If there's one thing that we've learned over the last year is that you tend not to be very productive late at night. This is why instead of going to bed late at night, you should actually go to bed early and try to wake up earlier in an effort to get things done. Here are some ideas and technology to make this work for you.
Ever since the holidays, I've been going to bed pretty late. This was because of some assignments and work that I had to get done. I still got up in the morning at 7:45 AM, but in order to make it through a long day at work, I needed a nap. When I had time off, I took catnaps. While this worked for a while, I managed to find a way back to normality, thanks to a bit of hard work and determination.
It's been proven time and time again that the most productive time in the day is early in the morning. If you've gotten tired of being a zombie with a cup of coffee, then it's time to hack yourself back to normal circadian rhythm.
1. Use a Programmable Alarm Clock For most people, this means using their cell phone. Most cell phones allow you to program a bunch of alarms throughout the week. They can be used to time naps and wake up in the morning. If you are using a Mac, then you can try the Alarm Express or Alarm Pro app that's available from the Mac App Store.
2. Optimize Your Morning Make sure you optimize your morning routine. It's easy to waste time, and every five-minute period counts.
3. The Mind Hack We've found that going to bed late coupled with daily naps can become a vicious circle if you're not prudent, because if you nap for too long, you won't be tired by bedtime. If you want to get out of your rut, spend a night awake, preferably a Friday or Saturday, and go to bed the next day in the afternoon. Most likely you'll end up sleeping through the night until the next morning.
4. The Espresso/Coffee Machine Busy people need their java. We've made making our own cup of espresso or coffee in the morning a nice part of our morning routine. It's part of the morning ritual and starts the day fresh.
5. Working Out If going to bed early is still problematic for you, then you should try working out the right before going to bed. We've found that after our workout, we quickly go to bed after the shower. A GPS is a nice way of keeping track of your workouts and will keep you motivated.
Each morning, we get up two hours before work (7AM). This gives us about an hour to get stuff done. The other hour is spent getting ready for work and actually commuting to work. The first hour tends to be very productive. Emails and quick tasks can be taken care of during this time, with time to spare. This is good because it lets you start work that you'll eventually have to finish later on. We feel it's like jump-starting the day.
(Images: Flickr member Gjs licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Brandt Kurowski licensed for use under Creative Commons)