8 Morning Habits Of Highly Effective Early Birds

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Morning… effective…

If you rarely put those two words in the same sentence, it might be time to reevaluate your morning routine.

It doesn’t just happen by chance.

Highly effective early birds have a well-honed routine that ensures they’re set up for a successful day ahead.

If you want to know their secret, read on to discover these 8 morning habits and why they work so well:

1. They plan their time well.

Making the most of anything rarely happens without a level of planning involved.

Effective early birds aren’t simply lucky.

They’re thinking ahead, sorting their tasks, and setting themselves up for success by establishing a plan for the day ahead.

It might sound boring, but it pays off.

To be productive, early birds will have mapped out their morning to get the most from it.

They’ll be planning their activities based on several factors.

These might include other people’s availability to spend time with them, store opening times (think returning clothes/posting parcels), and getting the dull tasks out of the way when they are most energized.  

Effective morning people know that taking the time to put a plan together saves them time the next day – they’ve got a list to work through and times to stick to, and they achieve so much more because of it.

2. They get enough sleep.

Annoyingly, the rumors are true – most of us do need a good night’s sleep to be productive the next day.

This is something that early birds know, and they adjust their lifestyles accordingly, to ensure they’re getting the benefits of a full night’s sleep.

They understand the importance of feeling rested and refreshed, and they’re not afraid to prioritize that.

That could mean scheduling nights out carefully so that their early mornings remain unaffected.

For example, if they get up at 6 am every weekday they may only go out on a Friday when they can enjoy a lie-in the next day. Or if there is a mid-week social event, they switch their working from home day to the day after it, if possible.

They want to be running at optimal levels and know that sleep plays a crucial role in that. And they’re prepared to delay gratification or work flexibly to achieve that.

3. They stop snoozing the alarm.

Whilst getting enough sleep is crucial to a successful morning routine, it’s equally as important is get quality sleep.

As mentioned, that means going to bed at a sensible time, but it also means getting up at a sensible time. It’s all about sleep cycles.

Letting ourselves snooze the alarm might feel great at the time (and who doesn’t love 9-minute increments of sleep), but it could be counterproductive.

Effective early birds know this, which is why they don’t snooze – they simply get up!

Rather than benefiting from some extra shut-eye, snoozing our alarm is likely to leave us feeling groggier.

This is because we hit different stages of our sleep cycle when we drift back off and might wake ourselves up before our bodies and brains are fully ready.

By snoozing an alarm, we let ourselves drift into a low-quality sleep – there’s not enough time to immerse ourselves in deep rest, and most of us feel worse due to the disjointed, stop/start sleep cycle.

Psychologically, too, snoozing an alarm lets our mind know that we’re not ready to face the day. As such, we might then wake up feeling unprepared, unrested, and unwilling to get stuck in.

That results in an unproductive morning – the opposite of what we all want.

Highly effective early birds know this, which is why they rarely snooze the alarm.

4. They create moments of joy.

What motivates you to get up early?

If your answer is, ‘getting to work on time’, ‘having a better commute’, or ‘because you have to’ then this habit is for you.

If you’re only getting up because an external force (e.g. work) is dictating your waking hour, it’s no wonder you find it tricky.

Doing something you have to do is very rarely fun. Doing something you want to do, however? Now that can be a lot of fun.

Rather than seeing your mornings as the time to get things sorted because they need to, early birds proactively add an activity to their morning routine that genuinely excites them.

That might be a 5-minute meditation or dance break, using a nice shower product to boost their morning, or treating themselves to a fancy coffee because they deserve it for getting up so early.

Either way, having something enjoyable as part of their morning routine is highly likely to be what motivates them more than simply needing to be up early.

They are less likely to dread waking up and can make the most of being up and awake.

Embed something fun into your routine and watch how quickly you become an effective early bird.

5. They get their face in the sun (or a SAD lamp).

Getting up early can be difficult for a lot of reasons.

And before you let someone call you lazy, some of those reasons do boil down to science.

We function best when we get a hit of sunlight (and vitamin D) as soon as possible after we wake up.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to run to the window within seconds of waking, but it’s a good idea to incorporate a healthy boost of sunshine on your face pretty soon after rising.

Being in the daylight and getting a burst of vitamin D helps our bodies (and minds) regulate and adjust to being awake.

The benefits of getting sun on our faces are linked to our circadian rhythm.

This vitamin D boost essentially acts as an extra signal to our body, letting it know that we’re awake and it’s time to be active, energized, and mentally switched on.

Of course, this is challenging during the winter months when the sun just no longer seems to exist full stop, let alone in the mornings. That’s why some people find SAD lamps beneficial.  

For those living in countries with limited daylight hours each day, who work night shifts, or who have vitamin D deficiencies, SAD lamps can be an alternative to natural sunlight.

SAD lamps aim to replicate sunshine and give us a vitamin D boost. Vitamin D is essential to our well-being, as it has a huge impact on our mood and mental health.

However you get your fix, incorporating a healthy amount of vitamin D into your daily schedule can give you a boost that makes early morning productivity much more likely.

6. They have a routine in place.

Being an effective early bird doesn’t just happen.

Practice makes progress.

Even if you naturally wake up at 6 am and are raring to go, you’re not necessarily going to have a productive morning unless you work at it. And if 6 am is not your natural wake time, it’s going to require even more practice.

Creating a routine is key to this.

Productive morning people focus on consistency – the more they get used to it, the easier and more natural it starts to feel.

Achieving a long-term, sustainably effective routine is the goal.

Routines help our brains and bodies perform at their best. This means getting up at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time, and maintaining a level of structure when it comes to mealtimes.

The more your body gets used to how your early morning routine typically runs, the more effective it becomes.

7. They work out when they wake up.

Okay, so this one might not sound that fun (particularly to those of us who avoid exercise like the plague) but it’s such a productive way to start the day.

It’s all about the power of endorphins – the amazing chemicals that are released after exercise and make us feel good.

By timing their workouts to their waking schedules, early birds get an endorphin buzz that powers them through the rest of their morning tasks.

It gives them the boost they need to feel motivated, high-energy, and prepared to tackle the day ahead.

Those who are super committed to the early bird lifestyle might also work out later in the day to give themselves an afternoon boost.

They know that getting up early can mean they hit a wall of tiredness later in the day, and they combat it with an energy-boosting cardio session.

A workout doesn’t have to be long or extreme. Simply a quick power session can be enough to charge you up and see you through the tasks ahead.

8. They know their limits.

Despite what the title of this article might suggest, some early birds do sleep in.

Being a morning person can be a brilliant way to fit more into your day, and as we’ve discussed, there are some great life hacks that enable early birds to maximize their effectiveness.

That being said, one of the most important things when it comes to any lifestyle is knowing your limits.

Learning to be self-aware and reflect on how you’re feeling is so important, especially when it comes to sleep schedules.

Effective morning people understand the importance of knowing when to take a step back.

They can run at 95% from 6 am most days, but they acknowledge that they sometimes need a late morning start to recharge.

Giving themselves permission to rest and relax is crucial to keeping that power battery topped up.  

Having this level of self-awareness and self-compassion is what enables early birds to be truly productive in the long term.

About The Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.