If you’re looking to boost personal productivity, the only answer besides bending time and space is to wake up earlier. If the only thing standing between you and writing your book is time, then it’s the only answer that doesn’t involve cutting out other important things, like housework and family.
Trust me, when I first started this blog, creating time between writing articles and writing books was hard. But I wanted to start a blog that helped people along their writing journeys, just as the writing research has helped me along with mine.
Three Key Steps to Waking Up Early
Define Why You’re Waking Up Early
Before you can make a goal to wake up early, you must figure out your why. This is the first step because if you don’t have an emotional reason behind doing something, you’re less likely to accomplish your goals. There’s nothing tying you to the project, so why bother?
BUT, if there’s an emotional reason behind doing what you’re doing, then when times are difficult and writer’s block hits you like a ton of bricks, you’ve got a reason to stay the course. It allows you to step back and say, “Oh, yes, I’m doing this because of X, Y, and Z.”
Analyze Yourself and Your Habits
After you’ve decided the real and raw reason why you want to do something—i.e. write your book, start your blog, etc.—then you can analyze what you do, so you know what you can cut to make time for what’s more important.
When I first started my journey, I analyzed myself throughout the course of 3 months. Consider doing the same for at least seven consecutive days and take notes on your sleeping habits, general feelings and activities throughout the day, and anything else you do.
Make Sustainable Changes
People ask me all the time about how I stick with the changes I’ve made, and the answer is always the same. It isn’t simply about making changes, it’s about making sustainable changes that align with your goals.
When you start small and make subtle changes to your routine, there’s not blaring difference. Instead of waking up 90 minutes earlier than you normally would, try waking up 10 minutes earlier. You’re still waking up earlier, but the change is such a shock to your system.
Our minds and bodies are creatures of habit. That means we have to change these first change embedded habits before we can create new ones.
These three steps are easy to read but harder in practice. Take time to really analyze yourself and understand why you want to travel down your path. It can’t simply be because you think it would be fun. It must be something you irrevocably want.
How to Wake Up Early on Your Own Terms
Go to bed early.
Okay, going to bed early might not be on your own terms, but it is a necessity unless you’re able to consistently thrive on only five hours of sleep. Turn off your phone or turn it to silent hours and go to sleep.
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. If you plan on waking up ten minutes earlier, just go to bed ten minutes earlier. Obviously, change this as time goes on and you start waking up twenty, then thirty, then sixty minutes earlier, but small, sustainable changes are what’s going to help you through the transition and establish new habits.
Skip the coffee unless you really need it.
Starting every morning with a jolt of caffeine is great, but it isn’t always the best idea. Instead, start with water and balance the consumption of these two drinks throughout the day.
Too much caffeine can leave you with an early crash, which is never a good thing if you need to stay up throughout the day. On the other hand, drinking oodles of water will leave you feeling refreshed and properly hydrated throughout the day; and proper hydration is key to functioning.
Create a morning routine for daily self-love.
If you build a habit of indulging in self-love—formerly known as self-care—daily, then the well won’t drain as quick. When we focus on writing our book or a blog post or posting every day on social media, we often forget about ourselves. We’re too focused on everything else.
Creating daily routines that help you wind down and avoid burnout will ensure you’re caring for yourself before all else. This could be something as simple as thirty minutes of reading, a bubble bath with candles and essential oils, or a few uninterrupted hours in the kitchen to make your favorite baked good.
Something easy, small, and inexpensive or free are the best options because you don’t have to worry about a lack of funds.
Start with what YOU want to do, not what others want you to do.
There aren’t enough hours in a day, right? While we can’t make more time, we can arrange our time so that getting up in the morning isn’t half as bad as we thought it would be.
If we started each day with things other people wanted us to do, we’d likely accomplish very little by the end of the day. When we work for clients, we want to give it our all, which sometimes means the unattainable. Or, we might just go from client to client and work on all the projects. Take it from a recovering everyone-else-holic: just don’t do it.
Block out two or three hours at the start of your day to do things you need or want to do, such as writing your book or working on a fun project that progresses your goals.
Gaze at your vision board daily.
Vision boards are a wonder for honing your focus and goals. If you haven’t created one, totally consider it. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just cut up some magazines and newspapers with things you want to do. They can be abstract words and numbers that only have meaning to you, or they can be blatantly obvious—it’s your preference!
No matter what you want to do, waking up early will help you make time to accomplish your goals. Nothing great comes with ease, but waking up early and building new habits that align with your goals are two key components to making time in your schedule to write your book!