As the popular saying goes, “The early bird catches the worm.” But we prefer the more inspirational line: “The early bird will inherit the earth.”
And the science backs it up: a 2009 study from the University of Leipzig found that people who consider themselves morning people are generally much more proactive than their late-night counterparts.
But it’s more than just setting your alarm for five, six, or seven in the morning and getting yourself to bed before the clock strikes midnight.
It requires adopting the mentality that early risers have over late sleepers—doing things now, being positive, and getting everything important out of the way as soon as possible.
If all you do with your morning is lie in bed and scroll through social media feeds, you’re not the type of morning person that the studies refer to.
Becoming a productive morning person means adopting the right habits, some of which can be extremely hard to get into.
Here are 6 tricky morning routines that are guaranteed to improve your quality of life.
1) Plan Out Your Day Before You Go To Bed
While this is less of a “morning routine” and more of a “night before routine”, this step is just as important as anything else you can do in the morning.
To ensure that you have a successful morning, you need to write down a plan that can knock you out of the groggy, sleepy early-morning vibe.
When you know exactly what you have to do, how much time it will take to do it, and what you can accomplish if you use your time effectively, you will be inspired every morning to just stand up and get those things done.
If you want to take the extra step, then include what your breakfast will be and lay out your clothes on a table or chair. Your morning self will have no excuses to stay in bed.
2) Wake Up Earlier Than The Sun
As much love as night owls get for being smarter and having higher IQs, it might actually be better to turn into an early riser. Why? Because almost all hugely successful people wake up at the crack of dawn.
Laura Vanderkam, author of the book, “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” and time-management expert interviewed several CEOs of giant worldwide corporations, and over 90% of them all share the same single characteristic: they wake up before six in the morning on the weekdays.
The CEO of PepsiCO wakes up at 4; CEO of Twitter is already jogging by 5:30, and the CEO of Disney finds himself buried in a book as early as 4:30.
For many of you reading right now, this probably sounds like hell. You might not have woken up earlier than 5am since highschool.
But habits are all about creating a routine: if you adjust the rest of your life to fit it in—such as sleeping earlier—you’ll see that waking up early isn’t as bad as you thought.
3) Shake Out the Sleep With Morning Exercise
Sure, the body doesn’t care what hour it is: as long as you burn the calories, pump the weights, and eat healthy, you’re guaranteed to see fitness gains in no time.
But working out doesn’t come naturally to many of us. It’s as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one, in that we have to convince ourselves to hit the gym or go for a run every single day.
The best way to beat this test is to cut out the stress and anxiety that comes with knowing that you still have to hit the gym today.
When you wake up and exercise as soon as possible, you free yourself from an entire day of that added responsibility of still needing to squeeze in a workout.
There’s absolutely no reason you can’t find the time to workout on aa daily basis. If the most important and occupied leaders in the world can find the time to keep their body healthy, you can too.
4) Prioritize Important Projects and Side Hustles
The great part about waking up early is that it gives you several hours before daily life begins.
The peace and quiet of knowing that you have two or three hours to work on your projects with no interruptions or daily responsibilities offers you a kind of freedom that just isn’t possible at any other part of the day.
After you’ve hit the gym or gone for a run, the rest of your early morning should be dedicated to your projects.
Whether these projects are important high-priority work-related assignments or creative side hustles that stoke your passion, it’s crucial that you put these uninterrupted hours to good use.
Don’t believe us? Hundreds of famous artists, musicians, and authors have all spent their mornings wrapped in their masterpieces, including Victor Hugo, Kurt Vonnegut, Ludwig Beethoven, Maya Angelou, and Jon Milton.
5) Embrace the Peace
The modern world is a circus of noise, stress, and overstimulation. The only way to escape it? Wake up before everyone else, and give yourself the time and peace to ease yourself into the day.
It is so difficult to achieve a sense of calm when you know you only have a half hour to get ready for work, five minutes to eat, five minutes to prepare yourself, ten minutes to get out of the house, and so on throughout the day.
By freeing your time up in the early morning hours, you allow yourself the time to achieve a certain mindfulness, getting ahead of all your responsibilities before their deadlines come ticking down.