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M.G. Siegler

Shared December 10, 2015

This is basically what I aspire to do in 2016.

You look at your messages, the news, and the weather. “I’m half asleep,” you think. “I’ll just look at Twitter while I wake up.” Ten minutes pass, then another five. You’re not asleep, but you’re not really awake either.

Adam Braun

Shared December 19, 2015

Wishful thinking for us night owls.

Diego Mendes

Shared December 15, 2015

Inspiring post on becoming a morning person by @jazer - Seriously considering beginning my mornings 1-2hrs earlier in 2016

John Zeratsky

Shared February 9, 2017

From the archive...

Most days, I wake up at 5:30 or 5:45, make coffee, then work for two hours before walking to the office. Here's the story of how I became a morning person.

It’s early and dark. The alarm sounds, and you reach over to switch it off. After a short pause, you sit up. You swing your legs off the bed, touch the floor with your feet, and reach for your phone. You sit quietly while your phone’s screen illuminates the dark bedroom. There are a few notifications waiting—new emails, a Twitter reply, a prediction of rain. You look at your messages, the news, and the weather. “I’m half asleep,” you think. “I’ll just look at Twitter while I wake up.” Ten minutes pass, then another five. You’re not asleep, but you’re not really awake either.

Five years ago, I decided to become a morning person.

Justin Rochell

Shared December 10, 2015

I must have saved every "how to become a morning person" article I come across to Pocket. Maybe this is the one that inspires me? I mean - coffee plays a big part...

By 9:30am most days I’ve had an hour of productive work, showered and dressed, walked two miles, had breakfast, and enjoyed two cups of coffee.

Maria Ali ✨

Shared December 23, 2016

‏#٣٦٥مقالا‬ | ٦١
‏كيف أصبحت شخص صباحي وسبب قراري للتّغير

Davy Buntinx

Shared December 30, 2015

Het proberen waard. 🤔

It’s not always easy for me to wake up, but I’ve learned to love mornings. By 9:30am most days I’ve had an hour of productive work, showered and dressed, walked two miles, had breakfast, and enjoyed two cups of coffee.

Yuval Shoshan

Shared December 17, 2015

Great advice

Having something to do is part of “how to wake up early,” but for me it’s also why I wake up early.

Michael Schneider

Shared December 12, 2015

It’s not always easy for me to wake up, but I’ve learned to love mornings. By 9:30am most days I’ve had an hour of productive work, showered and dressed, walked two miles, had breakfast, and enjoyed two cups of coffee.

Michael Schneider

Shared December 12, 2015

It’s not always easy for me to wake up, but I’ve learned to love mornings. By 9:30am most days I’ve had an hour of productive work, showered and dressed, walked two miles, had breakfast, and enjoyed two cups of coffee

Robert Talbert

Shared December 20, 2015

Good basic recommendations (coffee, light, something to do). Early mornings are the most underrated times of the day.

Vivek George

Shared December 23, 2015

Solid strategies. They definitely help!

Carlo van Houten

Shared December 16, 2015

Morgen!

Bernard Boulanger

Shared August 13, 2017

So many personal projects on early mornings... Have a great day 👍

King kong

Shared April 23, 2017

Morning!

Emily Looney

Shared December 15, 2015

I need to try these tips...

Asma .

Shared February 22, 2017

💛.

Hidalgo Fernandez

Shared December 22, 2015

Yep

Stef Ólafsdóttir

Shared December 20, 2015

Interesting. I'd love to try something like this. One of the issues I can think of is that I don't have this much evening routine.

Agnes Putri Wahyuningtyas

Shared January 5, 2017

Interesting and definitely something I have tried

Amber Hewitt

Shared January 1, 2016

Might try this for the new year

Jignesh Darji

Shared January 11, 2017

Got to get rid of the morning smartphone routine even though I wake up early. 😅

Carlos M. Cámara

Shared April 16, 2017

Those early hours seemed like a gift—a couple of “free” hours when I could be productive and prepare for the day

Mo Gladstone

Shared December 25, 2015

I want to be a morning person. (I appreciate the irony of reading this at this time of night).

Prashanth M

Shared December 26, 2015

good read; will try

Yoga Sukma

Shared December 29, 2015

It’s not always easy for me to wake up, but I’ve learned to love mornings. By 9:30am most days I’ve had an hour of productive work, showered and dressed, walked two miles, had breakfast, and enjoyed two cups of coffee.

Artur Balanuta

Shared December 20, 2015

Step by step

Maciej Socha

Shared February 20, 2016

Ciekawy poradnik dla osób, które chcą stać się "rannymi ptaszkami".

