How to Kick Start Your Day by Rising Early

by Tammy Strobel on June 18, 2010

One component of living a simple, minimalist lifestyle is using your time wisely. I think rising early is the best way to accomplish this goal. Rather than hitting the snooze button 20 times, get out of bed. Rising early is an amazing way to kick start your day.

Below are a few tips to get you started.

1. Write down the reason you’re getting up early.

By writing down the reason you want to get up early, your more likely to follow through on the goal. If you don’t have one specific reason, write down 2 or 3 daily intentions and think about when you want to accomplish those tasks.

Planning your day will help you focus and stop wasting time. Plus this process will get you excited for the day ahead.

2. Use your time productively.

Use your extra time to actually wake up instead of rushing out the door. Enjoy a cup of coffee and a good book, and once awake, make time to work on the project of your choice.

3. To wake up early, (you must) go to bed early.

This tip is self explanatory. If you go to bed at midnight you probably won’t be hopping out of bed at 5 or 6am. Going to bed early will give you ample rest and will help you rise early.

4. Get enough exercise.

It’s essential to balance the body and mind. If your mind works hard all day, your body needs to match those efforts. By exerting your body through running, walking, or yoga, you will sleep more soundly and have a desire to go to bed early.

5. Find a wake up early buddy.

Being accountable to a friend is a great way to rise early. For instance, you can met your workout buddy at 5.30am for an early morning run or walk. If you know a friend is waiting for you, you will be less likely to hit the snooze button.

6. Just say “no” to the snooze button.

Hitting the snooze button is a bad habit. Just say no to the snooze button and get up when your alarm goes off. You are not getting any quality sleep by being awakened every 5-minutes anyway.

7. Put your alarm clock far away from your bed.

Make it hard for yourself to hit the snooze button. By placing your alarm clock far away from your bed, you’ll be forced to get up and turn it off. Then you can dive into your morning ritual.

8. Create a morning ritual.

This ritual doesn’t have to be complex. Mine looks something like this:

  • Turn the alarm clock off.
  • Get out of the bed.
  • Open the windows and turn on a fan.
  • Make a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Feed, water, and play with the cats
  • Turn on the computer.
  • Start writing or reading.
  • Do yoga, run, or walk.

You get the idea. My morning ritual isn’t very exciting, however, by following this plan my brain and body know what to expect and I’m less likely to crawl back into bed. Plus, this ritual gives me a reason to get out of bed and get my day started.

Resources

For inspiration, read How to Wake Up Early. There are a lot of awesome tips to help you get out of bed.

If this post helped you, please share the content with your tribe.

1 Chris -ZTF June 18, 2010

As an early riser this stuff comes naturally to me. Waking up early is awesome it gives you some time in the world that feels so peaceful and relaxing……
Creating a morning ritual is very important, it is a great time to do stuff you enjoy in peace….

2 Daisy June 19, 2010

I’m more of an early riser than my husband — after having a baby and getting up constantly in the night I think my body clock changed. Our 3 year old has a timed lamp that turns on and signals he can come get us at 7:15. I set my alarm at 7. Just that 15 minutes to pee, get a cup of coffee, stretch in relative silence has made a WORLD of difference.

3 Tammy June 19, 2010

@Daisy – awesome! I’m glad you have that extra 15 minutes of silence. :)

4 Sarita Li June 19, 2010

Daisy,
Wow, what an awesome idea. Visual cues are so great for kids, and that gives him a measure of responsibility and independence, too, besides the 15-minutes benefit for you! Thanks for sharing.
-sj

5 Katie June 19, 2010

Early rising is the best. I find it’s such a lovely, peaceful time of day. It’s real me time and very productive. My brain in tune with my dreams and my inner world. Great time to write. Love, love, love mornings. I pity night owls, really.

6 Tammy June 19, 2010

Hey Katie – ohhh I so agree. Mornings are so peaceful. Especially when I go for super early runs. I love listening to the birds chirp.

