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8 Tips for Waking Up Early & Conquering the Alarm Clock

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From Jeff: This is a guest post by Loren Pinilis. Loren operates Life of a Steward, a site about time management from a Christian perspective. You can subscribe to his blog or follow Loren on Twitter.

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

—Benjamin Franklin

For years, I wanted to wake up early. It seems almost all successful people get going before sunrise, and I wanted to be one of them. But when my morning alarm would go off, all the good intentions in the world couldn’t pull me out of bed.

Sunrise Photo

Photo credit: Florian (Creative Commons)

I understood the benefits of waking up early. I made plans to wake up early and write, just like the recent challenge in the 15 Habits series. But that discipline was gone in the morning.

The groggy person hitting the snooze button wasn’t the same clear-thinking person that had set the alarm the night before.

When I realized waking up early is a battle fought on two fronts, everything changed We must prepare our bodies, but we must also trick our sleepy minds.

Here are eight tips to help you win the fight and wake up early:

1. Take the first steps

The toughest part of the morning is simply getting out of bed. An alarm across the room is an old trick, but I don’t want to wake up my wife in the process. So I have my iPhone next to my bed with a soft alarm that I can turn off quickly.

To keep myself from falling back asleep in the morning brain-fog, I have another alarm across the room set for a few minutes later.

It’s extremely loud and will jolt my wife awake if I don’t walk across the room and turn it off first. Even my foggy mind understands that, and the fear of a startled and cranky wife drives me to take those first few steps out of bed.

2. Cultivate a mental environment

Here are a few ideas to wake your brain up (and keep it alert all day long):

  • Listen to podcasts related to waking up early.
  • Read about people who were early risers.
  • Remind yourself about the importance of writing every day.

Fill in the cracks of your day with inspiration on how and why to wake up early.

You can rationalize a lot when your alarm goes off. But if you’ve immersed yourself in this environment, even your hazy morning mind will feel compelled to wake up.

3. Develop a “get to” attitude

Get excited about your day, and you’ll jump out of bed. Don’t drive yourself with guilt about why you have to wake up early. Make waking up early something you get to do.

Of course, the joy of creating can drive you. But don’t be afraid to motivate yourself by doing something fun in the morning. Play some games or indulge in some leisure reading.

Better yet, think of the benefits that others will receive from your work. You can also keep track of your progress and reward yourself when you reach a milestone.

4. Create some accountability

Recruit a friend to hold your feet to the fire. You can have weekly meetings or even call or text each other when you wake up.

There are great online groups — such as the fellow artists here on this community, the upcoming Tribe Writers community, or groups such as the Hello Mornings Challenge for mothers on Facebook and Twitter.

5. Sleep well

The struggle isn’t all mental. There’s a strong physical component and the amount — as well as the quality — of sleep you get is the most important factor.

Although it’s obvious, make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time if you want to wake up early. Also, pay attention to your diet and exercise. General physical fitness greatly impacts your sleep habits and energy levels.

6. Never snooze

Hitting your alarm’s snooze button doesn’t give you more of the restful REM sleep. Your body and mind aren’t recuperating youíre just wasting time.

Personally, I noticed that regularly hitting snooze made my thinking even cloudier when the alarm went off. Your mind starts to ignore the alarm bells.

7. Stick to your wake time

Wake up at the same time every day.

Your body becomes conditioned to this and regulates your sleep patterns accordingly. You get more of that precious REM sleep and when you have a regular wake time, your body actually begins the process of waking up long before your alarm sounds.

8. Build momentum

After you wake up early, the challenge is to stay up. Maybe you’ll love to relax and sip your coffee. But for me, getting too comfortable is dangerous.

I used to start my mornings by reading the Bible and praying. It was a fight to keep my eyes open. Now, the first thing I do is exercise. My heart gets racing, and afterwards I can give what matters most my best focus and attention.

Move through your routine quickly:

  • Have the coffee ready.
  • Set out your exercise clothes.
  • Keep a vigorous pace and you won’t feel as drowsy.

When I depended on discipline and willpower alone, I had limited success waking up early. But I’m mastering my mornings now — all due to a few simple tricks. I hope they help you, too.

Recommendation: Need help getting up early? Check out the book Early to Rise by Andy Traub.

What are some tips that have helped you wake up early? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Check out my new book, The In-Between. To get exclusive updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://joannamuses.com/ Joanna

    I find that the temperature of the house makes a difference to how easy it is to get out from under the blankets. If you are able to preset the heating to come on before you get up it might be worth experimenting with.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That’s a great tip. I know that in those winter months, I dread those first few seconds out of bed. A cup of coffee goes a long way to tackling the cold – maybe the best thing to do is sleep with the coffeemaker right beside my bed. (Just kidding…kinda.)

    • http://twitter.com/MattMcWilliams2 Matt McWilliams

      Good one! Started doing that recently.

      Our AC was not working great upstairs so it was a little hot. I started around that time trying to get up earlier (see comment above) and noticed it was really easy when I was a little uncomfortable. 

      Now I set our thermostat to switch at 2:00am to 75 degrees. Usually it’s still nice and cool, but at least a little warmer.

  • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

    Kinda like the old Nike commercials, “just do it”.  that’s my mentality.  Just do it.  The reality for me is, if I don’t do it, I’m going to be behind on something … devotional time or the time I spend in my e-biz before putting my time in at church, etc …. but I agree, getting started early is critical.  I feel so much better about the day when I do!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I’m the same way. It makes a huge change in how I feel and perform that day. And I’ve found for my devotional time, no other time of day is quite the same. I think the best solution to waking up early is to not focus on the willpower aspect of it. I used to do that – and let’s face it, it rarely works for us. That’s why I’ve tried thinking of little tricks I can use to get me out of bed.
      My favorite is putting the alarm clock across the room and setting it to go off loudly if I don’t wake up and turn it off. In fact, that was the one that got me out of bed this morning!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Yup, that’s the way to do it. Setting your mind and going at the task. The great part about “just do it” is that it creates discipline. Something we all need.

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com Eileen

    Great post!  I am one of those sick and twisted people who love to get up early. 5:00am is my normal wake up time and I rarely need an alarm clock. I am eager to read, write and drink coffee!  Although, by about 10:00am, I kind of wouldn’t mind taking a nap. ;) I’ve never understood the snooze button…just seems like self-inflicted torture to me, you just get back to Lala Land and then the heart attack buzzer goes off again! 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I remember being in high school and not understanding what the snooze button was there for. When I pressed it on mine, it would just turn on music for 9 minutes when the alarm was off. Kinda sorry that I ever figured it out.
      I wish I were a morning person. Instead, I’m the biggest night person I know. Maybe some of these tricks will be useful to you if you ever get out of your element with jet lag, schedule changes, etc.

    • http://twitter.com/PatWooldridge Patricia Wooldridge

      I don’t use an alarm clock, either. I need  about 7 1/2 hours of sleep and try to get to bed at 10:30 (11 pm is stretching it!)  that will allow for that much sleep so I can feel rested when I wake. Even when I used an alarm clock years ago, I never used the snooze button; it would have been an aggravation.   Before bed, I usually make a list of most important things to accomplish during the next day. If I’m REALLY with it, I lay out the clothes I’ll wear. Having that one-less-thing to think about in the a.m. makes me more ambitious.

      • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

        Those are all great habits to have, Patricia!

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    It helps to go to bed at the same time as well. It will make what you do in the morning more efficient.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Thanks, Larry. It makes sense – keeping a regular bed time helps our body get used to falling asleep at a certain time. We sleep better and we’ll wake better.

  • http://www.rebeccaetc.com Rebecca Eaton

    I love getting up early and have been doing it for many years, but it’s still a struggle sometimes. What I eat/drink before bed greatly influences how I wake up. Heavy sugar content before bed or caffeinated drinks after about 5pm make waking up the next day very difficult.

    I use my iPhone alarm and set 5-6 alarms one minute apart. If I try to snooze, I’m snoozing every minute for five minutes. It helps for the most part.

    I do my quiet time with God first. I learned that sitting in bed (or even on the floor by my bed) is a definite recipe for falling back asleep with a “sorry Jesus!” Now I go get coffee and go sit at my desk. 

    It’s not a perfect plan but it’s working. I’m definitely interested in your #2 tip. Maybe it can help too! 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Great additions. I’ve never paid too much attention to how eating or drinking affected my waking. Obviously a load of sugar or caffeine would, but perhaps I should pay closer attention.
      I love that idea with the multiple iPhone alarms. That’s actually pretty funny.
      And I’m the same way with my quiet time. Praying in bed ends up with me waking up an hour later wondering what happened.

  • http://www.rebeccaetc.com Rebecca Eaton

    I love getting up early and have done it for many years, but it’s still a struggle sometimes. What I eat/drink before bed greatly influences how I wake up. Heavy sugar content before bed or caffeinated drinks after about 5pm make waking up the next day very difficult.

    I use my iPhone alarm and set 5-6 alarms one minute apart. If I try to snooze, I’m snoozing every minute for five minutes. It helps for the most part.

    I do my quiet time with God first. I learned that sitting in bed (or even on the floor by my bed) is a definite recipe for falling back asleep with a “sorry Jesus!” Now I go get coffee and go sit at my desk. 

    It’s not a perfect plan but it’s working. I’m definitely interested in your #2 tip. Maybe it can help too! 

  • http://twitter.com/CRoyseNiles Christine Niles

    My single critical success factor is the coffee-pot timer.  

    I am SO not a morning person, but in the last year as I’ve gotten serious about writing, I’m up between 5 and 5:30 every weekday and between 6-7 every weekend.  When I started it, I was skeptical, but I’m amazed at what I can accomplish and how well I can focus.  That’s a huge motivator…

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I’ve wondered about buying a coffee pot timer but then not putting the pot underneath it. Then I could set another alarm for a few minutes before and have to run downstairs to put the pot underneath the coffee maker to avoid a nasty mess. May not be worth it – but I know it would get me out of bed.
      I was a little skeptical, too, about waking up early and the difference it could make. But I’ve been amazed at it myself.

    • Katharine Trauger

      Hey, Christine,
      We used to have a coffee bar in our BEDROOM!
      Hubs got downsized, so now we just have a walk-through closet that connects our bedroom to our kitchen stove.

  • http://www.lovingourjourney.com/ Michy loving our journey

    Oh I’ve needed this post….thank you!!!!!!!!!  Loving all your info!  :) Michy

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Glad it was helpful!

  • tinyandsmall

    i’m reading this after hitting “snooze,” & then sleeping through the rest of my phone alarms.  no joke.  :)

    getting up early, as a SAHM who homeschools, has been KEY to getting my mind on straight.  in the last 6 months, we’re revolutionized our family life, disciplines, clutter, & time management, all because of a few extra minutes every morning with God.

    thank you so much for this spurring-on to keep going!!!  i’m re-challenged!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      It’s great to hear that you’ve made such leaps in your life all by getting up early. It can definitely have that power.
      So don’t worry about hitting snooze this morning. Tomorrow’s a new day, so keep fighting!

  • http://bobholmes.blogspot.com/ Bob Holmes

    Good stuff Loren.

    The second day of the morning challenge, I went to bed early, exhausted. As I lay there I thought… I’ve felt this before.

    Can you remember going to bed at 8:00 as a kid? What it felt like lying in bed listening to the world wind down? The song of crickets?  The room slowly getting darker?
    By the time 5:30 rolled around, you were wide awake, jumping outta bed to find some great adventure? That feeling of wonder and excitement?

    That’s what gets me. It’s rediscovering what’s been lost. It’s recovering my deep passion for life, a lifestyle I am created for. I wrote down some thoughts and I’m still writing on this subject. http://bobholmes.blogspot.com/2012/06/lost-art-of-rest-intro.html
    I haven’t figured it all out yet. For me, it’s a part of a recovery process. It’s recovering the lost artist.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Something seemingly as small as a change in sleeping and waking can really make us look at the world differently. I personally love being up before the sun rises. It allows me to start my day off on a serene note before the busyness of the day hits, and that makes a profound difference at how I look at the rest of life.

  • http://www.themakegoodchoicesproject.org/ Michael Hawkins

    Great post Loren!

    Back in the old days (high school years) I was NOT a morning person.  In fact, if not poked and prodded, I would sleep until 10AM or later on the weekends. 

    Nowadays, with two kids to get moving, a dog that needs to go out,  and a 40 minute one-way commute to work, I need to get up between 4:30 and 5:00 each morning.  At first it was a horrible challenge.  But, like any habit, the more I did it, the easier it became.

    Now, I’m a total MORNING PERSON.  There’s too much to get done to sleep in.  : – )

    Even on the weekends, it’s rare if I sleep past 6AM.  And that’s perfectly fine.  As you say, a consistent wake-up time is a good thing.

    Thanks for sharing the tips.  Good stuff!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I’m the epitome of a natural night person. In summers in high school, I would sleep in until around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. There have been plenty of times in my life where I’m going to bed when the sun rises.
      So I can’t say I’ve made the transition to a morning person in the sense that I’m cheerful and happy when I wake up – at least not for a few minutes. But I am a morning person in the sense that I love what happens and how I feel during the day when I wake up early.

    • http://www.rebekahruthbooks.com/ Rebekah Ruth

      Michael…I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to hear that it’s possible to become a morning person. I have four kids and the idea of getting a jump on the day is so appealing…but I thought it was a losing battle, that I’m hard-wired as a night owl. Maybe there is hope for me ;)

      • http://www.themakegoodchoicesproject.org/ Michael Hawkins

        Rebekah – Happy to be an encouragement to you.  That warms my heart.  ♥

        And whether we’re talking about becoming a morning person or changing the world, always remember:  there’s ALWAYS hope!

        Have a great day!

  • Savannah

    I am a morning person, but with four kids and hormone problems I find it harder to wake up at 5am like I used to.  I enjoy  that hour and I do write well first thing in the morning.  The key for me is to get in bed at a realistic hour and to meditate on why I want to get up early before I close my eyes.  When I do this I find that when my alarm goes off my mind is focused on why I want to get up, and not why I should ignore it and go back to sleep.  At least this works most of the time.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Mulling over why we want to wake up has been really helpful for me too. For me, I’ve found it’s good to think about those things all throughout the day rather than right before bed. It allows me to get in more thought time and makes the effect more powerful. Try listening to podcasts or sermons or music that reminds you about waking up early. Those work wonders!