Ja codziennie wstaje o 6 i lubię być w pracy już na 7:30. Wtedy lepiej układa się dzień i jest sporo wolnego czasu. Polecam ;)

Karen

Shared April 13, 2018

coffee, light, and something to do

Cristian CIOFU

Shared February 7, 2016

I gotta try this one day, but going to sleep before 10pm... That's the difficult part for me.

Manish Taneja

Shared December 15, 2015

Something I'm trying to do myself for at least 2 years..

Sam Chan

Shared January 2, 2017

One of my New Years resolutions!!

Seth Hosko

Shared January 4, 2017

Good reminders on night before

Iskandar Abdullah

Shared December 25, 2015

Sleep early, Wake early

Enguerrand Bourgois

Shared February 7, 2018

À faire

Mike Carlson

Shared February 19, 2017

I've personally started setting my bedtime earlier in order to wake up with enough time to read, meditate, and drink coffee before getting ready for work.

Andy Flores

Shared May 15, 2018

Become an early bird!

Michael Christenson II

Shared July 3, 2017

As a night owl iving in the west coast and working east coast hours over the past ~5 months was a tough shift. I've found the techniques this author uses to be vital to my morning as well. The best part, I have those golden quiet morning hours that I wouldn't give up for the world!

Stephen O'Grady

Shared December 19, 2015

Now I get why my dad would wake up at 6 even though he worked from home.

Paul Bolivar

Shared December 21, 2015

A Life Goal for 2016

Matt Hamlin

Shared December 23, 2015

Definitely something I want to work on in 2016.

Andrea Perdomo

Shared January 8, 2016

:) Some things we can implement in our morning routine!

Sonal Singh Baghel

Shared January 13, 2017

How I wish to be one!

Herbert Feutl

Shared November 8, 2017

You can also try to get kids instead :) instant morning person 😀

Damien O'Sullivan

Shared December 15, 2015

Coffee, light, and something to do

Emre Caliskan

Shared December 16, 2015

Useful tips on waking up earlier to make more out of your day.

M B

Shared December 16, 2015

Gonna work on this stuff

milan Brezovský

Shared December 19, 2015

I should transition again to early mornings, too. I like his physical ritual of coffee making - I will probably start doing dishes after waking up to start my brain while in the "low willlpower mode", as he calls it.

Janik Steiner

Shared December 20, 2015

mornings.

Boris Gorin

Shared January 4, 2016

You look at your messages, the news, and the weather. “I’m half asleep,” you think. “I’ll just look at Twitter while I wake up.” Ten minutes pass, then another five. You’re not asleep, but you’re not really awake either.

David Cooper

Shared December 16, 2015

Short read, but good.

David Cooper

Shared December 16, 2015

How I became a morning person... short read but good.

Mufti Riza

Shared February 5, 2017

moslem's had to pray "shubuh" every day at 4.30 in the early morning..

Auma Njagah

Shared February 6, 2017

He mentions a few things that hit home for me - the painstaking process of brewing Kenyan masala tea but most times I just opt for coffee and a mini workout. I am a morning person through and through.

Sarah P

Shared February 26, 2017

need to read.

Anurag Mathur

Shared April 23, 2017

Still trying...

Aditya Jha

Shared May 23, 2017

And my quest continues

Eliot Chang

Shared July 10, 2017

One of my goals is to get into a strong 'early to bed, early to rise' habit. Wish me luck!

Maneesh Reddy

Shared December 13, 2017

Someone can try doing this :P

Raghav Sagar

Shared December 20, 2017

Nice!

Ben Alvarez

Shared December 10, 2015

Coffee, light, and something to do

Craig H

Shared December 12, 2015

2016 goals

Haryadi Widjaja

Shared December 15, 2015

I think I need to give it a try

hemanth kumar tirupati

Shared December 16, 2015

Great one!!! Got some inspiration to try

Inrilk

Shared December 20, 2015

Exactly what I am doing these past two months!

Imeh Usoro

Shared December 20, 2015

This is a must try!

Stefan Tanner

Shared December 24, 2015

Coffee, light & something to do... As easy as that - and it sounds good, too! :)

Vinícius F. Monteiro

Shared December 25, 2015

Bom!

Doonytime

Shared December 28, 2015

Routine is important, and if you can recognise the best way to be more effective, then do it. I'm a morning person, and this article resonates with me.

Arjun Siva prasad

Shared December 29, 2015

Good 1

Erik Chen

Shared December 31, 2015

#goalzfor2016

Peter Busse

Shared January 4, 2016

I feel quite the same about those first hours of the day and enjoy getting my workout done as early as possible and having a nice post workout breakfast along with a cup of coffee afterwards.
Yet, the hardest part, at least for me, of accomplishing this, is the actual process of getting up instead of "accidentally" falling asleep again.