And, at least for me, writing is so much easier in the am. By the time afternoon hits, my head is in the clouds. :)

7 Chloe Adeline June 20, 2010

Ugh. Katie. Early rising is the worst! I’m a night owl. I wish I wasn’t, but I am. I envy you.

However, I’ve just left my job…tomorrow starts my first official “I’m living and working for myself” week…and I know I’m going to have to create a routine for myself that involves getting up in the morning, or else I’ll sleep until 3pm every day.

So thanks for the ideas Tammy – waking up is the worst for me. I often snooze for an hour…or two : ( I’m going to have to devote myself to changing this.

I think “Write down the reason you’re getting up early” is the best tip I’ve ever heard for waking up. I didn’t write it down last night, but just thinking about WHY I wanted to get up this morning made a world of a difference.
] chloe [

8 Sarita Li June 19, 2010

I soooooo need to get back into this habit. Mr & I used to get up early, have a home cooked breakfast together, and then walk the mile and a half to work. I miss those days! And the clothes I used to fit into then! And that was only a year and a half ago. And today I’m kicking myself for sleeping in till 10 a.m.

Getting to bed early is going to be the challenge at first. Actually, my first goal along these lines is to get into the habit of getting out of bed and getting going right away, regardless of what time I wake up. That always improves the day.

Thanks as always, Tammy!

-Sarita Li

9 Tammy June 19, 2010

Thanks for reading Sarita. :)

10 Little House June 19, 2010

I’m such a snooze-button person. During the school year, I go to bed early and rise early, buy only after hitting the snooze button about 4 times! During the summer months, when I can sleep in early, I get into a terrible habit of sleeping until 9am or later. I really need to take these tips to heart and try and stick to a routine of getting up by 7am (an hour later than during the school year.) Thanks for sharing!

11 Tammy June 19, 2010

@Little House – I’m with you there. Hitting the snooze button is one of my downfalls. I’ve found that keeping the alarm far away from my bed is a huge help.

12 Steve June 19, 2010

I agree with you in practice, but perhaps not in theory.

I usually rise early. I love the morning and like to get up at least by six if not earlier. I do know, however, that there are people who are not early risers and it isn’t because they are lazy. They are night owls. My daughter being one of them. Her head doesn’t really clear until around eleven. She really gets in her stride somewhere around eight in the evening and would prefer to work in the early hours of the morning, go to bed around two or three and get up around ten. Now that she has children, that doesn’t work so well, but then neither does she before noon!

I think we all need to understand ourselves and what our natural clock does to make us the most productive we can be. If that is rising at four or five and getting it all done before noon, great. If it means rising at noon and working into the wee hours, then that’s what we should do. There is no one size fits all!

13 Tammy June 19, 2010

@Steve – awesome point. I know a few night owls who are super productive between the hours of 10pm to 2am. I don’t think later risers are lazy but I do think mornings tend to be a great time to get work done. Especially, if you work a day job or have little kids. :)

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I appreciate it.

14 Steve June 19, 2010

I totally agree, Tammy. I rise early too and don’t get much done when I don’t. I just know folks the other way. I know you didn’t mean to say they were lazy, but I have heard some say things that indicated they thought they were. We are all unique! Celebrate uniqueness!

15 John June 19, 2010

As a night-owl, I thank you for pointing that out. I’m one of the lucky people, I can get up at anytime I want – but I can also fall asleep anytime I choose. Despite me being able to get up at anytime, my mind won’t start working till around noon – I would never get anything done if I got up early.

Me being a night-owl was often a source of contention between my step-mother, and me. She often said I was lazy for not getting up early, I often said she was a … never mind.

16 DJ June 19, 2010

Getting a cat has helped my early rising no end.

17 Meg June 20, 2010

The sheer beauty of dawn and the special peacefulness of early morning can’t be matched at any other time of day. I had been an afternoon person for many many years, but these days I do best by getting up between 5 and 6 am. After the morning coffee and reading ritual, I get to work, and by noon I’ve done loads of work and there’s still loads of day left for whatever comes up. It keeps the days from going by too fast, as in the sense of “where did time go?”

