I am not a morning person, in-fact I loathe waking up in the morning especially in the Winter! Never the less I have two children in school so I have to get up early even if I don’t want to.
Being a full time illustrator/creative who works from home I am used to working in the moment and staying up to the early hours of the morning to create.
It seems weird but I was secretly proud about that fact. In conversation when the topic arose I would boast ‘I’m so busy’ and that ‘I didn’t have time to sleep’ and ‘I work all hours of the night’. However I came to realise that this wasn’t something to actually be proud of and you know what I was tired! Going to bed late just made me tired and grumpy in the morning and have less patience for my family and I still didn’t get everything I wanted to do done. I knew I needed a change, here are five things I did to train myself to go to bed earlier!
1.Put your phone to bed
I know everything can be learned and trained by building habits so going to bed late was me simply not wanting to get out of my own way with my old habits. The first habit I killed was to stop scrolling on my phone before bed and put my phone away. The only technology I allow is my IPad for 10 minutes before bed while I read a Kindle book which sends me to sleep in no time. Make sure you put your phone in another room to charge at night.
One of the reasons I think I find it so hard to go to bed early is my brain is so active at night. Which is not going to be helped if I am looking at a bright screen for an hour and scrolling mind-numbingly through social media( half of it filled with negativity) so I knew I had to get the phone out of my routine.
Now, this is not the first time I have tried to get my phone away from my nightstand at night! I have tried unsuccessfully because my phone was my alarm clock. So I bit the bullet and purchased an alarm clock.
2.Use an alarm clock
It’s been about a month and I can honestly say I do not miss my phone at all at night times, and my head feels a little clearer for it. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I don’t reach for my phone to check the time and start scrolling, it’s as simple as glancing at my clock and falling back to sleep.
The clock I purchased was from Amazon see here, it has a sunrise clock light system, different alarm sounds and is also fitted with bluetooth so you can pair your phone to listen to music or audio books.
I feel the sunrise clock has really been my saving grace with helping me wake peacefully. The light gradually comes on about 30 minutes before my alarm is set to go off and when it finally rings it plays a gentle sound of running water. Not once have I have been startled out of my sleep and have always woke up pleasantly. With my phone I would have an annoying buzzing sound which I would just snooze and go back to sleep.
3.Turn your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’
Now I had got the phone out of the room and the waking situation sorted. I needed to make sure my sleep wasn’t interrupted at night with annoying group text noises or social media notifications. Putting my phone on silent wasn’t necessarily the answer as I needed my phone to notify me of any calls for emergencies. The’ do not disturb’ function on your phone should have special settings that allow the silencer on your phone to be broken if the caller calls frequently in a short space of time which is likely if it’s a genuine emergency.
I woke up like this
Guys I am telling you, I am converted. I am naturally wanting to go to sleep earlier and waking up happier. It has had some positive effects and prompted me to look at other things in my life. I thought to myself… was I just caught up in the act of being busy and not being productive?
I started watching a-lot of You Tube videos on how people trained them-self to go to bed early and a common thing that kept coming up was calendar blocking.
4.Block your calendar
At first I thought it was crazy and absurd that people were doing this. Plotting out time to do tasks other than work, that is crazy I thought, why on earth would you block out times to have dinner and sleep that is just stupid. Then I remembered why I was even watching the video and thought… well they must be doing something right so I need to have an open mind.
I tried it and it was an eye opener it really allowed me to see what I was really doing with my time and realistically how long tasks took. Blocking out my sleep showed my how little I was getting. So it in reinforced my new bedtime as I would get a little reminder that my day was done. If you let me I will continue working through the whole day so I need to be told when to stop.
I now set out times to work in the day and times for lunch, dinner and a few other tasks. Now it’s still a work in progress but with something like this, you will always be constantly modifying. I have gotten much better at taking breaks from work and knowing when to stop. After all, I work from home which is difficult to shut off as normal employed people have set start and home times so I need to do much of the same. You can do Calendar Blocking on paper but I have been using Google calendar as it is easier to make changes and sync across all my devices.
As I said earlier much of why I can’t go to bed early is my brain is constantly active because I am always thinking of new ideas or things I need to finish. So writing your ideas and ToDo’s out daily is a must. If you follow me on Instagram I am always searching for the best ways to create the best ‘ToDo’ lists and streamline my thoughts. Don’t think I have ever been successful with it as I wrote them down in books and never looked at it again.
Recently I have been using Trello which is a cloud-based app, allows me to store my list across all my devices and list my ToDo’s in list form and from left to right using a simple drag and drop system. So far has really helped me clear my mind and let me brain dump things down so I can come and revisit the idea later.
So that is it, the five things below helped me go to bed earlier and wake up in a better mood.
Put your phone to bed and charge it in another room at night
Use an alarm clock preferably one that wakes you up gradually with peaceful sounds
Turn your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’
Block your calendar
Brain dump your ideas each day
Since making these new habits it has ushered the return of other habits and even my house is more organised and tidy because I have simply become more productive and have more energy in the day for things. Why not try some of these things and let me know how you get on.
*This post contains an affiliate link