Oh, waking up early… I like to think most people have love-hate relationships with this concept. So this time, I’m here to share with you how waking up early changed my life and why I’ve enjoyed it big time. (For most of the mornings).
A quick disclaimer: This post is highly focused on online entrepreneurs, bloggers, freelancers, business owners with a bit more freedom in life than 9-to-5 workers. But I’m sure anyone would find some inspiration!
I’ve always been in the gray zone regarding being a “night owl” or “early bird”. The term “always exhausted pigeon” really could apply to my life.
I know for sure that I’ve never enjoyed waking up for school at 6 AM and my brain literally are shutting off after 10 PM. At the same time, I enjoy nights out with my friends and rolling in my bed at 3 AM feels okay. And waking for an early flight is YES YES YES (well, maybe not that passionately tho).
I do think there are pros and cons of both – early rising and late nights. But at some point in my life, I figured out that waking up early is something I want to give a try to so I did.
One of the things to notice is that I have a very flexible schedule. And one of the reasons WHY I love waking up early by now is because I can actually schedule morning hours for me and myself only.
Also, this post won’t include any kind of a secret formula on how to wake up a 4 AM but might inspire you for some new decisions!
Let’s get into details on how waking up early changed my life.
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Roadblocks for waking up early
For years, (twelve, to be precise), I used to wake up at 6-7 AM and go to school. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and, as most kiddos, I really enjoyed staying up late more than waking up early.
There literally was nothing pleasurable about early mornings in my life for 12 years and I could count on my fingers for how many times I actually woke up somewhat happy.
I think it’s one of the first alarms that are triggered in our heads about waking up early. For most, it’s associated with the school, maybe even irritated parents, rush. The need to drag yourself out of the bed for someone else (because who needs school, right?!)
Then, it’s work. And the circle keeps on going. Rush, bad mood. The feeling of being pressured to wake up. To be in time for someone. To check your clock. To hear alarms. All these bad and depressing associations.
So whenever we have a chance, we shut out alarms off and sleep in. Weekends, Holidays, sick days, vacations. Oh, the pleasure of sleeping!
And then there are those who actually have the pleasure of sleeping in whenever they want to. Freelancers, online business owners, digital nomads, whatever you prefer. With the freedom to work as per your own schedule comes the freedom to sleep.
So is it really possible or even necessary to wake up earlier?
Where to find inspiration for waking up early
My answer to the previous question is simple – it is possible. But it’s necessary only for those who feel the need themselves.
Sure, the science can be another motivator. All these articles about our productivity levels being high in early mornings and in our first waking hours, benefits of working out in the morning, meditation, etc. There’s a neverending list of benefits!
But where to find the motivation if you like to sleep in or you find it really, truly, incredibly hard to wake up?
Here are some things that triggered my willingness to start my days earlier:
- The necessity to find more time. Even waking up around 9 AM always felt like my day is halfway done. The normal rush means that around 12 or 1 PM people are already having lunch but I’m just getting started on my tasks. And the overall energy around me shifted, no matter whether I was at home, in a coffee shop or coworking place. It’s hard to go against the stream! I felt like I need more productive and focused time in my life.
- The eagerness to have longer days. I’m a lover of the daylight. I LOVE experiencing as much of the daylight as possible. So, once again, waking up earlier seemed like the only real solution.
- The need to change. I’ve always been a chameleon. Whatever is working for me now might seem like old news within a week. Therefore, my inner calling for changes was very loud this time and said GO FOR IT.
- Other inspiration stories. I’ve read books like The Miracle Morning and all kinds of articles about how waking up early have changed people lives. I felt inspired to give it a try!
Benefits of early mornings
If you’re at least a tiny bit into the idea of waking up early, you must’ve already educated yourself about the benefits of waking up early. Therefore, I’ll just share my personal experience instead of listing all of the actual benefits.
Although my boyfriend is the only living creature I’m living together with, I still enjoy waking up before anyone and everything else does. In the morning hours, everything is so peaceful and quiet. I enjoy this A LOT especially while living in a countryside.