Paolo Marazzi

Shared January 4, 2016

Very nice

AaronTown850

Shared January 5, 2016

Wake up and stay awake with a PLAN!

Ajay Kumar Jain

Shared April 4, 2016

Another reason to change your sleeping habit.

Shweta Vashistha

Shared January 23, 2017

Everyday.

And that rushed, zombie-like morning loomed over my day like a hangover.

Nikhil Chadha

Shared April 3, 2017

"vignette "

CC Lawless

Shared April 28, 2017

Love this article. I would dare to call it inspirational.

Adarsh KP

Shared November 19, 2017

For all the nocturnal beings out there! 😄

bandreddy bhanu

Shared December 13, 2017

should try

hend Abdullah

Shared May 28, 2018

Enjoy your mornings.🌤💙

Valentin Ronteix

Shared August 10, 2018

Le plus grand défis d'un indépendant, se lever le matin !

Mathias Hellsing

Shared December 14, 2015

It’s early and dark. The alarm sounds, and you reach over to switch it off. After a short pause, you sit up. You swing your legs off the bed, touch the floor with your feet, and reach for your phone.

Anthony Ardizzone

Shared December 15, 2015

I should work on this. Maybe when I only have one full-time day job.

Surawat

Shared December 16, 2015

Great article, it inspired me to wake up earlier.

Susan Galletto

Shared December 16, 2015

Anyone else on-board for 2016!

Nur Farhana Zaidi

Shared December 16, 2015

Resuming life... 2016!

Tei Wyatt

Shared December 16, 2015

I definitely need to work on this lol

Edd Dwivedi

Shared December 17, 2015

Best.

Sophia Clemente

Shared December 17, 2015

I woke up late today. Around 3am is when I woke up to check my phone. I then went back to sleep. I woke up 8am since my mom told me to take my medicine. I tried getting up.
My mom asked me to help her out on carrying old beds outside so I got up as fast as I could.
I was clumsy helping her out and it made my mom and I laugh.
I then ate breakfast and quickly did chores she wanted me to do.
I'm waiting for hair to dry so I can start working on my short term goal.

Chee Wee Cham

Shared December 20, 2015

Medium

선우 안

Shared December 20, 2015

아침형인간되기

Atanas Yanev

Shared December 21, 2015

amazing

Viki Krumova

Shared December 21, 2015

Please, enjoy you mornings!

Abbigail Livingston

Shared December 24, 2015

Resolution One

Andrada Tăutu

Shared December 24, 2015

Definitely on my "To do" list for 2016.

Michal Kamieniecki

Shared December 29, 2015

Hope this helps me.

Rob the rabbit

Shared January 1, 2016

Interesting and definitely something I will try.

Ben K

Shared January 1, 2016

enjoy

Andrew Glykys

Shared January 2, 2016

Those early hours seemed like a gift—a couple of “free” hours when I could be productive and prepare for the day.

Nour El Assaad

Shared January 3, 2016

In my route to becoming a morning person, this is a must-read!

Jennifer Jenson

Shared February 3, 2016

Great article and good reinforcement on why I have always been a morning achiever!

Sofiya Rasina

Shared February 28, 2016

I wake up at 10. And I've always wanted to wake up early. This article really helps😅😴

Ravi Adhikari

Shared March 28, 2016

Good read :)

Will Fantini

Shared December 24, 2015

The blurb on making coffee during low will -power time is nifty. May try to incorporate.

Srdjan Beronja

Shared December 25, 2015

Very good tips!

Tariq Mahmood

Shared December 26, 2015

I enjoyed this simple article as I sit in Karachi. I just about do the same and probably feel the same in my home in Mission Viejo, CA. I miss the early mornings of home in Mission Viejo, CA. I guess humans are a victim of their habits. I am no different. After getting up in the morning for years during my work life, I still get up early between 6 and 6:30 AM and start my day after 7-8 hours of sleep after dragging myself out of bed. I think I did not appreciate the enjoyment until this article made me miss my daily routine sitting here in Karachi. At the end of the day life is wonder if you know how to enjoy it personally.

Ted Carrig

Shared December 27, 2015

Great article.

Justin Cole

Shared January 5, 2016

Goals

Kendeldrick Broaden

Shared August 24, 2017

👌🏾

Rabia Khan

Shared March 2, 2016

In case we want to eat breakfast

Snow C

Shared December 22, 2016

So similar status like me ~~

And that rushed, zombie-like morning loomed over my day like a hangover.

Soumya Singh

Shared December 28, 2016

I am gonna try that out for sure. :)

Nur Azuaniza Mat Ariffin

Shared January 6, 2017

This is nice for my self improvement 👍👍👍

Claudia Valencia

Shared January 11, 2017

MEEEEEEEE- I NEED THIS

Rony Muller

Shared January 13, 2017

I'm not a morning person, but willing to give this a shot!

