning the Today show on right when it starts, a yummy breakfast, and enjoying a cup of tea in the comfort of my home. I’m sharpest in the morning and typically do my best work during the first few hours of the day, so it was important for me not to let that time go to waste. (And yes, I was one of the few people who intentionally signed up for early morning classes in college…and still aimed to go to bed around midnight at the latest if I wasn’t out for the night. No shame in the early bedtime game!) If you don’t have a blog/side gig calling for your attention in the morning, perhaps you’d use the time to work out, cook a delicious breakfast, catch one of the morning shows, and/or pack a yummy lunch to avoid spending $10 on an overpriced sandwich…truly, there is something about knowing you have a head start on your day while so many people around you are still waking up.
That’s a look at my early mornings and why I prefer them–do you love productive mornings, or would you rather burn the midnight oil and enjoy a couple of extra zzzzzzzzs in the morning?
PS: If you’re curious, Ashlee has a glimpse of her morning routine…I’m envious she manages to consistently get up so early and function on a little less sleep :)