18 puerhan June 21, 2010

I love getting up at 5:30am for exercise, meditation and poetry writing before breakfast! It is wonderful to experience the changing light and seasons all year around in the early mornings. :-)

19 KC June 21, 2010

Well what can I say. Having been a shift worker for many years in the emergency services and then gone on to work long hours in management getting by on 5 to 6 hours sleep I have to say you are having a laugh. Get up between 8.30 and 9 and let the day take it’s course.

All this stuff about goals, isn’t that all rather, well a bit uptight?

Relax, get down the beach. See you there tomorrow.

20 Michael June 21, 2010

It’s such a battle for me to get up early. I envy anyone who can pop right out of bed in the morning.

I try to exercise in the morning because I feel like I’ve accomplished something before I have to go to work. I love podcasts, and I try to keep some motivational podcasts at the ready to get me going. Also having a reserve of podcasts that I’m excited about helps motivate me to rise early, pop the ear buds in, and exercise.

21 Jarkko Laine June 22, 2010

I love it when I manage to wake up early. With two small kids it can sometimes be a bit challenging (you need to wake up earlier than they do, for instance :)) but I’m trying to get back to my previous early riser routine as well.

One tip I found useful when I last became an early riser a couple of years ago was to not worry about getting to bed early at first. If you just make sure you *never* snooze but just jump out of bed in the morning, your bed time will switch to earlier really fast… After a while, you just won’t have any more energy to stay up late.

22 Clearly Composed June 27, 2010

I went from being a night owl to an early bird and haven’t looked back since. There’s something magical about being the only one awake in the house and having that time just for me. :)

23 Lisa July 10, 2010

I’m 27 years old, and am one of those “night owls”….always have been! I grew up as a perfectionistic straight A driven only child – yet the one thing I was never able to overcome was going to bed early / rising early thing. I read all the tips (“go to sleep earlier and you’ll rise earlier!”, “enjoy the morning!”, “think of how much more time you’ll gain and how productive you’ll be!”, “make it a habit!”). None of it ever worked. I hit my stride about 9 pm and do my best work and thinking between 10 pm and 2:30 am. I love the quiet of the night, the peace of knowing my family is safe under our roof (which means no hidden stress or worries about potential dangers), and the calmness I find in being the only one up. My mind is clear at night! Being introverted probably caters to that feeling as well. I always have been like that – even when I was hammering away at Calculus 2 problems in high school. It’s no different today and I have a husband, a newborn, and a two year old (who, luckily, sleep in til 8-9 am!).
The only thing different now is that I’ve finally accepted who I am. As beautiful as they are, mornings just don’t cut it for me as far as productivity is concerned. The people in my family who are early risers have always commented to me how much of the “day” I waste by sleeping “so late”. Yet they go to bed at 8 and 9 pm?! I would lose 5 hours of rockin’ productivity per night if I followed that habit (because even if I DID rise early, I would not fill those early hours in the same way I would at night time). I always comment back to them about how much day THEY waste by going to bed so dang early. They have yet to budge on their position though. haha. :)

24 Christine August 12, 2010

I start work early (in the office by 7), and I always envy the walkers/joggers during my morning drive in. I know that if I got up an hour earlier, I could join them, but then I’d be swapping even more hubby-time for early sleep-time, since he’s a night owl. But the idea of going for a morning walk before the temperature goes up is enchanting.

25 Christina August 12, 2010

Now that I’m working at a new job with more typical hours (9am – 5pm instead of 6am – 4pm), I find myself being able to get up around the same time I did to work at my old job (around 4:30am). This allows me to get ready and fully dressed for work while tending to my early riser of a dog, eat breakfast, write a few entries for my Lolita fashion blog, play a game on my computer or video game system for about a half hour or so, etc. I’m considering taking more time with the dog so I can go for a walk with him and add some exercise to my day.

I’m definitely a natural night owl, but I’m getting more into the habit of getting to sleep by 8pm because my dog actually whines and gets upset if he can’t find someone to snuggle and sleep with around that time. :D

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