Mh Ham

Shared January 15, 2017

Just looking at the updated pocket for the first time.
Another upgrade that helps the bottom line but is of no benefit to me.

Paulo Bodnarchuki

Shared January 21, 2017

THIS!

Fullmoon Bro

Shared January 23, 2017

illuminates

Afnan Mufidah

Shared January 30, 2017

@SupportRequests #50789175

Greg Barnes

Shared February 11, 2017

An important side effect of this idea is also developing a consistent sleep schedule. It really gets your body running optimally.

Elizabeth Brinkley

Shared February 13, 2017

I'm not a morning person at all lol so, I saw this article and decided to check it out as my very first article read on pocket and I truly agree with all of the advice. I too will try and if I do not succeed I shall try again ;-)

Giulia Liberatore

Shared February 18, 2017

Sounds like a great idea if it works!

Jessica Rediger

Shared February 23, 2017

I love mornings ❤☀️👱🏼‍♀️👦🏼☀️❤

Kristen Erica Dela Cruz

Shared February 27, 2017

Good tips I might try. Setting a bedtime alarm helps me sleep on time but I still struggle getting up.

Chinenye Agwu

Shared March 2, 2017

If you are anything like me, this might motivate you. 🙂

Davia Casillas

Shared March 5, 2017

Ultimate improvement

doing

virem1

Shared March 9, 2017

fsuoa

Lisa Dike

Shared March 4, 2017

Andrew??

soft grandzh

Shared March 12, 2017

💦💦💦💦💦

Okaisha Bryant

Shared March 12, 2017

This is all so true

Chiara Scotellaro

Shared March 12, 2017

Although I'll never end up a morning person. A healthier morning routine of light exercise and a complete breakfast has done wonders for me, physically and mentally.

Bertie Greenslade

Shared March 14, 2017

"Be honest about how much sleep you need, and how much you get."

Emmanuel John Tabilin

Shared March 21, 2017

"But I was fascinated by the potential of mornings. Those early hours seemed like a gift—a couple of “free” hours when I could be productive and prepare for the day. "

Amber Lv

Shared March 24, 2017

Wanna have a try!

Franco Gilio

Shared April 1, 2017

"Coffee, light, and something to do"

Sajid Burdi

Shared April 23, 2017

Morning

Scott Sean

Shared April 27, 2017

Cool!

Shared May 17, 2017

walkie哎哎哟哟普in to. CA Adelaide a ankle do known

amezhinim job

Shared June 6, 2017

Lovely article.

Marshal John

Shared June 17, 2017

good..

坤 陈

Shared July 20, 2017

I'm one of those guys who go to sleep late and get up really late. And last semester, one day, I wanna have things changed.Fortunately, I found my own step, and it is easy to make it. Just go to run about 10mins after you wake up and then have your breakfast.
It helped me to focus on the moring stuffs really great. But, this will just help me to be clear-headed for, maybe, two hrs.

Tomáš Vorel

Shared July 23, 2017

Waking up early every day is one of the most underrated habbits

S D

Shared July 29, 2017

😳

"both of which are likely to send me into a reactive vortex of unproductivity. "

Ben Ma

Shared September 16, 2017

Challenge to me, but have to change now.

carmen arroyo

Shared October 3, 2017

!

Maria Ghaderi

Shared October 14, 2017

like it.

Gabriela Ribeiro da Costa

Shared November 19, 2017

That's why I love being a morning person

Harvey Janson

Shared December 2, 2017

Not that it’s for someone who don’t work or attend classes until middle of the morning.

Анастасия

Shared December 19, 2017

найти перевод!

reach over

Анастасия

Shared December 19, 2017

найти перевод!

reach over

TM Frescata

Shared January 3, 2018

And 26

Alyssa Senne

Shared January 13, 2018

I would love to be up in the mornings again.

Giovanna Silva

Shared January 15, 2018

♥️

Justin Gavin

Shared January 18, 2018

Back pain is a general problem for almost everyone. Some of us, or possibly someone in our family can suffer from neck or back pain or can be suffering from it now that makes us look for Best Pain Management Doctors Nyc.

Prabin Parajuli

Shared January 21, 2018

now you've given me some hope!! 😁😁

Dave Gurdak

Shared February 28, 2018

must read this one.....

Raysa Ortiz

Shared March 20, 2018

I love this article, thank you!

sarah kerl

Shared April 2, 2018

Wishful thinking for me, but good advice for those lucky enough to have switched

morning

Heather Jo Braunstein

Shared April 11, 2018

If anyone is not a morning person just like me!

Tim Kealey

Shared April 11, 2018

Goals...