  • http://tdhurst.com/ tdhurst

    The one thing that gets me out of bed quickly is worrying I’ll wake my wife. Set two alarms, you’ll never miss the second after doing it once or twice.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Haha – same for me. Once I accidentally let the second alarm go off. I bolted out of bed the next morning!

  • http://angelaamman.com/ Angela Amman

    These are great tips! Prekids I could wake up early and stay up late and survive without a lot of sleep. Now my kids have that unique gift, and they’re up several times each night. I’m trying to work through that and wake up in the mornings before dawn anyway. I will try some of these.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      It can get tough with a lot of little ones running around. We don’t want to get too legalistic about it. Ultimately, being a good parent is more important. But I’ve found that the best way for me to be a good parent is by waking up early. You may want to check out “Hello Mornings”. Their slogan is great: wake up for your kids instead of waking up to your kids.

  • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

    Great post. I am a morning person and LOVE the quiet and peacefulness of early morning before the rest of the world is up. I look forward to it. I do appreciate the timed coffee-maker though. I have my coffee, quiet time with God, writing time, then a run – what a perfect way to start the day and makes it easier to face the hurdles later on. I especially like tip #3 – that’s awesome to know I “get” to enjoy my early morning time.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That’s awesome that you enjoy your morning time so much. It’s great to face the rest of your day knowing that you’ve already done so many worthwhile and important things.

  • http://bewriting.wordpress.com/ Rachel Kain

    I’ve been better about getting up earlier, especially since I was forced to for a job where I actually had to clock in, but it’s still not early enough. I know that is the time for me to write. I come up with great ideas in the evening, but I am usually too distracted or tired to do any meaningful writing, so I jot them down in the evening and tackle them the next day, when and if I can. This is so important to me, and yet I still can’t make it work. It’s hard, though, with a husband who works afternoons and wants to talk to me when he gets home from work.

    However, it occurs to me that I made myself rise early when I was in yoga teacher training (Mysore classes started at 6:30), so I should be able to do this now.

    I’m excited to try some of these tips.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Jotting down ideas in the evening and writing about them during the day can be a great practice. It gives you a little extra time to mull things over so that you’re ready to go in the morning!

  • http://bewriting.wordpress.com/ Rachel Kain

    Especially keeping the advice about the snooze button in mind. It is my nemesis and my best friend all rolled into one.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      The snooze button is evil. It just keeps you in this zombified state of not really being awake and not really being asleep. Better to just get up, because the sleep is worthless.

  • http://www.nurturingcreativity.net/ Denise Urena

    #4 does work well.  I used to have a friend call me in the morning, and it always got me up.  Can’t be a text, though.  Has to be call.

    And having that coffee ready is essential!  I set the timer on mine.

    Starting the habit is the hardest part.  After  just a week or two of keeping the habit, it feels natural, though.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Accountability works great. It’s true for waking up, going to the gym, or just about any other habit we want to start.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Yup, that’s been my experience, too. Once you get going and get up momentum, it gets easier and easier.

  • http://profiles.google.com/susanwbailey Susan Bailey

    Two things made getting up at 5:30 not only doable, but something I like to do: looking forward to a cup of Starbucks French Roast, and knowing I will spend the first hour of my day doing what I like best – reading and writing. Worked like a charm! :) I admit, on the weekends, I sleep in till 8.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      It’s all about what you get to do!

  • http://rebootingworship.com/ Jamie Kocur

    Oh, why does getting up early keep coming back to me? I am so struggling with this. I have been struggling with exhaustion for months now and I feel like no matter how much sleep I get, I’m still totally wiped the whole day. Getting up earlier and feeling more groggy is not a happy prospect for me. But I know it’s a good routine to get into, so I’m trying hard to get to bed early, and then shut my brain off so I can actually fall asleep. (This is one of my biggest struggles… even if I go to bed early, some nights I simply CANNOT fall asleep.)

    Thanks for the tips. Hopefully some of these will help. 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Here are some things that may help you fall asleep faster:
      - Read some fiction.
      - Listen to some relaxing music.
      - Watch caffeine and sugar consumption in the late afternoon and evening.
      - Make sure the room is dark.
      - Slightly cold rooms help.
      - Try opening a window to let in a breeze or turning on a fan if possible.

      Hopefully that will help!

      • http://rebootingworship.com/ Jamie Kocur

        Thanks. I’m actually doing all of these things. :) I’m working on taking deep breaths and convincing my brain that whatever it’s dwelling on can wait until morning.

        • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

          Maybe try writing it down. Psychological experiments have shown that coming up with a plan and writing it down helps your mind “release” those thoughts so you can sleep.

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    I did a lot of praying about it and gradually, I became able to get up early. I’m motivated by the quiet before my kids get up and the heat of the day hits. I am motivated by not wanting to let any part of the day slip by. My husband is motivated by getting work done at the office before people get there and by his running partners. I am not a morning person naturally, but I have slowly become one and am finding joy in experiencing the early part of the day. Just more peaceful (and less bugs on the deck) than in the evenings. Great post Loren and awesome to see you guest here!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That’s the main reason why I started waking up early – it was the quiet before the rest of the day hits. I can read, think, and pray before the kids wake up, the phone starts ringing, and the Emails start coming in.

  • Rhonda Quaney

    I was getting up at 6. With your 15 Day Writing Challenge I thought…. ok… I get up at… 5…. That sounded painful enough. The first morning I woke up without an alarm a 4. Wide awake. Had an amazing morning before work. Wednesdays are a long day at work and a very late night night for me. This morning it was painful for a few minutes. Something popped in my mind that really helped me push past it. “It’s just a number. Don’t entertain the mind game. The day is waiting!”  Since I was groggy… I jumped on my bike first. It’s a great day! Thanks for your encouragement.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Getting the blood flowing by exercising is very helpful for me as well. I love that perspective of the clock as just being a number – way to get at it!

  • http://www.bethcoulton.com/ Beth

    My husband – who has never been an early riser in 26 years of marriage! – and I began getting up at 6:15 am each day back in January, after a challenge in a Sunday sermon one morning.  We thought we’d do it for 30 days, but…we’re still at it 6 months later.  It’s hard when it’s dark and cold out – easier now that it’s summer. But..we hold each other accountable and never question whether we’re going to do it or not; we just do it.  Set the alarm and get out of bed and don’t think about it!  While I’m not writing early, our family’s lives have definitely seen the benefits of parents praying early.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I think the benefits are compounded when we’re waking up with our spouses. What a great example for your kids.

  • Genepjennings

    Great tips! I can relate to several. I was born at 6:01 AM 50 years ago. I set the alarm for 6:01 AM and when I see the time each morning it reminds me that I was born to do what I’m doing. It motivates me to get up and get going. Sounds silly, maybe, but it works for me.

    I have also found that getting up at the same time helps. I go to bed when I’m sleepy. Whether it’s 10 PM or 1 AM. It’s not good to lay in bed when you’re not sleepy. 

    • http://www.themakegoodchoicesproject.org/ Michael Hawkins

      Your 6:01AM alarm is a very cool idea!  I love it.

