Firstly, today’s post is not Christmas themed but I do think that it is a good one to include as part of blogmas, because I know that a lot of people have exams in January so will be spending a lot of the Christmas time revising. I would see myself as more of a morning person, and although I am not perfect at all (university has messed up my sleeping pattern and it is actually one of my New Years resolutions to make this better), whenever I do wake up early I remember how fab it is and how, in my opinion, it is the best way to timetable your day. I feel so much better in the morning and my mental health is so positively effected by the extra productivity, when I used to get up early for college it just makes me feel more optimistic about my day for some reason. Not many students would say that but we have all established that I’m not the stereotype of a university student at this point!
These photos (like so many others that you have seen throughout blogmas) were taken by the lovely Ami earlier this month. How talented is she?
Before I start, I just want to say that this post is going to be tailored to more GCSE and A level students as opposed to at a degree level. I do not practice what I preach when it comes to my university life, and I have barely been getting up early unless I have a 9am lecture, so these tips are more focused for times where I have pushed myself and got up early to be productive. That hasn’t been the case at the moment and I wanted to be completely open about that as I don’t want anyone to feel bad that they don’t wake up early in their first year of university… trust me that is normal! I wake up about 8am most days now and thats early compared to most of my uni friends, but nothing like when I used to wake up at 5am over A levels! I would be mad if I woke up at 5am everyday, although I would love to think what it would do for my mindset as when I got into the habit of it over exam season I just felt so much better.
I find that getting up earlier than the typical student means that I get a lot ticked off my to do list in the day and I have time to do other things I want to do, and now I very rarely have to cram it work as I have enough time to do it all. I know that some of my friends at university roll out of bed at 3pm everyday and then complain that they are stressed and have no time to do everything… which just makes no sense to me?!
The first thing I do if I want to be productive is actually get out of bed, as if I spend ages rolling around on my phone I will never get up and actually just getting up gets me in the zone a lot quicker. Now I am known for working in my ‘soft office’ (otherwise known as my bed) at all times of the day and it is such a bad habit to get into, but if I am working in the early morning I make it a priority to not work in my bed, otherwise I will just lay back down in it and fall asleep. I need to distinguish between working and relaxing so I try to get out of my room if possible (if I am at home I sit at the kitchen table) or if I am in my university room I always sit at my desk to work. It makes you feel like you are working and gets your into a productive frame of mind easier than if you just opened your eyes and grabbed your MacBook.
Once I am actually out of bed, I make sure that I get changed and into some ‘proper’ clothes… although usually its nothing special and just jogging bottoms and a top. I only started doing this over my A levels because I got to a point where I was just spending an unhealthy amount of time in my pyjamas, but once I started I don’t know why I didn’t do it so much sooner. Now if I’m having a working day I will always put some proper clothes on, as it again makes you feel like you are actually getting into the working frame of mind and not just lazing around.
This is starting to become a morning routine, but these are genuinely the steps that I take if I do need to work in the morning! I think that making a drink is key to getting rid of feeling groggy and if I do feel particularly run down on the morning I will always make myself a coffee, but I usually gravitate towards a cup of tea. I really struggle to eat breakfast early on a morning, but if you are breakfast person then it would be a good idea before you get started. I got myself into a routine over my A level exams when I used to get up between 5-6am, go downstairs and watch the sunrise (because it was summer at the time) with a hot drink, I didn’t do any work and instead I thought about the exam I had that day, how I was feeling and just had a good think. I think over exam season it grounded me to have that time on my own each morning with no noise or distraction, just for me. Plus I got some fantastic sunrise photos! Plus when I did actually get into it I always started with the easiest tasks first to warm myself up (and wake myself up!) before I got onto the actual hardcore revision, but thats just personal preference… I know that some people would rather get straight into it!
Now onto ways you can help yourself the night before to make your life a lot easier in the morning, so you can get down to being productive quicker. I always used to make my to do list the night before, which is probably one of my biggest tips in general and not just for morning motivation. I found that it allows me to sleep better because I don’t have hundreds of things whirling around my head, and I also have a clearer focus when I wake up. I also make sure to have everything set up on a morning, like worksheets etc, so you don’t have to scramble around in the morning as anything to make your life harder will mean you just give up. You need to make it as easy as possible to just sit down and work, and not waste time. Over exam season I used to try and save myself as much time as possible on a morning, so I even laid out my clothes etc the night before so that I didn’t have to waste any time on a morning when I felt the most productive. Now I am at university I always try and do little things before bed, which I know that I would do in the morning to procrastinate. For instance I have got into a routine so that I never go to bed with washing up in the sink because I know that in the morning I would wash them all to put off actually studying.
This is such an obvious tip but not everyone actually follows it… go to bed early! If you are planning to get up 2 hours earlier than usual then you need to go to bed at least a little earlier, to make it easier for yourself to get up and not be running on barely any sleep. If you are running on no sleep then you won’t be productive, thats just a fact. Some people can cope with less sleep but I am one of them people that just needs 8+ hours to function like a human being, so I had to change the time I went to bed to adapt to the pretty intense morning routine that I set myself.
So there are some tips to how to adapt your routine to start getting up a bit earlier, especially if you are a student and don’t think there are enough hours in the day! If you start getting up a bit early you will feel like you have added so much time and gives you more hours to be productive. You don’t know how good the feeling is when you have ticked everything off your ‘must do’ list by 10am… and you have the rest of the day to do extension work, personal revision or dare I say it even relax! However that being said not everyone is a morning person and that is okay, I know some of my friends that can stay up studying until 3am and not even question it, but I couldn’t do that at all. Have realistic expectations and don’t just go from waking up at 9am to 6am as thats just not going to work, set your alarm earlier a little bit each day and you will get there. I really want to get back into early morning starts now I have finished this post, its definitely going to be one of my New Years resolutions to get back to how I was as I absolutely loved it once I was used to it.