Zia Lim

Shared April 26, 2018

But I was fascinated by the potential of mornings. Those early hours seemed like a gift—a couple of “free” hours when I could be productive and prepare for the day

Cassie Chan

Shared April 26, 2018

I used to be a morning person before my college. But now, it's a difficult thing for me to get up early in the morning. Maybe I should try it again and I really want to see the beautiful sunrise.

123 123

Shared May 16, 2018

Awesome!!

Joy Igobo

Shared May 21, 2018

Awesome piece

Lven null

Shared May 22, 2018

I sleep around 12 am and wake up on 5:30.Then
1.Meditate
2.And go for classes

Deborah Fang

Shared June 9, 2018

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John Zeratsky
Helping people make time for what matters. Author of Sprint (2016) and Make Time (coming Sep 2018). Creator of Time Dorks.
Dec 9, 2015

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How I became a morning person (and why I decided to make the change)

Sunrise at sea. Photo by Michelle Zeratsky.
It’s early and dark. The alarm sounds, and you reach over to switch it off. After a short pause, you sit up. You swing your legs off the bed, touch the floor with your feet, and reach for your phone. You sit quietly while your phone’s screen illuminates the dark bedroom. There are a few notifications waiting—new emails, a Twitter reply, a prediction of rain. You look at your messages, the news, and the weather. “I’m half asleep,” you think. “I’ll just look at Twitter while I wake up.” Ten minutes pass, then another five. You’re not asleep, but you’re not really awake either.
Five years ago, I decided to become a morning person.
It didn’t come naturally to me. When I had to wake up early—for a meeting, an event, or class—it was like the vignette above. I struggled to get out of bed. Often I barely made it to my engagement on time. And that rushed, zombie-like morning loomed over my day like a hangover.
But I was fascinated by the potential of mornings. Those early hours seemed like a gift—a couple of “free” hours when I could be productive and prepare for the day. Becoming a morning person would also give me more time with my wife. Michelle works at a biotech company in Marin where early meetings are the norm. I hated keeping a different schedule from Michelle, and it cut into our time together.
As a natural night owl, I knew I needed a plan if I wanted to avoid the mistakes of my previous early mornings. So I decided to research what had worked for other people, and try some simple experiments on myself.
It worked. I traded a typical night-owl schedule—up till midnight or later, staring at a screen, writing, doing design work, coding—for an uncommon routine where I go to sleep early, wake up early, and get a lot of work done in those quiet morning hours. (In 2015, that included writing our book Sprint.)
Here are the lessons I’d share with anyone who wants to wake up early.
Coffee, light, and something to do
These are my ingredients for a successful morning routine. Coffee is deceptively important. Sure, the caffeine is nice, but the preparation is essential to my morning. It takes me 15 minutes to make coffee using a simple pour-over technique: boil water, grind beans, position filter, add grounds, pour water. This process keeps me occupied during the low-willpower period when I would otherwise check email or look at Twitter—both of which are likely to send me into a reactive vortex of unproductivity. Instead, I stand in the kitchen, wake up slowly, think about my day, and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee when I’m done.
Don’t underestimate the importance of light in waking up. We’re hard-wired to wake up when it’s light and get sleepy when it’s dark. You can’t wait for sunrise and wake up early (at least not for most of the year in most of the U.S.), so you need artificial light. When I wake up, I turn on every light in our apartment. If I’m going to work on the computer, I disable Flux. And I try to always watch the sunrise, even if it’s an hour or two after I get up.
Having something to do is part of “how to wake up early,” but for me it’s also why I wake up early. Usually I work—writing or editing, sometimes email, a little design work. Exercise is a great morning activity. Even doing dishes, ironing shirts, or straightening up the apartment helps me wake up and feel productive before the day has started.
Even with coffee, light, and something to do, it’s tough to wake up early without making some adjustments to your evening routine.
The nights before
Be honest about how much sleep you need, and how much you get. I feel best after seven to eight hours of sleep (and sometimes nine, especially in the winter). Most days I wake up around 5:45am, so I go to bed around 9:45pm.
Pay attention to how food and drink affect your sleep. There’s plenty of evidence that alcohol does not improve sleep quality, even though it might feel that way—and it particularly impairs REM sleep. We enjoy dark chocolate after dinner most nights, but I learned the hard way about its surprising caffeine content.
Finally, I’ve learned how to adjust my environment to wind down and signal “bedtime” to my body. I begin by lowering the lights. I turn off peripheral lights in the kitchen and foyer, then switch to floor lamps in the living room and bedroom. My favorite routine—and dorkiest, by far—is a DIY “turn-down service.” Around 7pm each night, I close the curtains in the bedroom, remove the decorative pillows from the bed, and pull back the covers.
It’s not always easy for me to wake up, but I’ve learned to love mornings. By 9:30am most days I’ve had an hour of productive work, showered and dressed, walked two miles, had breakfast, and enjoyed two cups of coffee.
If you try these tips, let me know how it goes. And if you have lessons of your own, share those too!
And please, enjoy your mornings.

