For years my normal weekday morning routine has remained chaotic, rushed and aggravating. I’ve always told myself the next morning would be different. I wouldn’t hit snooze ten times. I would give myself enough time to eat breakfast, catch up on the news and take my time getting ready. Then, every morning I’m getting ready half asleep and running out the door just in time.
Determined to change my chaotic morning routine, I skimmed through the millions of articles out there about what productive people do every morning and picked out a few things to try for myself.
So, for thirty days I planned for my mornings to start promptly at 6 a.m. I would not hit snooze, I would do some type of exercise, read the news, eat breakfast and write.
The experiment got off to a rocky start when I didn’t manage to get out of bed until 6:45 the first morning. I then realized that this was going to be my hardest experiment yet. I get it, when you want to do something, you will, but let me tell you I don’t want to do much at 6 a.m. except for going back to sleep. For years, I have pressed snooze and allowed myself to fall back asleep. It’s an awful habit that I trained my brain to do.
Aggravated at myself for failing on my very first day, I was in bed by 8 pm that night. I was going to be sure I was asleep early so that I would be up at 6 am.
When my alarm went off that next morning, I practically jumped out of bed. I wasn’t giving myself any extra time to lay there and be tempted to fall back asleep. I immediately got in the shower to wake myself up where I squeezed in a few squats and then managed to eat some cereal, read some news, watched t.v. and took my time getting ready. Sure I had gotten up an hour earlier than I had to, but I felt better than I ever had going into work.
The rest of the days that followed in that first week were just the same. Leaving my house for work every morning I felt awake, relaxed and informed. I felt like I was ready to take on the day versus feeling like I had just gone through a tornado and had my drive to get my life together before reaching work. It was awesome.
Then, the weekend arrived. I went out, stayed up too late, slept in and ruined my new routine. When Monday rolled around, 6 a.m. was not happening.
I was back at square one. I hit snooze until I absolutely had to get up and immediately regretted it when I got in the shower. My whole day was thrown off. I felt tired, unmotivated and disappointed.
Adulting Tip: Staying up until 3 a.m. on the weekends will mess up your weeknight sleep schedule. Try not to stay up that late.
That night I decided that I either needed to stay in on weekends or get in at a reasonable time.
When Wednesday came around, my tiredness had become exhaustion and realizing that there was something more going on than just being thrown off my new sleep routine, I headed to the doctor. I had mono. Over the course of the next few days, I slept almost all day and night and didn’t move out of bed.
Finally, by Monday of week three, I began to feel a little better and on Tuesday I was on a work trip. It was essential that while on my trip I kept up with my morning routine to make me feel confident. Every morning I woke up, took a shower, watched the news and then got ready to take on the day. My morning routine made me feel confident and adult-like enough to be on a business trip.
Exhausted from my trip and still recovering from mono, I made sure to rest the entire weekend and was still on track when week four arrived. I had finished reading two books at this point, felt my hair getting healthier as I would let it mostly air dry while reading, writing, and watching the news, and actually felt as though I was a functioning adult.
Week five was also a success. I knew what was going on in the world, I felt better about myself because of my reading and writing, my moods were more stable, and I didn’t hit an afternoon slump like normal.
I won’t say that it got any easier to get up at six; I’m hoping it eventually will. By the last day, I was still reminding myself that I had to get up. Once I got in the shower I was fine, but getting out of bed was really hard.
It’s so worth it, though. Being able to breathe while I get ready instead of running around two minutes before I have to leave is amazing. Having an understanding and knowledge of the news is amazing. Having time to read and write makes me feel like a better person and my stomach is loving that I’m giving it food before 10 a.m.
I didn’t manage to stick to exercising every morning, and as I realize this will be more of a challenge. Because of my hatred of exercising, I decided to tackle this at another time.
There is not any part of me that wants to go back to my chaotic, messy morning routine. I feel a million times better and love being productive in the morning. I will continue to do so and look forward to the day when waking up at 6 am is easy.
This is a part of an ongoing series “The Adulting Experiments.” View the first two in the adulting series.