Help me develope a morning routine
February 21, 2007 9:00 AM   Subscribe

What morning routine has worked for you?

I'm currently working at a church before starting med school in the summer, and pretty much make my own hours. This has caused me to slowly shift the 9-5, to 10-6, and I fear I may be slipping back even farther. So I ask, masters of the green, what works for you? What should I do with my mornings?

I would like to be a morning person, I have been in the past. I also used to be in pretty good shape, perhaps I should go down that road. Should I go for a run? Write a novel? Ride my bike? Hit the gym? Read the paper? Learn a language? Say 'Screw it all' and sleep in? There are many books and websites out there, but I'd rather hear the brutally honest voice of MetaFi.

I'll go with whatever the consensus is, if there happens to be one. And yes, I saw this question but I'm not ready to admit my internet addiction yet.

Thanks in advance!
posted by sicem07 to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Hitting the gym does it for me. The fact that I'm paying for it gives me some extra get up and go to get there and use it, also, and I don't have time to go to the gym after work.

Really, that's the motivating factor for me, losing money. I hired a personal trainer, she's expensive, and lord knows I'm not going to sleep through an expensive training session that I'll just have to pay for. That gets me in the habit of getting up in the morning.

Also? Make sure you're getting to bed on time. Maybe it seems obvious, but that's really what you have to do. You can't just shrink your sleeping time to become a morning person, it simply does not work.
posted by pazazygeek at 9:13 AM on February 21, 2007

Are you asking how to get up earlier? Make a commitment with someone, ie, early meeting or something like that. Thats a good way...
posted by tomw at 9:20 AM on February 21, 2007

I used to have a similarly-flexible schedule and it was so hard not to drift into the 10-6 or even 11-7. What kept me motivated to get to work by 9 was the reminder that the earlier I got into work, the earlier I could leave. It's probably ingrained in me from other jobs, but I always get ansty around 4:30 and if I have to stay until 7 it is torture, even if I didn't get in until 11.

I take yoga two mornings a week now and it is amazingly energizing and wakeful. Going to the gym in the morning is difficult at first, but it really makes a difference for the rest of your day. The best part is that once work is over, you can just go home and not have to argue with yourself about whether you should go to the gym or not. Exercise will also be helpful because you will be tired by 10pm and you will sleep a lot better than if you stay up late watching TV.

I really am a morning person though I hate to admit it. (I sleep poorly so usually I am exhausted when I wake up, regardless of what time I went to bed and how long I've slept). I get my best work done in the morning and in the summertime, when the sun is up earlier than the wintertime, I am usually up around 6 - and I love having an extra hour to read the paper or take a walk. There is something refreshing about the sunlight when it's warm outside.

Also: Don't hit snooze on your alarm. Just get up. Snooze just makes it worse.
posted by sutel at 9:28 AM on February 21, 2007

Can you make sure that your room fills with sunlightin the mornings? We moved to a place with bright sun, and I realized that if I left the blinds wide open I was able to get up much earlier, much more easily.

Also it helps that I have a cat that will basically start a candle-lit vigil at my elbow until I get up and feed it.

Also, not allowing yourself to sleep in later on weekends "just because it's the weekend" is a really big help. You should get up at about the same time every day, give or take a half hour. The stability will make you feel much more rested all the time.
posted by hermitosis at 9:31 AM on February 21, 2007

I get up at 445, 5 most mornings (tho some mornings I'm in by 5), pretty much whether I have work or not. If I have work, mostly I'm out the door by 530. If not, I have a leisurely breakfast while checking out the new stuff on my regular websites, then do all the usual household chores (the quieter ones first, obviously). What I find is that I'm generally done with everything by 8am, at which point I'm fully awake, and I've been moving around for hours so I'm motivated. On the few days off I have I definitely get much more done as a result.

(...and a few hours less sleep. YMMV)
posted by nevercalm at 9:35 AM on February 21, 2007

Also it helps that I have a cat that will basically start a candle-lit vigil at my elbow until I get up and feed it.

Yes. My cat is the best alarm clock I could ask for. Once you're up. go to the gym.

When our routine works, my alarm wakes her up and from then on she nags me. When I forget to leave her some dry food overnight, 5am is breakfast time. I don't forget very often any more.
posted by corvine at 9:40 AM on February 21, 2007

The biggest thing that helps me get motivated in the morning is to not watch TV or get on the Internet. Instead, I like to enjoy a quiet breakfast and read a few pages from whatever book I'm currently on.
posted by reenum at 10:05 AM on February 21, 2007

You know what? Reenum's got a great point. The mornings I eat breakfast at an actual table designed for the purpose with no laptop and either a book, newspaper or magazine are much better, slower and more relaxing mornings. This internet thing's a killer.
posted by nevercalm at 10:11 AM on February 21, 2007

The biggest thing that helps me get motivated in the morning is to not watch TV or get on the Internet.
That goes for me, too. I've found that the difference between getting to work at 9 and getting to work at 10 is whether I pack my laptop in my bag the night before, so I won't look at it when I get up.

I refuse to use an alarm, incidentally, because alarms are evil. I try to force myself to go to bed by 11 every night, and if I do that, I wake up naturally at 7:30 or so. I think it's easier to get up on time if you're rested. So another tip, I guess, would be to get plenty of sleep.
posted by craichead at 10:13 AM on February 21, 2007

Just go out in the morning for a walk. The light in the morning is just beautiful. Soon, this will be your favorite moment of the day.
posted by racingjs at 10:14 AM on February 21, 2007

Are you single?

My girlfriend makes quite a racket in the morning. she's a great help, as the noise prevents me from falling back asleep. So, I get up and get into the shower.

And don't sit down to watch TV or get online.
posted by drstein at 10:19 AM on February 21, 2007

Definitely planning things at specific times. Make meetings for 9 or 930, or have after-work plans with friends at 5 or 6 or whatever. If you don't have work meetings or can't plan them early, do you have a friend who could join you in your morning activities? Gym, yoga, even morning coffee.
posted by radioamy at 10:32 AM on February 21, 2007

Exactly what radioamy said. I'm a snooze alarm addict and if I don't have an early meeting scheduled, I usually find myself rolling into work about 5 minutes to 10am every day. And it really sucks when everyone else is leaving at 4pm because they got in at 8am and I'm stuck there for another 2 hours...

If I HAVE to get up, I can do it. If I don't HAVE to get up, then I don't. For 23 hours a day, I want to be a morning person. Between 7 and 8am, I'm happy being a night owl. Which puts a rather large spanner in the works...

If you can find some way to force yourself out of bed though, you're 90% of the way there!
posted by finding.perdita at 1:13 PM on February 21, 2007

I got a dog. There's nothing like a cold nose to the face at 7am and running back and forth to the outside door and back to get me out of bed.
posted by SpecialK at 1:24 PM on February 21, 2007

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