Thanks to Jake Knapp.
SleepRoutinesProductivityMindfulnessTime Management
Like what you read? Give John Zeratsky a round of applause.
From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.


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John Zeratsky
Medium member since Mar 2017
Helping people make time for what matters. Author of Sprint (2016) and Make Time (coming Sep 2018). Creator of Time Dorks.
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Time Dorks
A newsletter about making time for what matters, from Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky.
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Responses
Conversation between Naz Hamid and John Zeratsky.

Naz Hamid
Dec 10, 2015
Nice post JZ.
My life became exponentially better a decade ago when I switched from an almost insomniac-like (lack of) sleep pattern to a 5:30am-9:30pm waking zone. Much of what you describe is similar to my routine.
The biggest impetus for me is getting up at 5:30 to head out for a bike ride —…
Read more…

67
5 responses

John Zeratsky
Dec 10, 2015
Nice post JZ.
Thank you! And thanks for writing this response. Everything you said here rings true for me.

8

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Joel Hughes
Dec 11, 2015
You know John, another way to accomplish this is to be involuntarily and abruptly woken up by your kids every day at some varying, ungodly AM-ish hour. Might also put a few dents in the organization of your day and furnishings as well! :p

49
2 responses
Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Nina Mehta
Dec 27, 2015
Nice! I’m on a similar schedule too and the beautiful sunrises in San Francisco make it completely worth it. I found also that once I started waking up more relaxed and with my own plans I had more ownership of my entire day. When I would wake up and rushing to my first thing with just enough time I felt my job held the reigns of my day.
Read more…

9

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Sarah Cornforth
Dec 10, 2015
Great article! I have also trained myself to love mornings. I am at my most creative and productive first thing, so it seemed silly to be missing out on my best time of the day. I also agree with the need for light, especially in the winter months. My best investment was a natural alarm clock, gently waking me up by filling my bedroom with light…
Read more…

5

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Michael Bartlett
Dec 13, 2015
What a great little article. Not being a “Morning Person” has arguably caused me most of my problematic issues in life. Although the truth is I am a night owl that has fought to keep that lifestyle when it is not really comparable with the modern world; add sleep apnea to that equation and it’s rough.
Read more…

5

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Masoom Vyas
Dec 11, 2015
Something that has helped me in the early mornings to remain prepared for the whole day is YOGA. It actually removes all the laziness from the body and at times I don’t require coffee or tea in the mornings to make myself feel fresh!
Anyways, It was a nice read ☺

7

Conversation with John Zeratsky.

Akash
Dec 10, 2015
John — Great post. I have been shifting to be a morning person as well. Nothing beats the feeling of getting things done even before others have woken up.
Here are a few things that have really helped me:
No phone in the bedroom — When I wake up, I get out of bed, walk to another room to get my…
Read more…

23
2 responses

John Zeratsky
Dec 10, 2015
No phone in the bedroom
This is huge. We keep our phones in the dining room. We don’t have a TV in our bedroom. Our alarm clock is on the other side of the room. These things all matter.

9

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Mallory
Dec 11, 2015
Cool article. I’ve been trying to adjust to an early schedule for months —after 40 years as a dedicated nightowl. I love the morning quiet, as well as the early bedtimes. But I have found myself dropping off to sleep for a spontaneous 4 hour nap more than a few times. By 5pm I feel like I’ve been through the decathlon. I’m about to change things up…
Read more…

2

Conversation with John Zeratsky.

Michael Leggett
Jul 14, 2016
Coffee is deceptively important
Maybe tea or some other no-screen ritual for those of us that don’t drink coffee?

2
1 response

John Zeratsky
Jul 15, 2016
Yes, that’s a very good idea!
Other ideas:
Make the bed and straighten up the bedroom
Walk the dog (if you have a dog)
Feed and clean up after the cat (if you have a cat)
Read a few pages of something on paper
Read more…

3

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Brad Ploch
Dec 11, 2015
I like the idea behind making the coffee. The process is mindless yet wakes you up, however I’m not a huge fan of caffeine. Great read regardless. Thanks for sharing.

Selçuk Özcan

Shared June 13, 2018

work. Exercise is a great morning activity. Even doing dishes, ironing shirts, or straightening up the apartment helps me wake up and feel productive before the day has started.

Lana S.

Shared June 19, 2018

I am a total morning person😝

Calum Leahy

Shared July 15, 2018

Very motivational stuff. Clear and concise.

