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How To Up Your Productivity Levels In The Morning

Night owls, listen up…

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Rewind to this time last year and I had my morning routine down. I’d wake up at 5.30am and be ready to go at my desk by 7am. Mark used to have to wake up at the crack of dawn to commute to London for work, so I always used him as my alarm, seeing as he had about as much grace as a bull in a china shop when getting ready. However, these days he leaves the house much later which means that I’ve been getting a little too indulgent with my mornings. Now I’m not talking lazing about in bed till 11am here – that’s strictly reserved for Sundays – but I do mean setting an alarm at 6.30 and then getting trigger happy with the snooze button till 7.30, which although my dark circles are thankful for, my workload is not. I’m a person who is most productive in the AM and feel like I’m fighting to stay away by 3pm, so it’s advantageous for me to throw myself into my to-do list full-speed once I’m awake. So I’ve been trying to switch things up and develop a routine that allows me get my full eight hours a night and gets me ticking off tasks before the standard working day starts. Here’s how to squeeze a bit more productivity out of your mornings…

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Go to bed earlier. It’s a simple one, but nodding off an hour earlier should, in theory, make it a little easier when your alarm rings in your ear an hour earlier the next morning. I like to be in bed for about 10pm and read/scroll through my phone till 10.30pm, before turning the lights off. If I stay up past 11pm I am completely cream-crackered the next day and an absolute horror to be around. If you find it difficult to go to bed much before midnight, try going to bed 5 minutes earlier each night until you find the time that works for your routine. Or go ham with the night-time rituals; draw yourself a bath, invest in a pillow spray, buy nice bedding and fluffy pyjamas. TREAT YO’ SELF.

Fool your brain. I never used to be one for snoozing. In fact it used to drive me mildly insane when Mark would snooze his alarm at least FIVE TIMES each morning. FIVE TIMES! I began each day with a blood pressure reading that would possibly be off the chart. However, recently I’ve been brought over to the dark side and have begun to join in with the snoozing game – partly to give Mark a taste of his own medicine and partly because I LOVE SLEEP. The thing with snooze-d sleep is that is not good quality, so I’ve been attempting to break the cycle by setting my alarm 15 minutes later and forcing myself to get up and at ’em without the need to press pause. That way I still get my extra sleep and it’s actually proper good slumber.

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Do what you need to do to wake up. Whenever I read these guides on how to curate the perfect morning routine, it’s often suggested that you enter into a moment of morning mediation when you rise. I’ve tried it in the past and although I can say that it’s nice to have a moment of peace before you start the day, I often pull out the ‘I just don’t have time’ excuse, or fall back asleep whilst I do it. So I preach to do whatever it is that you need to need to wake up; whether it be flicking through a magazine for a couple of pages or scrolling through your social media. Sure, it’s not the most ‘mindful’ way of waking up, but you’re waking up nonetheless and surely getting up earlier with a little Instagram stalking, is better than getting up an hour later, right? 

Take time for you. This is something that I’ve adopted from reading ‘The Working Woman’s Handbook’ (see Monday’s blog post on my learnings from it here). Instead of multitasking by inhaling my breakfast as I answer tweets with my spare hand, I’ve been putting 20 minutes on a timer and either have been taking that time to read in bed once I’m fully awake, or have been putting on a podcast as I potter around the flat and get things ready to go. Sure it cuts into my getting ready time, but it just forces me to be more efficient and cut out the faff. It’s actually really nice to take that time for yourself, doing something that you enjoy that isn’t directly work-related, before diving into your inbox. That can wait 20 minutes…

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Write a list. Seriously, how are we ever supposed to get anything done if we haven’t got a list to work from. I bow down to people who manage to mentally tick things off in the their heads because their brains are obviously less drain-like than mine. What other facts and figures are you keeping up there, eh? The only thing that I can memorise are early 2000’s RnB lyrics, everything else just falls out the bottom of the sieve. If I’ve got the time I’ll do a quickly session of weekly prep on a Sunday evening and schedule in my workouts and other engagements for the week ahead and work out what writing, filming and editing I can fit in on what days, so as to gauge a rough plan. But if I haven’t had the chance or my plans have changed, then I always take 10 minutes at the start of each day to pencil out a to-do list so I have a tick-list to work towards. Because let me tell you, there isn’t much else out there as satisfying as putting a tick next to an actioned item. My inner Monica just FREAKS OUT every time.

Photos by Lauren Shipley

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Comments

  • Zara

    I have fallen into a bad snooze habit recently and it’s been making me feel more tired all day! Tomorrow I’m gonna try and set it fifteen minutes later and see if I can break it! x
    http://www.misszarabelle.com

  • Hey Anna, may I suggest you check out the app SleepTown to get you into a good bedtime/wakeup rhythm? I am in no way affiliated, just to be clear haha. Basically it makes going to bed/waking up on time into a bit of a game and you get points for everyday that you adhere, you get to build a little town – it’s weirdly addictive and has definitely helped shift my body clock!