      It’s good to find another 50-year old who is motivated to do what he was created to do.  I love that too!

      • http://twitter.com/genejennings Gene Jennings

         Same here, Michael. I don’t feel 50 but the calendar says I am!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Ha – that’s a cool story. I was born around 11 AM, so that explains a lot.
      Getting up at the same time helps immensely because our body can learn to adapt. Our sleep patterns are regulated much better and that allows us to wake feeling more rested.

    • Kriztalladen

      Woah! I now begin to wonder what time was I born! Haha! I must ask Mom. :)

    • http://twitter.com/theiPeter Peter Harris

      Hmm. I was born at 3:30PM so that will not work for me…. :)

  • http://ChristinaLiBooks.wordpress.com/ ChristinaLi

    For me, the biggest thing is having a reason to wake up early. I want to go pray at my pastor’s house with a group early Tues and Thurs mornings. I never regret getting up and praying! 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That’s great. I know those early morning prayer groups have been wonderful when I’ve participated. Felt so energized afterwards!

  • http://www.liveyourwhy.net/ Terry Hadaway

    Once I realized that I was an early bird, it was easy to adopt early bird practices. This guarantees the best results for my days. People who are night owls have a different creativity cycle. The hummingbirds… they just need to chill! http://wp.me/p2fSH9-5G

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Do you think one can change from an early bird to a night owl – or vice versa?

  • Molly

    The hardest part about waking up for me is the moment I wake up, I happen to be the most comfortable. I think one of the simplest motivators to wake up early is knowing the day ahead is how you want to spend it. Waking up early is something that will help YOUR day be more productive and enjoyable. If heavy dread looms over every morning, something has to change asap. 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That’s another great point. I like to do most of my planning at night, so I know what’s on my plate for the next day. Whether it’s an early appointment, something I need to tackle, or a task I really am excited about starting on – it helps to get me going.

  • http://twitter.com/MattMcWilliams2 Matt McWilliams

    Love it Jeff!

    I started waking up 2 minutes earlier every day a few weeks ago. Tomorrow I make it to 6:00am. Then I’m doing 1 minute earlier a day to reach my goal of 5:00am. I started at 7:20.

    So many people get motivated and try to go from 7:30 to 5:30 in a day. That’s like trying to go from running 1 mile to 5 miles (trust me…tried that and I almost died). Within 2-3 days, they are exhausted and back at their old habits. 1, 2 or 3 minutes is practical and achievable.

    I’m with you on exercising. First thing I do is crank up some music or motivational speech on the iPod, warm up and run or lift. My exercise off days are weird. I almost fell asleep reading because I hadn’t worked out. So I started just going for a quick walk and stretch. Even 20 minutes (preferably outside) will get your blood pumping enough.

    My advice, whatever time you woke up today, get up 2 minutes earlier tomorrow. If that doesn’t give you time for a long workout, literally do 2 minutes worth. Within 2 weeks, you’ll have 20 minutes for a workout.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Changing our wake time slowly and steadily is a strategy that many use. I personally didn’t – I think it probably worked better for me to tough it out for a while and then be ready to go, rather than indefinitely creeping on the time. But if it works for you, then that’s a great thing.

  • Mindbogglingrace

    It really is just a discipline for me. I just do it because I know it is the write thing to do.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I don’t know if that pun was intentional but it was appropriate :)

  • http://www.turndogmillionaire.com/ Turndog Millionaire

    Great tips. I’m not a morning person at all, but been waking up 6am each day. I don’t do much, but I read my Blogs, reply to comments, and small things like that. It takes about an hour or so, so it’s good to get it out of the way.

    I then try to do some more vigorous work. sometimes it’s a success, sometimes not :)

    Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      It’s also worthwhile to think about possible changes to make to our morning routines. Sometimes doing small tasks like that, for me, just drains me a little. I don’t start my day with as much energy. But perhaps it makes you feel more energized to have them out of the way. It’s all about doing whatever works for you!

  • http://aparchedsoul.com/ Grayson Pope (A Parched Soul)

    Love it Loren!

    I’m struggling with waking up at the same time right now. My 4 1/2 month old son just started sleeping better, so I’m used to sleeping as late as possible so I can get SOME sleep. It’s getting better though.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I think it’s appropriate to change your sleep as you go through different seasons. It may be that having a baby around means that you sleep whenever you can – I know that was the case with us.

  • Ashton Stewart

    While I am a morning person and love to wake up early, my wife is by definition a “night owl”. She loves to stay up late (and keep me up with her) and she looks forward to sleeping in occassionally. I learned a lesson one morning when I woke up early to begin my routine of running, then reading my Bible, and then eating breakfast. After waking up I went through my dresser looking for a pair of shorts and in the process I woke her up. The lesson I learned: Set everything out the night before! I began a blog inspired by your 15 Day Challenge and I wrote about this “Night Before Principle” here: http://wp.me/p1XTtx-2F

    Thanks for your inspiration brother!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That’s a great idea – and I learned the same lesson the same way, hehe. I was trying to fumble around in the dark to find clothes. Bumped shins, banged toes, and a cranky wife later – well, I learned setting things out is the way to go.

  • http://sharppaynes.com/ Tresta

    “Get up first.  Think about it later.”  ~ my favorite quote from Oswald Chambers!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I love that. I’ll have to steal that :)

    • http://www.rebekahruthbooks.com/ Rebekah Ruth

      Ooooh…that’s very cool. I may have to tattoo that to my forearm or something. haha. Okay, maybe I’ll just write it on a post-it and stick it on my night stand.

    • Katharine Trauger

      Wow. Good ol’ Oswald Chambers hits home, again! I, too, love this. Great motto for the bedroom wall, too!

  • http://www.youngaspiringwriter.blogspot.com/ Chihuahua Zero

    This is the post for me! Lately, I have been unable to get out of bed earlier than 7 AM the most. Today, I got out at about 9 AM. It really kills your hours.

    Maybe several alarms on my iPhone isn’t enough. Time to un-retire my old alarm clock and send myself into a mental frenzy–which hopefully doesn’t result in me turning it off prematurely and going back to bed.

    Sometimes, I wake up one or two minutes before an alarm clock is supposed to go off. I’m weird that way.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Consistency is the key. Keep at it for a week or two or three, and then you’ll be almost on auto-pilot.

  • http://www.faughnfamily.com/ Adam Faughn

    When I first started really trying to get up earlier, I put my alarm clock across the room. That way, I had to get out of bed to turn it off, and that was enough to keep me up and going. Now that I am used to it, I have it back beside my bedside and I get up when it goes off.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That trick works wonders. But I was worried about waking up my wife. I didn’t want her to have to hear the alarm the extra few seconds it took me to get up and turn it off. So I tried the trick I mentioned in point 1.

  • Meg R.

    I understand about the time one is born effects the internal clock.  I was born at 11:46 PM and for so long I was this night person who even had a late night job, worked well.  Eventually, I had to become a morning riser and learn ways to get going at 6 AM.  Now, I have music to play (cd) that will let me think and not turn on the radio for talk coming at me.  Coffee is essential and the cat needs out, so I walk out on the veranda, even in the winter and get a blast of fresh air.  Then I settle down onto the page for an hour.  No cafene after 6 PM really helps me to wind down, and I have to stay off the computer after 7 PM to relax my mind.  Longhand writing, read books not Kindles, these affect me tremendously.  It just starts to switch around slowly and I wish I’d really paid attention when I was younger. 
     