No new emails are coming in. No phone calls. I can schedule my time for what I want to do – and get it done.
Our bodies feel better
Although some might disagree, waking up with the sun is what’s written in our genes. If your sleep schedule is messed up and you’re waking up around lunch you won’t agree with me, I get that. But all people have ever done before the modern era was waking up when the sun’s up and going to sleep when it’s down. Which also means sleeping more in winters. I believe it’s our natural cycle to live this way! So our bodies actually feel better and more prepared for the day when they’ve risen along with the sun.
The freshness of a new day
One very summer-specific feature is the fact that it’s still slightly fresh outside in the morning. Recently, we’ve had some crazy hot weeks where I live and it’s really hard to function through the day. So I use my early mornings to do things I know I won’t have power for later in the day.
A feeling of the accomplishment
An early feeling of accomplishment makes me feel SO powerful and ready for the day – before it’s even started for others. If there’s anything fun planned in the day – meeting up with friends, going out for lunch, enjoying sunbathing or anything alike – I can easily step away from the computer and not worry about getting back early since I have ALREADY done things. On super busy days I can run ahead of my schedule and actually check things off my to-do list instead before my mind’s even ready.We all have many roadblocks to waking up earlier... But it really IS possible. If only you want to! Click To Tweet
My morning routines
Now, waking up at 8 AM is “sleeping in” for me. And if it’s 8:30 AM I feel like the day is done already, what’s the point of even trying?!
Normally, my mornings start at 7 AM or earlier. For some this might not feel like “early” but that’s what’s working for me after years of waking up at 9 AM or later.
After waking up, I spend at least one slow morning hour drinking my tea, reading books, checking Instagram, just slowly easing into the day. I use this time for things I enjoy. I know there are TONS of more useful things I could do but this is what works for me.
Later on, I take some time for morning yoga. Always a must! And I’ll make sure to read another article on how frequent movement has changed my life as well.
Next up on my list is breakfast, maybe a bit more reading or getting to work – depending on the day.
From there on, it depends on what the day has prepared for me.
Tips for making early mornings more pleasurable
no. 1 >> Find what works the best for YOU!
This one is super crucial. I’ve read literally gazillion articles on all kinds of “the best” morning routines but they rarely work for me. Moving first thing in the morning is not for me – it feels like a torture. Meditation is the fastline to falling asleep. So I’ve figured out what makes me the happiest and what makes my mornings actually enjoyable.
no. 2 >> Try out different wakeup times
Here’s a fun thing I’ve discovered – I can easily wake up at, for example, 06:55 AM but I’ll never be able to do the same at 07:15. It might depend on sleep cycles A LOT. So give it a try and figure out what works the best for you. Put your alarm clock on different times. Check at what times you tend to wake up naturally. For example, very often I open my eyes after 5 AM. Although it’s not my waking time, I can figure out when my next sleep cycle ends.
no. 3 >> ENJOY
Don’t put on the grumpy “I hate mornings” face. Change your mindset and work on enjoying mornings. Find what you LIKE about them. Is it the peacefulness? Bird songs? The option to drink coffee all alone? Watching the sunrise? Immerse into things you love and build your routines based on them.
no. 4 >> Don’t advertise your new habit
Sign up for early mornings because YOU want to and they make YOUR life better. Don’t advertise them and don’t make them your must-do. Yes, sometimes letting a word out in the world can help you to commit to what you’re up for. At the same time, it can give you an unnecessary pressure so skip it for now.
no. 5 >> Start in the summer
This is especially true if you’re living in a place where winters are long, dark and cold. For me, waking up early in the winter is HARD. Getting up early when mornings are sunny and bright is way easier. Make sure to use this option for your own good!
The main point of this post is to inspire you to find what works for YOU. Don’t look at waking up as the punishment but rather as an opportunity. To find more time, to be in peace, to do what you love.
Some people use early mornings to escape their families, others want to work on their passion projects or have more time for fitness or other enjoyable activities.
Make your mornings work for you and find the pleasure in waking up early!