Michelly Ramos Moreira

Shared July 18, 2018

amazing text! 💟

Michelly Ramos Moreira

Shared July 18, 2018

Made me rethink about the days, the way we face life. Great article, highly recommend!

Devin Barich

Shared July 25, 2018


Tt

Devin Barich

Shared July 25, 2018

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John Zeratsky
Obsessed with the idea of redesigning time. Author of Sprint (2016) and Make Time (coming Sep 2018). Creator of Time Dorks.
Dec 9, 2015

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How I became a morning person (and why I decided to make the change)

Sunrise at sea. Photo by Michelle Zeratsky.
It’s early and dark. The alarm sounds, and you reach over to switch it off. After a short pause, you sit up. You swing your legs off the bed, touch the floor with your feet, and reach for your phone. You sit quietly while your phone’s screen illuminates the dark bedroom. There are a few notifications waiting—new emails, a Twitter reply, a prediction of rain. You look at your messages, the news, and the weather. “I’m half asleep,” you think. “I’ll just look at Twitter while I wake up.” Ten minutes pass, then another five. You’re not asleep, but you’re not really awake either.
Five years ago, I decided to become a morning person.
It didn’t come naturally to me. When I had to wake up early—for a meeting, an event, or class—it was like the vignette above. I struggled to get out of bed. Often I barely made it to my engagement on time. And that rushed, zombie-like morning loomed over my day like a hangover.
But I was fascinated by the potential of mornings. Those early hours seemed like a gift—a couple of “free” hours when I could be productive and prepare for the day. Becoming a morning person would also give me more time with my wife. Michelle works at a biotech company in Marin where early meetings are the norm. I hated keeping a different schedule from Michelle, and it cut into our time together.
As a natural night owl, I knew I needed a plan if I wanted to avoid the mistakes of my previous early mornings. So I decided to research what had worked for other people, and try some simple experiments on myself.
It worked. I traded a typical night-owl schedule—up till midnight or later, staring at a screen, writing, doing design work, coding—for an uncommon routine where I go to sleep early, wake up early, and get a lot of work done in those quiet morning hours. (In 2015, that included writing our book Sprint.)
Here are the lessons I’d share with anyone who wants to wake up early.
Coffee, light, and something to do
These are my ingredients for a successful morning routine. Coffee is deceptively important. Sure, the caffeine is nice, but the preparation is essential to my morning. It takes me 15 minutes to make coffee using a simple pour-over technique: boil water, grind beans, position filter, add grounds, pour water. This process keeps me occupied during the low-willpower period when I would otherwise check email or look at Twitter—both of which are likely to send me into a reactive vortex of unproductivity. Instead, I stand in the kitchen, wake up slowly, think about my day, and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee when I’m done.
Don’t underestimate the importance of light in waking up. We’re hard-wired to wake up when it’s light and get sleepy when it’s dark. You can’t wait for sunrise and wake up early (at least not for most of the year in most of the U.S.), so you need artificial light. When I wake up, I turn on every light in our apartment. If I’m going to work on the computer, I disable Flux. And I try to always watch the sunrise, even if it’s an hour or two after I get up.
Having something to do is part of “how to wake up early,” but for me it’s also why I wake up early. Usually I work—writing or editing, sometimes email, a little design work. Exercise is a great morning activity. Even doing dishes, ironing shirts, or straightening up the apartment helps me wake up and feel productive before the day has started.
Even with coffee, light, and something to do, it’s tough to wake up early without making some adjustments to your evening routine.
The nights before
Be honest about how much sleep you need, and how much you get. I feel best after seven to eight hours of sleep (and sometimes nine, especially in the winter). Most days I wake up around 5:45am, so I go to bed around 9:45pm.
Pay attention to how food and drink affect your sleep. There’s plenty of evidence that alcohol does not improve sleep quality, even though it might feel that way—and it particularly impairs REM sleep. We enjoy dark chocolate after dinner most nights, but I learned the hard way about its surprising caffeine content.
Finally, I’ve learned how to adjust my environment to wind down and signal “bedtime” to my body. I begin by lowering the lights. I turn off peripheral lights in the kitchen and foyer, then switch to floor lamps in the living room and bedroom. My favorite routine—and dorkiest, by far—is a DIY “turn-down service.” Around 7pm each night, I close the curtains in the bedroom, remove the decorative pillows from the bed, and pull back the covers.
It’s not always easy for me to wake up, but I’ve learned to love mornings. By 9:30am most days I’ve had an hour of productive work, showered and dressed, walked two miles, had breakfast, and enjoyed two cups of coffee.
If you try these tips, let me know how it goes. And if you have lessons of your own, share those too!
And please, enjoy your mornings.
You can find an updated version of this tactic—and more than 80 others—in Make Time, my new book about finding focus and energy in daily life. For more information and a look inside the book, check out maketimebook.com.
Thanks to Jake Knapp.
SleepRoutinesProductivityMindfulnessTime Management
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John Zeratsky
Medium member since Mar 2017
Obsessed with the idea of redesigning time. Author of Sprint (2016) and Make Time (coming Sep 2018). Creator of Time Dorks.
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A newsletter about making time for what matters, from Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky.
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Responses
Conversation between Naz Hamid and John Zeratsky.