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Reading a book and not a Kindle matters? Hmm, that’s interesting. I find the e-ink very easy on the eyes. I could see that though for backlit displays.
      The blast of fresh air is helpful, too. I will often splash some cold water on my face to refresh me and wake me up.

      • Katharine Trauger

        I think it’s the electricity, more than anything. Some people are more sensitive to electrical stimulation than others. I cannot sleep well under an electric blanket or even with a fan blowing. Some people can feel the electricity, and other things, too, such as magnetism. Hard for others to believe. I even like my toast better when it is toasted in a pan, rather than directly on electric wires as in a toaster. And don’t get me started on gas vs. electric stoves. I do not even a microwave, for similar reasons. Of course, if many people were like this, these devices would not sell well, would they. Still, we are out here.

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Great post Loren and congrats on guest posting here! I can say that this is one issue that I haven’t struggled with. It’s not for good reasons though, I deliver bread and wake up at 1 am everyday :(

    I have noticed that even after doing it for 12 years I still can’t get used to it, it’s just not natural. After a while though your body naturally starts to wake you up, I do this even on my off day.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Yeah, 1 AM has me beat, haha.

  • Katharine Trauger

    My husband brings me coffee in bed.
    Works every time. ;-)

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Nice!

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisCiolli Chris Ciolli

    The best way for me to consistently wake up early, is to go to bed in time to make sure I get enough sleep. Exercising first thing is a great way to start the day though, even something as simple as deep-breathing will get some extra oxygen to the brain, and at 6AM, that’s a great thing.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Sometimes I just take a walk down the street and back for a few minutes – just something to get the blood flowing.

  • Katharine Trauger

    When we married, I was the original morning person, and my husband was the sleep-til-noon guy. Now that we are in our sixties, our roles have reversed, wiht him retiring at 9:00 and me at midnight, and with him rising at 4 without an alarm, and me at 6.
    So take heart all you who sleep! The day is coming, maybe, when you will rise!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Hopefully I can get it figured out sooner rather than later :)

  • http://thebelongingplace.wordpress.com/ Lexie

    I needed to hear this.  I’ve been wanting to get up early since I started my blog.  I’d like to post in the morning, but I always am up till really late the night before so I am so tired.  I don’t have a good excuse though.  I suppose I should start getting up early *sigh*. :)  Thanks for this.

    Lexie

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Go for it Lexie. You’ll experience a whole new world of productivity. You might also want to try to go to bed a little earlier. Give yourself that extra buffer time.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Going to bed early seems to be a big challenge for many. I know it’s surprisingly tough for me. But just get into a routine there, too.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Great advice Loren. I’ve become an early riser most days. 

    I’m not sure how I came about to get out of bed so quickly and not hit snooze but once I decided to exercise in the morning, I was able to get out of bed almost on command. Once the routine set in, it became even easier. 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Good for you, Joe! It’s probably the mental environment you created for yourself. You psyched yourself up about exercise during your day – so that when morning came you were ready to go.

  • http://somewiseguy.com/ ThatGuyKC

    I’m an early riser, but I’m not a morning person. I’m also a chronic snooze button slammer. In the last few years my alarm will go off at 3am and I usually make it to the gym by 4am, but the last week or so I’ve had a really hard time not falling back to sleep or sleeping right through the alarm all together.

    These are some great tips that I plan on trying tonight! Thank you for sharing.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I don’t have any scientific data, but it seems from my own personal experience that repeatedly hitting snooze conditions your body and brain to ignore the alarm. It basically turns you into a selectively deep sleeper. I’ve gone through nasty cycles where I hit snooze a bunch, but it’s a good habit to break.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I can relate.

  • http://www.zencaffeine.com/ Kaylee

    I actually don’t mind getting up early. The getting up part isn’t always super fun, but once my feet hit the floor, I’m bright eyed and ready to go. Why don’t I do it more often? I’m not sure…

    I really love the idea of turning it into a “get to” thing. Negative reinforcement really doesn’t work for me, but if I have something I get to do for waking up early – like write in a peaceful, quiet house with a good cup of tea – then it’s not so bad! Awesome suggestions.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Thanks, Kaylee!
      I’ve found it’s especially powerful if I can connect the “get to” attitude with the mornings specifically – such as “I want to wake up because it’s the only quiet time and I want to read in peace.”

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I feel the same way.

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    Discipline and willpower  - I think am still hang up on those two :(.

    On the days that I manage to wake up early, having a cup of tea as i write or do my bible reading actually keeps me awake. i have discovered that chewing gum also clears the fog too :)

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Huh – I never thought of the gum chewing before. I could see that working – it gets you moving and it probably gets you breathing well. Now the tea thing – I can DEFINITELY understand that!

  • http://www.rebekahruthbooks.com/ Rebekah Ruth

    This. Is. Awesome. 
    I’ve been told my whole life that I should get up earlier (I’m a total night owl) but other than, “Go to bed earlier,” no one has ever given me any effective tips as to HOW to do it! 

    My husband is a restaurant owner so he’s up very late and in the summer we all adjust to his schedule…going to bed late and sleeping in. But I have been contemplating getting up and doing my quiet time and writing time from 5-7am each day and then going back to bed and sleeping in with the rest of them. (Just for the summer). 

    I did get up at 5 am several times during Jeff’s challenge and found it was a great time to get my writing done. I’ll be using these tips to get myself out of bed when that alarm goes off. Thank you Loren for writing this excellent post and thanks Jeff for posting it! 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Wow, glad it was helpful to you!

      I’m a night owl myself. Believe me, we could trade plenty of good stories on how late we used to stay up. Let’s just say that a few years ago (pre-kids), I was often going to bed around sunrise.
      I think what you’ll find is that one or two tips are really helpful for you, and those are what you lean on the most.

  • http://twitter.com/mwh1029 Molly Harris

    It’s funny…I’ve been working on a goal to consistently get up at 5:15 a.m. during the work week. I am trying to get up a little earlier every day (thanks to some advice from a blog…maybe zenhabits???). I’m making sure my goals are realistic and attainable, and allowing for a little stumble here and there without setting me off course completely!!!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Sounds like healthy goal setting.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Allowing yourself to stumble is crucial, too. Jeff has mentioned on here about giving yourself grace, and I thought that was a great way to put it.

  • Kriztalladen

    Another helpful post! Thanks so much! :)

  • http://lifeinsmallspaces.wordpress.com/ Kim

    I love this post.  I tend to try to steal time for myself after my kids go to bed…but as they get older, they are staying up to 10, so my “time for myself” happens between 10 and midnight.  I have a 15 year old who likes to watch baseball and play cards with me after his younger brothers go to bed, and I cherish the time with him.  It’s hard to give up my nights.

    But during Jeff’s challenge, I managed to get up at 5:30 a few times, and I loved it…I loved the quietness of the house, and the openness of the day that stretched ahead of me.When I was getting up at 5:30, I was writing and then exercising.  I wonder if I switched the order, it would be easier.And I love the “get to” idea.  So many great ideas here.  I’ll be pondering how this all fits into this season of my life for sure.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      You know, if time with family happens at night, then perhaps being a night owl is the best thing for you to do. There’s nothing magical about the mornings, and there’s no benefit in waking up early just to wake up early. If your time is better spent at night, then stay up late guilt-free!

