On weekday mornings, my alarm goes off at 4:45.
I guess I should be more specific: Grant’s alarm goes off at 4:45. He has to be at work by 6 a.m., so the early alarm is a must.
When his work schedule changed, and he started getting up this early, I decided to embrace the change with him. Falling back asleep for an hour or two is rarely restful for me, especially since G is getting ready for his day in a bathroom that is five feet from our bed.
Before this change, I got out of bed at 5:30 a few mornings a week to work out, so 4:45 didn’t seem too bad.
And I was right — for the most part. Some mornings, 4:45 feels like 6. Early, but not terrible. Some mornings, 4:45 feels terrible. It just does. But I push through because the added hours in the day are worth it to me.
The secrets to getting up this early are simple, I promise. By keeping these habits, it seems almost easy to wake up way before dawn.
SECRETS TO GETTING UP AT 4:45 A.M.
- Just put your feet on the floor.
This tip is the easiest and the hardest all at once. But just do it. Don’t hit snooze, don’t roll over for a quick snuggle. Just get up.
My feet hit the floor within literally five seconds of the alarm ringing. I may walk to the bathroom and then the kitchen with my eyes closed, but I am doing it.
- Plan, plan, and plan some more.Have a plan for your morning before your feet hit the floor. When you know what you’re supposed to be doing once you get out of bed, you can do it without thinking and while you’re waking up. My morning schedule changes from day-to-day, but the basic structure is the same. Every weekday morning, I want to get ready, pack lunches, water my plants, write, exercise, and leave for work on time.
Getting up at 4:45 means I have three and half hours between the time my feet hit the floor and when I need to leave for work. That’s so much time. Planning out how I’ll spend this time means that I can make the most of it, instead of accidentally looking at Snapchat (👻: @cait326) for an hour.
I love being productive in the morning because it means that I can truly clock out at 5 P.M. Not only am I leaving my day job, I’m leaving behind many of my daily responsibilities. I can go home, cook dinner, relax with a book (or Bachelor in Paradise), and not stress out about fitting a workout in. Because it’s already done.
On a weekend morning, my schedule is more relaxed, and my wakeup time is a little later, but I still plan in out. I get up relatively early, too, like 6 or 7. I do sometimes sleep in, but it throws off my body clock and makes it harder to get up at 4:45 that coming Monday.
On Sunday, I woke up at 7 and did laundry, cleaning, writing, and exercise, all before noon.
Getting these chores done in the morning means that I have time in the afternoon to relax (maybe even take a 30-minute nap) or hang with my family. Frontloading chores lets me have long, unstructured afternoon hours, which feels like a vacation.
- Go to bed, dummy!
This one is the most important — find a bedtime that works for you and stick to it. The “dummy” in the tip above is me. At least twice a month, I find myself scrolling, scrolling, scrolling on my phone way past my bedtime. There is no reason to do this — I’m not learning anything and I’m certainly not really enjoying myself. It’s just mindless distraction that ensures that I’ll be tired tomorrow.
I turn the lights out around 9:30 every night. Hopefully, I read for like 45 minutes first. It’s true what they say about books before bed — even the most intense and stressful thriller of a novel winds me down for sleep better than iPhone time.
Sometimes, this early bedtime doesn’t happen. Sometimes, there’s a great T.V. show on (um, Bachelor in Paradise), and I don’t go to bed until 10. Sometimes, I’m out with friends on a weeknight, and I don’t make it to bed until even later. I brush it off and get back to my schedule the next day.
While these are my habits, I am sure as hell not perfect. The Wednesday morning after my monthly book club (and the wine and cheese that goes with our discussion), I will often go back to sleep after G leaves for work. And that’s okay.
What’s not okay is allowing one day of sleeping in to backslide into a whole week of it. Because that leads to lunches purchased in the cafeteria, skipped workouts, and no time to write.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of giving up on a habit because you screwed up once, but — MAJOR KEY ALERT 🔑 — if you *start from scratch each day* that trap can be dodged. Yesterday sucked? Fine. Today will be better.
I know the saying is “the road to hell is littered with good intentions,” and I do think that’s true, to a point. A plan with no follow through is worthless. But a positive habit that you keep 85% of the time is worth a lot. Even if you do hit that snooze button from time to time.
What time do you get up? How many cups of coffee do you drink? How many times do you press snooze?
If you’re a night owl, teach me your ways.
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