Having a positive and productive morning is no mean feat when you just know your body isn't wired to function at unholy hours. But there are are a few things morning people do differently which we could all learn from — and which don't actually take that much effort to do, as long as you exercise a little forward thinking. It's worth noting all of these things do include training yourself to change your usual habits, whether it's sleeping in late or exercising at the end of the day; that's doable with the right tools though. The bottom line is, if you want to become a morning person when you aren't one naturally, you're going to have to commit to some mental and physical changes.
As Laura Vanderkam writes in TIME, the first step to becoming a morning person is to create a 25th hour in the day. Not literally, because that's impossible, of course; the idea is that you complete the tasks you don't like doing first. Writes Vanderkam, "Once I realized the potential of mornings, I started to notice morning routines in many successful people’s schedules. It’s a great time for anything that’s important that life has a way of crowding out. Like exercise. As an athlete once told me, there will always be a reason to skip a 4 p.m. workout — and it’s going to be a good reason, too. There are fewer reasons to cancel a 5:30 a.m. workout."
Some of the world's most productive humans are known as morning people, so how do you join the clan if you consider yourself a night owl? Getting a good night's sleep is paramount, but research shows that you'll need to shift your daily sleep cycle by going to bed earlier or going outside into the daylight early in the morning. The daylight will help resets your circadian clock and shift your body toward morningness.
Here are eight other things morning people do differently — and which might be worth cultivating as habits if you want to become a morning person, too:
1. They Get Up Extra Early
It all starts with the early rising. Research has shown that not only are early morning people more optimistic and conscientious, but also that they're known to display more agreeable and determined characteristics, too. Rising early is also a great time to get complete tasks in peace, before the pressures of the day (i.e. children getting up, or other people entering the office) distract you. All the more reason to set that alarm clock for 5 a.m. tomorrow, then.
2. They Have Breakfast (But Also Watch Their Caffeine Intake)
If you're pushed for time first thing (who isn't?), it might seem like a good idea to skip breakfast and prioritize more urgent tasks. But plenty of early risers swear by a hearty start to their day to help improve mood and concentration — and there are plenty of options out there, no matter what your schedule. And FYI: Plenty of morning people ditch the coffee first thing. Research shows that your body produces cortisol (a stress-related hormone) in the mornings — but consumption of caffeine can actually increase the production of this hormone when consumed at peak times (8 to 9 a.m., 12 to 1 p.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in most people). Instead, boost your energy with healthy, nutritious breakfast options such as oatmeal and eggs.
3. They Multitask Well
According to research out of Stanford University, multitasking actually makes you less efficient when you're working; however, there are several ways to make it work for you in the mornings. The New York Times noted that Microsoft founder Bill Gates, runs on the treadmill whilst absorbing information through the TV. Listening to podcasts or language classes while exercising in the morning when you're most alert is a great way to maximize your mental and physical capabilities.
4. They Turn Off Their Tech Well Before Bed
Exposure to blue light before bedtime is known to upset the body's natural rhythm, so make like Jeff Sanders, a productivity coach and author of The 5 A.M. Miracle: Dominate Your Day Before Breakfast, who believes sticking to a nightly schedule with your phone is the best way to set yourself up for success in the mornings. He switches off all tech at 8 pm.
5. They Meditate
Why not try taking time out each morning to focus on your goals for the day? Mediation can help reduce stress and create mental clarity — and it's totally free. Morning person Oprah gets up at 6 a.m. and also meditates twice a day for 20 minutes at a time. “I walked away feeling fuller than when I’d come in. Full of hope, a sense of contentment, and deep joy. Knowing for sure that even in the daily craziness that bombards us from every direction, there is — still — the constancy of stillness. Only from that space can you create your best work and your best life," she said according to the Huffington Post.
6. They Check Their Email Before Going To Work
It can be tempting to forgo checking your emails until you absolutely have to when your workload is high, but you should really do the opposite if you want to keep your stress levels in check. "[Morning people] check their emails before heading into the office, so they’re not bombarded with nonsense and can prioritize their tasks," said founder & nutritionist NAO Nutrition Nikki Ostrower, in a previous interview with Bustle.
7. They Get Active
Although it may take a bit of getting used to at first, exercising in the morning can make you feel more energized and improve mental ability for the whole day. That, and Barack Obama once shared with WebMD that “the rest of my time will be more productive if you give me my workout time.” If it's good enough for Obama... well, you know how the saying goes.
8. They Do Their Hardest Tasks First
Jennifer Cohen, a productivity trainer to entrepreneurs, wrote in Forbes that the most successful morning people aren't afraid to complete their most difficult tasks first thing. She said, "Re-prioritize your to-do list, placing the most dreaded task at the top of your list. Instead of letting it loom over you all day save yourself the agony and stress and get it done first thing. You will feel a sense of relief and be more ready and willing to tackle any trivial task that follows. Besides, the morning is the time when you typically have the most energy and feel the most rested."
Training yourself to be a morning person is going to some work; developing new habits is an accomplishable goal, though. Here are a few tips to get you started. Good luck!