1 Pick a bedtime.
9:30 PM for me - Grandpa was a wise man. Why so early?! Science! Look up your circadian rhythm and your hormone release times. Before 10 pm is the ideal time to get to bed. Bonus: Want To Live Longer? Sleep More!
2 Give yourself time to reflect and plan your tomorrow.
To amend to reflection time; it's also important to unplug. Ideally; stop using anything with a screen a couple of hours before bed. It affects your melatonin production - the most important sleep hormone. Bonus: if you're up later than expected, at the very least, wear glasses that block the blue light spectrum from your screen. No, apps like Flux alone are not going to cut it. Just search Amazon for "Blue Blocker Glasses". There are more stylish versions but IMHO you need a pair that is going cover the sides of your eyes too. Get some obscenely large blue blockers that cover your eyes and make you look like a senior citizen who just had LASIK. (No shade on old+ people).
3 Wake up at 5 am - no matter what!
Wake up at 5am; are you f*ing mad?! Yes dear reader, but in all the right ways.
Protip: ditch the cell phone alarm; get a stand-alone alarm clock and put it across the room. Having to leap out of bed and run across the room to shut off the blaring default alarm sound will get you up.
4 Blast some beats or listen to a podcast upon waking.
Protip: listen to an inspirational video or podcast to help drown the bag of cats that is your early morning mind. (Jokes folks; just jokes).
5 Get your pump/sweat on!
Protip: Keep it simple; work out 7 days a week, to keep your habit. I do pushups, squats, rows & curls. For me, it's not about being fit. I force productivity first thing in the morning.
6 Revisit your day's agenda.
You outlined what to do last night, now it's time to break those larger tasks into smaller chunks of time. Bonus: If stuck on a task is the middle of the day, break it into smaller subtasks to keep your momentum up.
7 Cut the crap!
On a daily basis ask yourself "How can I simplify my habits?". Cut time-wasting activities, people & thinking. Worrying is wasting time on something that hasn't happened and may not happen. Do you need to spend time texting your bff back about gossip? Nah. Not if you want to be productive.
8 Filter your incoming data.
What is data? Simple; anything you take in with your five senses. Rolling your eyes? Good. Break down the statement. You may watch TV, listen to podcasts, browse social media, listen to your friends complain and play games. Ask yourself how you can do any of those less. Protip: Allot a set amount of time for each non-essential task. Cutting out things that bring you joy is a quick way to get your mind kicking and screaming like a three-year-old kid throwing a tantrum. You need fun distractions throughout the day to stay productive. But! Set a timer. Limit your exposure to time-wasting activities.
9 Food effects mood!
I'll say it again because it's important: Food. Effects. Mood. Everybody is different. Test which foods make you sleepy, and which ones give you energy. Some people can eat rice while others will start yawning and feeling lethargic after a bowl. Find what works for you. As a rule of thumb; avoid carbs in the morning. Yes - that includes fruit and cereal. Instead, opt for a high-fat first meal. Your body is primed to digest fats best in the morning.
10 Focus on your why.
When your mind starts to wander it may ask - "why are we working towards this goal? Maybe sleep this early in the morning is a good idea." You can keep your wandering mind in check by reminding it why you are rising early. My why: To save people time and stress; while improving their quality of life.
Find this post helpful this morning? Cheers!
Give me a shout out on Twitter and let me know what your why is. @benjaminspak
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