Want to wake up earlier to get more done?
After publishing the post Why I Wake Up At 5 a.m. (And How Waking Up Earlier Can Help You Achieve Your Goals Too) many of you tweeted, left comments, and emailed me saying that you wanted to learn how to wake up earlier to reach your goals. This post is by far my most popular and clearly many of you want to become early birds!
Waking up early to work on your passion project is awesome for so many reasons, but the main reason I love it is because my mind is clear and I’m at my most creative first thing in the morning.
But now that you’re up and awake at the crack of dawn, how can you set yourself up to be most productive?
Here are five ways to maximize your productivity in the morning:
1. Plan ahead. I gave a similar tip in last week’s e-newsletter and it’s worth repeating here. Consider planning your outfit and packing your lunch the night before you plan to wake up early to get things done. The less trivial decisions you have to make in the morning, the more time you’ll have to focus on the things that really matter. Think about the things you do each morning and figure out which can be done ahead of time; the three minutes it takes to pack your lunch may not seem like a lot, but when you add up the time it takes to do all those little tasks, you’ll gain back a significant amount of productivity time.
2. Develop specific goals. There’s nothing worse than blearily staring at a computer screen trying to figure out what task to tackle first. Since you’ve rolled out of bed before the sun, you’ll want to have a plan in place to make sure you’re ready to get to work right away. Before going to bed at night, I like to think about my goals for the next morning. For example, some mornings I plan to write a blog post, complete client work or go for a run. Even if the task is as small as responding to emails, I like to make that my goal for the morning, “Today, I will clear out my inbox.” I give myself permission to complete just that one goal and call the morning a success.
3. Focus on one task at a time. Throughout the work day, you likely juggle many tasks at once; between emails, social media notifications and multi-tasking on a variety of projects, it’s easy to lose focus. The beauty of waking up long before the rest of the world is the peace and quiet that comes with early mornings. I find that I’m able to laser-focus in on one task without the constant need to check email or social media. In the mornings, YOU make the rules and by choosing to focus on one task at a time, you set yourself up to do better work and get more done in the long run.
4. Avoid distractions. If you tend to lose focus easily, remove distractions. Get sucked into the morning news? Turn the TV off during your morning work time. Tempted to check social media or your email? Don’t even open those sites on your computer until you’re finished whatever task you set out to complete. If possible, set up your morning work space in a distraction-free area. I prefer to write at my kitchen table, which is luckily quiet in the morning since I’m generally the only person awake in the house, but if you can, hole up in a space that makes you feel creative and avoids distractions.
5. Set deadlines. Select specific time-sensitive deadlines to get things done each morning you choose to wake up early to work. For example, I begin writing most blog posts around 6 a.m. and give myself a deadline of 7:30 a.m. to complete the post and publish it. Knowing that I have a limited amount of time encourages me to write without getting distracted and also forces me not to spend too much time on any one task.
Do you have other tips for maximizing your productivity in the morning? Share them in the comments below!
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