Post sponsored by Philips; opinions are my own.
As I mentioned in my last post about the Philips Wake-up Light, I am not a morning person. I’ve tried. Really. But I stay up too late and I’d sleep in every morning if I had the chance. But there aren’t enough hours in the day for kids, hobbies, work, and sleep, but life’s far too short to spend it all in a drowsy haze. So here are 8 tips for getting up early every morning, and two more in the video above.
1. Go to bed when you’re tired.
You’ve probably heard that you’re supposed to go to bed at the same time every night, right? Yeah, I tried that, and ended up staring at the ceiling for a few hours. Instead, I go to bed when I’m tired.
Usually this means that I do go to bed at roughly the same time every night. Eventually you get into a rhythm and it works out. One caveat, though, is that we geeks tend to get rather caught up in our own hobbies. Don’t stay up later than you should just because you want to finish one more mission in Assassin’s Creed 4 or because you have a blog article due the next day (ahem).
2. Program your coffee maker.
Several folks told me to cut back on my caffeine after I mentioned to them that I was trying to get up earlier.
After I stopped laughing, I went out and bought some really good whole bean coffee (I absolutely adore one of our local roasters, Counter Culture Coffee). Now, every night I load up our automatic coffee maker and in the morning when I hear it go off like a jet engine, I get warm fuzzies inside. Sure, I love pour-over and I’m gaga over my AeroPress, but for simplicity’s sake, and to ensure that you don’t accidentally drink last night’s grounds, the full automation of something like the Cuisinart DGB-550BK is clutch.
3. Set your alarm. Across the room.
I have the innate ability (much to my wife’s frustration) of being able to slap an alarm clock’s snooze button without actually rising fully out of unconsciousness. I believe my record during one morning marathon was two hours of consecutive snoozage.
The thing is, snoozing sucks. It’s low-quality sleep that doesn’t leave you feeling restful in any way. My groggy brain is not rational enough in the a.m. to understand this. So there is no alarm on my bedside table.
Now that we’re using the Philips Wake-up Light, it’s been a little better. It’s across the room, so every morning at 6:15 sharp, it starts to slowly light up the room. By 6:45, the entire room is illuminated, and I’ve been gently, slowly drawn out of my slumber. Birds are chirping from the alarm’s speakers. I’m ready to go. So, yes, even though the Philips Wake-up Light has a snooze feature (a pretty cool one, too… you just tap the front of the light and the sounds turn off), I never use it.
4. Have a good reason for being up early.
If you’re the type of person who can spring out of bed at dawn, just because it’s a beautiful day, gosh darn it, and you’re out to change the world, etc., then congratulations. You’re probably one of those weirdos that doesn’t drink coffee in the morning either.
We mere mortals need collateral. Sometimes it’s not enough to know that you’ve got more time in the day. Sometimes you need to know how to spend it.
Remember back at number 1 when I told you to put down the Xbox controller and get some sleep? Well… pick it back up again! If you want to finish that quest, you’ve got the time to do it now. Paint some miniatures! Go for a walk! Make and eat pancakes with your kids! Plan something fun and you’ll probably get out of bed easier.
5. Have a well-stocked “library.”
I’m going to be perfectly frank with you. I get a lot of reading done in the bathroom. I think of it as my own Fortress of Solitude, minus the subzero temperature and creepy statues of my parents.
It’s also the first place I go after I wake up, to take care of various biological necessities and to freshen up for the day ahead. If there’s an interesting book sitting beside the, uh, throne, then I’m a lot more likely to look forward to the morning rituals.
6. Do something active.
I know that for a lot of geekdads, numbers 6 and 4 don’t really jive. “Exercise is not fun,” says you. “I’d rather be playing videogames.”
What about Xbox Fitness? Zombies, Run? Fitocracy? AC3 they’re not, but the gamification of fitness can really get certain people in on the action. Combined with some early morning hydrating (see the video for how not to do this), it’s the perfect thing to get you ready and rarin’ for the day.
And, hey, you could also always start off with some Star Wars yoga, too. Boost your core strength and your strength in The Force, all at once.
7. Spend some time thinking.
It might be a little corny, but taking a moment out of your day to ponder life, the universe and everything can be immensely relaxing. Reflecting on the previous day’s events is a great way to learn a lesson or two and apply it to the day to come.
8. Write something down.
When I finished reading Michael Palin’s superb Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years and I’m impressed by his ability to capture the important details of his personal and professional life. I’m trying to spend at least a few minutes of my morning scribbling a few thoughts on the events of my own life, and I find that, in combination with number 9, this helps me to hop in the car, refreshed and ready to take on the workday.
So those are my little morning rituals. After trying out the Philips Wake-up Light, I have to admit that the act of actually getting up out of bed has been a lot easier and a lot less jarring. If you hate the sound of your alarm, maybe you should add it to your Christmas wishlist or buy it for your spouse. Grab it on Amazon today for $169.
What about you? What helps you get out of bed in the morning?