When I am at my most productive, I follow the life S.A.V.E.R.S mnemonic from Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning book. Then I write morning pages to get blog ideas. And finally, catch up with my developers for any issues or test the latest build of my app. All before leaving for my day job at 0730.
What this looks like for me is:
S. Silence. I use Headspace app for 10 minutes of meditation first thing after I get up to start the day calmly.
A. Affirmations. These were really difficult to start with but have built up over time and now also include lots of quotes - mainly ones to stop procrastination
V. Visualisation. I use a visualisation board. Which contains a visual split of Tim Ferriss’ dreamline: things I want to have, things I want to do, and who I want to be.
E. Exercise. I don’t use weights as I want to avoid injury and want to be in proportion. So I do pull-ups, chin-ups, pushups and air squats. I also do 10 mins of Yoga Studio app on the Apple TV or iPhone to stretch out and increase flexibility. This also reinforces the mediation as there is lots of deliberate breathing.
R. Reading. I used to hate reading at school and I still hate reading fiction. But reading non-fiction in the morning really starts to get my creative juices flowing and ready for action.
S. Scribing. I use the 5-minute journal to practice gratitude and also just to get in the habit of writing things done and out of my head. When I started my blog I also then started practising morning pages…
This is basically just starting writing. It does not matter if you do not know what to write, you just write for three pages every morning. I thought this would be hard, but I find it incredibly therapeutic. Most of the time when I cannot think of a blog post, if I start this one just materialises out of my subconscious. If not, then it gets everything off my chest ready for the day ahead.
As I referenced, I also write a daily blog to make me get in the habit of shipping things that are not perfect. This is a good habit to cultivate, especially for a person like me who is more prone to procrastinating over perfection.
A couple of tips for those that feel like you can’t get up early, but want to start. Firstly, you can do it! I used to be a complete night owl and would not get going until after 5 pm. And I would be the last one in the bar at night. Realise that there is no natural morning or evening person, you are just a reflection of your habits. Also, realise that there is no race, you can start slowly and improve.
A great tip is to first, just get in the habit of sitting up when your alarm goes off. If you cannot even get up without snoozing for an hour, then no point setting your alarm for any earlier. Do this for a week then, once you can literally get up on the alarm start to set your alarm 10mins earlier each day until you manage to get to your desired wake up time. I like to still get 8hours sleep a night so this means going to bed earlier. This might be a deal breaker for some, but how much do you really want to be more productive? 8pm-11pm I know that I am not going to be doing any work anyway, I will be watching Netflix. So better to cut that out, go to bed and do something productive in the morning. It is a lot harder to waste your time-consuming content after you have just woken yourself up to do it.
Once you can get up on the alarm and at the time you want, you may still feel a little groggy. Try reading on an iPad or tablet - the light will ease you awake. For more abrupt wake-up, try brushing your teeth straight away, splash cold water on your face or just go straight to a cold shower.