  • Shaquanda Dalton

    I’ve always wanted to wake up early to but as soon as the alarm clock would go off I think ‘why do I want to wake up again? Why can’t it wait?’

    I agree about needing to have something to feel excited about when you get up early. Lately, that’s been the trick I’ve been using to get me going.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      The problem is you’re thinking! Your groggy mind early in the morning isn’t going to think as rationally as you did when you set the alarm. You’ve got to just take those first few steps and get going. Once you get a little momentum, then you’ll remember “Oh yeah, this is why I’m up.” :)

  • S. Kim Henson

    I go in and out of doing well as far as my morning habits. I’m a night owl who envies early birds! This post is the closest I’ve gotten to something really helpful unless I can find someone to pull me out of bed and keep me propped up all day. 

    Getting to bed earlier in my #1 problem. It’s almost 1 a.m. now, so I’m off here after this comment. It’s true, exercise is the best way to start my day and going to classes that begin at 8 or 9 gets me up earlier than I would otherwise. 

    Thanks for the others tips as well. Great post. 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I didn’t list this as a tip here, because it’s probably not for everyone and I’m not sure it’s the wisest thing to do – but try waking up at your desired time and toughing it out anyway. If you go to bed at 2 AM, wake up at 5 AM anyway. That day will be miserable. But you’ll be ready for bed early that night. That will hopefully get you on the course to changing your sleep patterns. Some people try to wake up earlier and earlier each day and phase into it – I’m just the type of person that likes to go 0-60 in two seconds.

      • S. Kim Henson

        I’m 0 -60 in one second so I get that! Good suggestion. Thanks. 

  • http://www.theoriginallife.com/ Daniel Tay

    Interestingly, it seems that research has shown that we’re the most creative when we’re groggy.  

    http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.sg/2012/01/youre-most-creative-when-youre-at-your.htmlHaha just to throw a spanner in the works ;)

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I’ll have to check out the study. But for me, it’s not so much about being maximally creative – it’s about actually getting the writing done. Later in the day, I’ve got kids screaming, the phone ringing, constant interruptions – that doesn’t do much for my creativity either, haha :)

  • Ian

    Hi Loren good post.

    I am an early riser and always have been but many mornings I really struggle out of bed. But one practice that has helped me greatly especially in recent times is to think that Jesus is waiting for me in my study. This is where I have my morning devotional and is what i do first each morning.

    It’s not just that He’s waiting, tapping His foot wondering where you are but that He is waiting expectantly. He’s excited that the 2 of us are about to start our day together.

    Try it. It really changed my attitude and makes it a lot easier to do when I just want to keep snoozing.

    Best wishes Ian

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I’ve heard similar stories that portrayed Jesus as physically in your living room waiting on you. It really puts it into perspective. That’s certainly the best reason to wake up early!

  • http://4ambassadorsofchrist.blogspot.com/ Jarmila V. Del Boccio

    Great tips, Loren!
    I noticed in Scripture that the “greats” such as Abraham, after God had given them a command, got up early to do just what He asked of them (Genesis 22:3) Now that’s getting a head start on the day!
    I have been struggling for the last two weeks with early rising, but I am tweaking it at both ends to work. Thanks to Jeff for the challenge!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Good points, Jarmila! There’s plenty of scriptural examples of people rising early – such as Christ himself!

  • http://twitter.com/melphd Melanie Wilson, Ph.D

    Excellent tips. Besides just getting up immediately as a habit (I was the snooze queen), I also tried an iPhone app that requires you to solve a puzzle to turn off the alarm. For the same reason you get up to turn off your second alarm, this alarm gets me moving because I run to the bathroom to get the noise away from my husband. It’s impossible to solve when I’m bleary-eyed.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Ha, I’ve heard of a lot of those creative alarms. There are some that fly across the room, some that make you solve a puzzle, lots of fun ones. I hope you run to the bathroom quickly and don’t wake up your husband! :)

  • http://www.hobodrifter.com/ HoboDrifter

    Hey Loren,

    These are some great tips that I love to use myself.  But there is one thing that I noticed A LOT in all 100+ comments: night owls who want to become early risers.

    I personally struggle with this because I am most productive at the wee hours of the day; both ends of the day.  But this was wreaking havoc on my body and mind.  I needed to find a way to stay up late and wake up early that didn’t involve a boat load of caffeine or other types of stimulants.  It needed to be natural.

    That’s when I came across something known as polyphasic sleep.  If you aren’t familiar with it, the general theme behind it is lessening your “core” sleep at night and supplementing it with strategically placed naps throughout the course of the day.  Without going into too much detail, there have been some pretty extreme case studies of people who have successfully implemented polyphasic sleep.  

    Matt Mullenweg, lead developer of the popular blogging
    software WordPress, recalls his experience with what is known as the Uberman schedule: “It was probably the most productive year of my life.
    The first three to four weeks you’re a zombie, but once you settle into the
    schedule, you don’t even need an alarm to wake up after the naps. I probably
    wrote the majority of my code contributions for WordPress.org during that time…”

    Ok, I’ve made this comment long enough, but I hope someone finds it useful.  I’ve been doing a variation of the Uberman schedule myself and I have to say that it’s changed my life completely- love it!

    Lastly, here are a few links to sites that provide a little more information:

    Steve Pavlina’s sleep logs: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/polyphasic-sleep/

    The “Everyman” sleep schedule: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=Everyman%20Sleep%20Schedule

    Thanks again for your post Loren.

    P.S. Love the blog Jeff!  The Writer’s Manifesto is badass.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Thanks for posting the links. I’ve taken a look at polyphasic sleep before, but I’m personally not convinced it’s the best way to live. As a Christian, I think we sleep for a reason and I can’t imagine that sleeping in such small increments throughout the day is really how the human body was intended to function.
      I also have read Steve Pavlina’s thoughts on the downsides of polyphasic sleep and how it’s hard to schedule your life around those naps. But hey, if it works for you, kudos!

      • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

        I’ll add to this that, as a migraine sufferer, my headache doc has always stressed to me the importance of consolidating my sleep and keeping it consistent. Going to bed at the same time every night and rising at the same time every day is absolutely critical, as is eating at predictable times (believe it or not). All these things keep my my headache factory happy and calm, and that keeps me headache-free. I let my wake-up time drift by an hour or so on the weekends, but that’s the max. If I go more than that, I can feel the tension build and I know I’ve wakened the beast.

        So I know for me, polyphasic sleep is out. It sounds great in concept, but it’s just not in the cards. For those for whom it works, more power to you!

  • http://tcavey.blogspot.com/ TCAvey

    Awesome tips! I’m not normally a morning person- but my son is, so I am learning to be!

    I’ve found one thing that really helps me is to commit my day to Christ from the very beginning. It helps set my pace and attitude to serving a higher purpose than myself.

    Great guest post!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I wouldn’t say I’m a morning person, but I believe I’m slowly becoming one, haha. And I feel the same way about starting my day on the right foot – focusing on Christ and committing my day to him really helps me stay straight the rest of the day.

  • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

    All of these are great and useful points!  I have been STRUGGLING lately in getting up early in the AM (I try to wake up by 5am daily).  This was the 1st week in a long time that I made some headway with that.  I will try some of your suggestions to help.

    One thing that has helped me in the past is getting everything ready for my 1st AM activities ready the night before.Again, great post!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      It’s OK to struggle. It’s OK to go through seasons. But hopefully there are a few tricks that will help you get back on track!

  • http://www.holyblasphemy.net Derek Murphy

    I like the ‘cranky wife’ tip, that might actually work for me. My normal sleep time is 4am to noon.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Heh, that’s the most effective for me by far :)

  • http://www.howtogetupearly.com/ Heavy Sleeper

    Hi Lauren and jeff. thanks for the nice post. I’ve been a heavy sleeper for years until I found my routine to wake up at the morning. I did most of the things you’ve mentioned in your post and I thing your list is very helpful. 
    I wanted to add another great tip that helps me get up early and might be helpful to some others. when I got to sleep I make sure my curtains will stay open so in the morning the light from outside will enter the room, the light causes your mind to get into a “wake up” mode that makes the waking up easy. hope it  will help:)
    you are also very welcome to check out my website http://www.HowToGetUpEarly.com that is about helping people wake up early by offering nice tips and some products reviews.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That is a good tip. It reminds me of a friend who has an alarm clock which turns a light on very slowly (to imitate a sunrise). She claims it helps a lot.

      • http://www.howtogetupearly.com/ Heavy Sleeper

        Yeah! Actually this alarm clock is called Natural Light Alarm Clock and it used light to wake you up. Experts say that in order to wake up easily you should stimulate as many senses as you can. conventional alarm clock uses only one (hearing) but the natural light alarm clock combines 2 (hearing and sight) and there’s even alarm clocks that spread some aromatherapy in the air so you can stimulate the sense of smell…  I wrote a review once on the best natural light alarm clocks here: 
        http://howtogetupearly.com/the-best-natural-light-alarm-clocks

  • Guest

    I’d advise against sleeping with your cell phone close by. So many concerns about radiation are in the news these days that another type of soft alarm nearby would be a much safer option.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Hmm…I keep it a few feet away from me – basically right at arm’s reach. You think that’s still a problem? Plus, is it harmful to just have the phone next to you? I thought that using the phone close by was the issue?

  • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

    I love this list! I routinely get up around 4:30 so that I can be out of the house by 5:15 to beat the (sorry) hellish traffic between my house and my office and get there by 6:00. If I head in any later, that 45-ish minute commute can easily double in length.

    But it means my morning routine is just a mad dash through the steps of shower-maybe shave-dress-kiss slumbering wife-coffee-feed cats-grab frozen lunch-depart. I would LOVE to have a more relaxed morning routine including time at home at my office desk to sip a cuppa and do my morning bible study, read through my blogs, write a little, fill up my buffer for the day and so on. As it is, most of those items get pushed until the first hour of my day at the office where they get tangled up with the things I’m supposed to be doing at work, and, well, they don’t get as much attention as I’d like.

    Thanks for giving me a good reason to re-think this, and to try to find some more creativity to apply to this problem.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      It takes a lot of courage to schedule our day around how we’ll be most fruitful instead of how it will be the most convenient. Perhaps, as crazy as it is, you need to wake up earlier than 4:30? Do you have to be to work by 6:00? Perhaps you could go to a coffeehouse or something close to your work for an hour or two before heading in – that way you avoid the traffic but have a little quiet bubble of time in the morning.

      • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

        You know, I like that idea a lot. It gets me past the horror of the long commute (and while I tend to spend my car-time listening to various podcasts, it still is less productive time than it could be and I prefer to minimize it) while still allowing me some early creativity time.

        I like it a lot, thanks Loren!

  • http://tejisunflower.tumblr.com Teji

    Great post! 

    I motivate myself to wake up early by thinking about my favorite band in the world. They’re extremely hardworking and get very little sleep. Every morning I ask myself how much writing means to me and if it’s as important to me as music is to them. I keep myself awake by watching a radio show (two of the members of my favorite band are the DJs). The radio show is 10 pm-midnight KST, which is 6 am-8 am PDT. The thought of seeing them do the show live (rather than watch/listen to it a few hours after it’s aired) is enough motivation to keep me awake.

    It might seem a little silly, but this is what works for me! :) 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Some great things to do, Teji!
      Being inspired by others who are pouring themselves into their art is a great motivator for us.
      And rewarding yourself by watching your favorite DJ’s is a great idea as well.

  • http://twitter.com/walterm Walter Mason

    OK – I am going to try the second alarm across the toom trick. Ever since reading Mel Robbins’ book STOP SAYING YOU’RE FINE I have been feeling really guilty about hitting the snooze button – and yet I can’t stop myself!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That’s the one trick that’s probably benefited me more than anything else.

  • Michellesbarnett

    Hmm, I hope some of these work.  I’m another night owl and I find I’m in a constant struggle at the moment regarding sleep.  I work a 9-5 but also freelance in the evenings, so nights are prime working time for me, or else the only ‘down time’ I ever get.  I’ve always worked best at night and am at my most productive between 11pm and 3am, but I still have to be up and out of the house every morning for an hours commute, so it’s either sleep less or not get the work done.  I usually sacrifice the sleep.  Some days I’m barely making it.  The flip side of course is that I’ll then overload myself and I can very easily sleep into the afternoons on a weekend, even if it means being late for things, or even missing them altogether.  I’ve just had one of those weekends and it just makes me feel guilty and incapable.  And guilt is not motivating at all.

    Sorry if I’m bringing down this rather hopeful thread, but it is what it is.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That sounds like a rough schedule. Why is it that you think you’re most productive between 11 and 3?

    • mrzhlb

      You sound like a B-person, and there’s nothing bad about that. I am one myself :)

      I think you’ll find http://www.b-society.org/ very interesting.

  • YoMister

    “The God of the universe is wild about you and can’t wait to hang out with you in the morning.” <– says my pastor on why he never sets an alarm clock. I wish I had that level of joy and son-ship!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I still use an alarm most times, but that is certainly an invigorating thought!

  • Celeste Vaughan

    I HATE to get up in the mornings. But if I get my phone and play a little Words with Friends before I drag myself out of the bed it seems to get me awake ;)

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Haha. Whatever works for you! I could see that helping.

  • http://www.wwjw.com/ Best Shopping Directory

    Woah! I now begin to wonder what time was I born! Haha! I must ask Mom. :)

  • http://www.wwjw.com/ Best Shopping Directory

    Those are all great habits to have, Patricia!

  • Bart Maas

    Great article! I have written about waking up early in my latest ebook: http://www.wakeupgetup.com 

    Check it out! 

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Thanks for sharing.

  • Za

    The tips that really help me is the number 7, it is really useful.
    Thank you

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That’s one that’s hard to do consistently. But doing so really makes it easier to get up.

  • http://brianbbaker.com/about/ Brian B Baker

    I’m a night writer, and getting up early is the hardest thing for me to do. I’ve tried my wife waking me up, short of throwing some water on our bed to get me up–may try that–I haven’t been successful. 