Naz Hamid
Dec 9, 2015
Nice post JZ.
My life became exponentially better a decade ago when I switched from an almost insomniac-like (lack of) sleep pattern to a 5:30am-9:30pm waking zone. Much of what you describe is similar to my routine.
The biggest impetus for me is getting up at 5:30 to head out for a bike ride —…
Read more…

67
5 responses

John Zeratsky
Dec 9, 2015
Nice post JZ.
Thank you! And thanks for writing this response. Everything you said here rings true for me.

8

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Joel Hughes
Dec 10, 2015
You know John, another way to accomplish this is to be involuntarily and abruptly woken up by your kids every day at some varying, ungodly AM-ish hour. Might also put a few dents in the organization of your day and furnishings as well! :p

49
2 responses
Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Nina Mehta
Dec 26, 2015
Nice! I’m on a similar schedule too and the beautiful sunrises in San Francisco make it completely worth it. I found also that once I started waking up more relaxed and with my own plans I had more ownership of my entire day. When I would wake up and rushing to my first thing with just enough time I felt my job held the reigns of my day.
Read more…

9

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Masoom Vyas
Dec 10, 2015
Something that has helped me in the early mornings to remain prepared for the whole day is YOGA. It actually removes all the laziness from the body and at times I don’t require coffee or tea in the mornings to make myself feel fresh!
Anyways, It was a nice read ☺

8

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Sarah Cornforth
Dec 10, 2015
Great article! I have also trained myself to love mornings. I am at my most creative and productive first thing, so it seemed silly to be missing out on my best time of the day. I also agree with the need for light, especially in the winter months. My best investment was a natural alarm clock, gently waking me up by filling my bedroom with light…
Read more…

5

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Michael Bartlett
Dec 12, 2015
What a great little article. Not being a “Morning Person” has arguably caused me most of my problematic issues in life. Although the truth is I am a night owl that has fought to keep that lifestyle when it is not really comparable with the modern world; add sleep apnea to that equation and it’s rough.
Read more…

5

Conversation with John Zeratsky.

Akash
Dec 9, 2015
John — Great post. I have been shifting to be a morning person as well. Nothing beats the feeling of getting things done even before others have woken up.
Here are a few things that have really helped me:
No phone in the bedroom — When I wake up, I get out of bed, walk to another room to get my…
Read more…

24
2 responses

John Zeratsky
Dec 9, 2015
No phone in the bedroom
This is huge. We keep our phones in the dining room. We don’t have a TV in our bedroom. Our alarm clock is on the other side of the room. These things all matter.

10

Conversation with John Zeratsky.

Michael Leggett
Jul 13, 2016
Coffee is deceptively important
Maybe tea or some other no-screen ritual for those of us that don’t drink coffee?

2
1 response

John Zeratsky
Jul 14, 2016
Yes, that’s a very good idea!
Other ideas:
Make the bed and straighten up the bedroom
Walk the dog (if you have a dog)
Feed and clean up after the cat (if you have a cat)
Read a few pages of something on paper
Read more…

5

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Brad Ploch
Dec 10, 2015
I like the idea behind making the coffee. The process is mindless yet wakes you up, however I’m not a huge fan of caffeine. Great read regardless. Thanks for sharing.

2

Applause from John Zeratsky (author)

Mallory
Dec 10, 2015
Cool article. I’ve been trying to adjust to an early schedule for months —after 40 years as a dedicated nightowl. I love the morning quiet, as well as the early bedtimes. But I have found myself dropping off to sleep for a spontaneous 4 hour nap more than a few times. By 5pm I feel like I’ve been through the decathlon. I’m about to change things up…

Devin Barich

Shared July 25, 2018

ng time

David Lohman

Shared August 1, 2018

I’ve always wondered about being a morning person. Perhaps I'll try this.

Katie Surridge

Shared August 10, 2018

Such an interesting read

Tú Đào

Shared April 1, 2017

Highly recommend to those who have been night-owls like me 😁

Criss Quigley

Shared April 25, 2018

Don't know if this would interest you.

Davonte Wilson

Shared May 17, 2018

Good tips for night owls

Максим Koretskiy

Shared May 23, 2018

Для тех, кому сложно проснуться утром - просто интересная инфа!