Get Ready for Tomorrow, Today

I enjoy waking up early and getting the day started quickly. My normal goal is to wake up at 4:30 and get something like three hours for myself in the morning before beginning my workday. Feeling most effective in the early morning rather than the late night, I have been taking careful notice of what helps me to regularly wake up and stay up early in the morning.

Certain things will usually cause me to sleep in until the last minute if not prepared the day before. These are such things as not having my backpack packed, clothes laid out, coffee pot prepared, and having no immediate action to take such as a short walk down the street or a few pushups. This last one is key, having a short checklist of things to do immediately when waking up greatly increases the odds that I get out of bed when I had determined to.  Not having these things prepared the day before loses me hours that I could have been productive with and so I like to find ways to more regularly wake up when I mean to.

After now years of carefully watching myself I have found that the number one reason that I hit snooze, and eventually shut off my alarm for a few hours until the last minute, is not having the basic things prepared for the morning, as I mentioned previously. I have the list down to a fairly narrow range of things that I need to get ready in order to increase the likelihood of waking up when I had intended.

Over time however I have noticed that when I get home from work, or stop working if I am working from home, or otherwise move on from my work and project focused period of my day to doing things like time with family, dinner, or an evening with my wife after the kids are in bed, the likelihood decreases of preparing those things previously mentioned. Therefor I have discovered that when I end my "work day" and go to relax for the evening, or not relax as is sometimes the case when you have a family, that is the time I should prepare for the next day. The last work I do before relaxing should be the work of getting ready for tomorrow.

While not everyone will wake up as early as I do, most people could benefit from being able to wake up earlier, and wake up when they intended to without a long hour of snooze buttons. Also not everyone will find the key to waking up early being the same as my list I gave above, but everyone can probably identify some few things that increases the odds. By preparing for tomorrow, today, you can take small steps to increase the regularity of waking up early and create more productive hours for yourself.

Edit: I posted a Reviewing my Own Advice blog post reviewing the suggestions I gave here.

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