    Tess Alexandra

  • mybeautrip .com

    I need to go to bed early if I want yo be productive in the morning. I need to sleep!

    xx

    http://www.mybeautrip.com

  • Em

    I am such a morning person too and find that by the afternoon I am useless. These tips are so helpful, especially setting that 20 minute timer to just do you. That alone time somehow makes the day feel less daunting.
    xo,
    Em
    http://www.organicallyemily.com

  • theblackblush blog

    Love these tips! I’m not a morning person at all but I’m trying to!
    xx

    The Black Blush

  • I’m the typical night owl. In the mornings it’s so hard for me to start doing something productive but in the evenings I’m in my full speed. Especially when it comes to creative work like writing. In the mornings I’m absolutely useless.

  • Ray

    Trying to be a morning person is quite hard for me since I’m more productive at night.

    http://www.underaytedray.co.uk

  • I’m exactly the same as you – by 3pm I’m so useless at doing any work and I wish I could work my schedule around that! It’s one of the reasons I’d love to be self employed one day as I don’t think my office would be up for giving me such flexible working hours… Sniff!

    These are such great tips – especially the “fooling your brain” one. I find I feel so much fresher after waking up if I don’t snooze at all, as difficult as it can sometimes be… x

  • I a totally a morning person, and while 3 pm is not my dead line, I struggle with being productive as soon as it gets dark outside. With the kids that is much more of a problem, as they keep me occupied until 8 pm and afterwards I am not really productive.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  • I’ve always been a morning person too, and I find that that’s when I get the majority of my work done. Over the years I’ve perfected my nighttime routine and that ultimately allows me to get a good night’s rest and wake up fully charged in the morning. I shower and wash up, climb into bed by 7:30 PM, read for an hour or two, then it’s lights out!

  • Ivy Decker

    Yes to all of the above, Anna (though I’m definitely more productive on my own shiz in the evenings after work)! I’d add to the list category investing in a good planner/date book. I like to put big events in my phone calendar so that I know I always have it on hand, but things don’t feel real until I pen/pencil them into my paper planner. I feel like I can lay my days out in front of me and plan my time better when I’m not looking at a screen, and taking a look at what’s ahead helps me get going in the mornings.

  • These are such great tips! Thanks for sharing, Anna 🙂

    xo, Elisabeth
    http://elisabethhayes.com

  • I like the idea of putting an alarm on for 20 mins to do whatever you want! Sounds like a grand old time to me:)

    https://thedianaedition.com

  • very useful post! I’m more an evening person actually ahaha
    Miki x

    https://littletasteofbeauty.blogspot.it/

  • I do all my best work in the evening, but it’s the easiest time of night to be distracted, with plans and food! So this is very helpful since at the moment I am living a very unstructured life!

    https://sop4ie.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Ulla Rozīte

    Always loving you posts. I am such a morning person myself or at least I have chenged my habits since being a student. Now I love to wake up early enough to give myself an hour to just enjoy breakfast and catch up with YouTube and only then get out of my pyjamas and big hoodie. At the point I get to work I am super ready for the day and can start my work right away.

    ullarozite.blogspot.com

  • My husband and I started charging our phones in the hallway (key is outside the bedroom or across the bedroom – anywhere but next to the bed) a couple years ago and it has done WONDERS for positioning our room as a place of rest and not devices and, by design, a “snooze”-free zone.

  • I am a morning person too, that’s when I get most of the work done and so this post is great to me, I agree with all of these things! It can be hard to wake up without snoozing, but once you get into the habit of getting up as soon as your alarm goes off, it takes effort but give yourself a minute or two once you’re up and you’ll be ready to go!

    Julia x
    Last Post: Travel – England’s Smallest City | http://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/travel-englands-smallest-city.html

  • HarrisonBeach

    Definitely a morning person! Go to bed early, wake up early! Boom!
    http://www.byharrison.com

  • Alex L

    Going to bed earlier makes such a difference !
    https://bookslipsticksandtravels.wordpress.com

  • Erin Russell

    I find a coffee helps LOADS! lol, I suck at mornings, I need to be better

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  • I find it very hard to get up early sometimes, often music helps me.

  • Jessica Ceron

    I go out of my way to watch and read morning routines for ideas and inspiration, and I set my alarm early so I can get up with extra time to have a nice breakfast and exercise, but somehow I always end up sleeping until the last possible minute. Sometimes later. lmao.

  • Yes to this! I need to turn my night owl-ness back into early bird. It changed due the past few years and I need to get back to being an early bird, especially since it gets darker earlier.

  • Melissa

    Great tips. I am the worst when it comes to snoozing my alarm in the mornings. It’s silly really as I could actually do with that extra bit of time in the morning especially as I’m always rushing! I could also do with going to bed earlier, that may help.

  • Love your little guide. I used to be a serious snoozer too, until I started writing a Focus Journal in the morning. As soon as I’m awake I spend five minutes sat in bed doing a little writing and then I’m practically up! (I wrote about it here: https://www.curiouslyconscious.com/2017/11/benefits-of-a-focus-journal.html/ )

    Besma | Curiously Conscious

  • Great ideas! I’ve been loving making sure I’m in bed way before 10pm – makes my early wake up much easier! (also a HUGE fan of setting my alarm to go off like an hour before I need it to, then plenty of time for lazing and social media scrolling~)

    Life of EllieGrace | A lifestyle & beauty blog for the everyday