    I get at least 1500 words a night, but I’d like to get more in the morning. 

    I’m usually up until 12 or later, and I get up for my day job at 7 a.m., but I’d like to get some writing in before work, even if it’s only a few hundred. My late nights impeded that ability, greatly.

    Great post Jeff!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I’d be careful about sacrificing sleep. The flip side of waking up early is going to bed earlier. If you stay up so late that you have a hard time waking up in the morning, maybe cutting down your sleep isn’t wise. Maybe try playing with your sleep schedule?

  • http://organistheidi.blogspot.com/ Heidi Bender

    I implemented the two alarm clock system after reading this post a while back. It was hard at first but now I enjoy getting up early and exercising before leaving for my job.

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Great to hear. The two-alarm system is the reason for 90% of my success.

  • thawk

    It’s 4:33…AM!  And no,  I didn’t wake up this early….I just haven’t gone to bed yet!  These are great tips and there are a lot of great comments as well.  I have never been able to stay a morning person.  
    Starting in 4th grade, I would get up everyday around 5:30am to do a paper route mon-friday.  Then in 7th grade, I quit that job because I became the lead drummer for the Jazz band and our practices were early morning, so I still got up by 6 am.  And then when I got to highschool (10th grade) I was still the drummer for the jazz band and had to be there BY 6am to set up the drums before our practice.  I had a very exact routine that I followed and worked great but I still never switched to being a morning person because on saturdays and sundays, or any day that I didn’t have jazz band, I would sleep in super late…sometimes until 2 or 3 pm!

    I am now 25 and I am still a total night owl.  I can sleep through just about anything in the morning, including my alarm, screaming 1 year old and a nagging (loving:) wife.  

    I think that the big difference between being a person who gets up early yet still hates the morning and the person who gets up early and loves it is really the attitude and what you expect to get out of your day.  For me personally, I was never really excited about Jazz band or any other things that I did.  I just went through the motions without a true purpose each day other than showing up.  This is why when I didn’t have something to be at I would sleep in forever.  
    Now I have deeply ingrained bad habits of sleeping in and staying up late everyday unless there is somewhere or something I need to “be at”.   And even then, I often sleep through classes or other things now because I care more about sleep.

    I am going to change though.  No, it won’t happen in one day, but it will happen this year.  In fact, my goal is to be a true Morning person by my 26th birthday this next July.  

    See you all in the morning!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      I hope that works out! I think you hit on a good point – part of being a morning person is having a reason to get up early. That goes along with the #3 point in the post.

  • http://twitter.com/bethanyrdean Bethany Dean

    Your post came at just the right time! I had to wake up super early today to see my fiancé off on the bus, and I took the dog for a walk to kill two birds with one stone. I got to walk around my village as the sun rose, when everything was still, and I felt awake and got more done before 9am than I usually did before dinnertime! I think this new year I’ll make a resolution to get up early, even as the new semester begins and that means getting up at 6am to fit in an hour’s writing before class, but it’s worth it! You also mentioned exercise as a way to wake up and stay up – definitely something else I’ll try. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/bethanyrdean Bethany Dean

    Your post came at just the right time! I had to wake up super early today to see my fiancé off on the bus, and I took the dog for a walk to kill two birds with one stone. I got to walk around my village as the sun rose, when everything was still, and I felt awake and got more done before 9am than I usually did before dinnertime! I think this new year I’ll make a resolution to get up early, even as the new semester begins and that means getting up at 6am to fit in an hour’s writing before class, but it’s worth it! You also mentioned exercise as a way to wake up and stay up – definitely something else I’ll try. Thanks!

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      Glad to hear it, Bethany. It’s amazing what we can get done in the wee hours of the morning!

  • Narelle

    Love your posts Jeff. Through a difficult year and many deletion of other subscriptions because of lack of emotional energy,yours is one I have continued to read.  keep’m coming…and look forward to getting my own site up and running…

  • mrzhlb

    Or just give in and join the http://www.b-society.org/ ;)

    • http://www.lifeofasteward.com Loren Pinilis

      That’s an interesting concept, but it seems like it would be tough to completely alter the schedule of the rest of the world. It’d be nice, but it’s easier for us to just change ourselves.

  • http://www.davedelaney.me/ Dave Delaney

    Having a kid helps you wake up early too, whether you want to or not. ;) 
    Great post Jeff.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      yep

  • Sonalirathod4

    Thank you for the tips Jeff :)

  • Utkarshkamal

    thanx for the tips, they are really useful

  • Nathank

    Really enjoyed the reading this morning on Day 2 of my own personal early to rise challenge.  I set up a blog just for the occasion, and am honing my writing skills this month. Would appreciate any feedback you can offer http://earlytorisechallenge.com/ 

  • Mimayl

    I actually found it nice to read someone saying he actually prays. Usually people dont admit to it in fear of coming across as old fashioned. Interesting and inspiring!

  • Sway

    I work nightshift as a baker in Australia and i get up at midnight. Good country music and not slowing down has helped me not only get out of bed but also build muscle and stamina. These tips helped alot. Thanks Jeff

  • Paul Bleck

    Great advice. Having had to stop running I was finding the desire to get up at 5am difficult and the snooze button used too many timesThe idea about the second alarm clock is ideal as my wife is not a morning person!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I loved that idea, too.

  • http://www.loganheavensbest.com/ Carpet Cleaner

    I have Always wondered how to wake up earlier and allow my wife to stay sleeping. I know your idea for the really loud alarm out of reach isn’t earth shattering, but thank you so much for sharing that. I will get out of bed a lot earlier just because of that tip of setting two alarms!

  • Ethan Thane

    Great Article. Waking up early brings many benefits, the most important providing extra time to work on goals. I’m not a morning person, so I had to work on it. What I found worked was turning waking up into a challenge. I wrote about my results

    http://keystooptimalliving.com/6-am-challenge-the-benefits-of-waking-up-early/

  • early morning

    Well, it’s kind of funny to read an article about waking up early when the sun rises before I go to sleep.
    Still I like the presented ideas. Specially the hint about “never hit the snooze button” made me re-think some habbits.

  • Ash Garcia

    Thank you so much for writing this blog post. I relate with everything you said.

    “I understood the benefits of waking up early. I made plans to wake up early and write, just like the recent challenge in the 15 Habits series. But that discipline was gone in the morning.

    The groggy person hitting the snooze button wasn’t the same clear-thinking person that had set the alarm the night before.”

  • http://www.selfgrowthjunkie.com/ Sean Purdy

    #3 is a no brainer you really have to be motivated and be happy to greet the day.

    I remember a saying and it goes something like this ” People who wake up to beat the sun , are productive and have a life to live, people who sleep in are unproductive with nothing to do ”

    Great post, you might like my post about waking early and the many benefits.
    http://www.selfgrowthjunkie.com/1/post/2014/02/the-early-bird-selfgrowthjunkie.html

  • Julio

    Thanks for this one Jeff, I’ve been struggling every morning I’m sick of it. I’ll try your tips and see how it goes. Thanks again!

  • Katelin Taylor

    That tip about setting more than one alarm is not a new one but one that I am going to try now thanks to you, Jeff. I desperately want to be a morning person but I’m just like you – if my house was on fire I’d hit the snooze button.Thank you for the motivation!

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