Stop Being "Anti-Morning": Morning Routines For Night Owls

If you’re anything like me, even the word “morning” can cause your heart rate to spike.

“Okay, but what do you mean by “morning”? Like… 05:30??”

No chance.

If you’re a productive night owl like me, who tends to crush work into the early hours, the sounding of the alarm can be rough as it is.

This dragging to get out of bed is then doubled by the entourage of Morning People(TM) on Instagram posting excessively about how early they woke up today, how much they’ve already gotten done by 08:00, and captioning everything with “Carpe Diem” and “Hustle & Grind”.

Then, to add insult to injury, you brave the sunlight and traffic to get to your workplace, to class, or your first station of the day. There, you’ll inevitably meet someone who woke up too early and is mad about it.

You’ll be around people, trying to be productive, burning through the morning daylight while drowning in coffee and thinking about how tonight you’ll FORCE yourself to go to bed before midnight so you’ll never feel like this again.

Let me break down the bullshit for you:

There’s no such thing as a “better” wake-up time.

Waking up early is not a measure or predictor of your success.

Opting to get up at 04:30 full of energy is not required to be happy or successful.

Just because some CEOs and famous people do it does not mean you have to or need to.

The actual determining factor in your daily and long-term success is what you make of the hours that you are awake. Do you complain and procrastinate and laze around your house all day? Or do you put in the same quality work during your 09:00-01:00 day that those early-morning Instagrammers put in during their 05:00-09:00?

Cool. That’s the same number of hours.

And I promise you this: you will get much more quality work in after quality sleep and a good, grateful start to the day than you would waking up at 05:00, sitting groggily for 3 hours, and wishing you weren’t awake.

Here’s where the routine comes in.

So you’ve smashed your snooze button once already.

What now?

Morning routines are very important for optimizing a day, for starting our right with fuel, focus, and priorities.

Better yet, the brain loves automizing things. That’s why we have habits, heuristics, and stereotypes. Your mind essentially says, “so I see you’ve done this thing the exact same way the last 30x. Let’s make it a thing!”

And boom, it’s a thing. A pattern. A routine.

The mind makes shortcuts for us so that we can make fewer decisions at a faster rate. And who wants to make decisions in the morning? Count me out!

You don’t have to be a morning person to maximize a morning routine.

You just have to be ready to start your day right whenever your day starts.

  1. Consistency

    Pick a wake-up time that you can live with, and aim to get up within an hour of that time consistently every day. Give yourself 10 minutes to complain about how early or bright it is before you get up, and then really make yourself begin your day.

    No more complaining!

    There are many apps that track your sleep and can wake you up within a 30-minute period of your alarm when you are sleeping lightly (no more horror of waking up out of a deep sleep to that abysmal selection of iOS ringing noises). I recommend the Pillow App, as it is free and has great analytics features. Plus, the alarm sound is very relaxing.

  2. Basics

    Do your thing. Get up and dressed, wash your face, brush your teeth. Cross the basics off right away, so you feel like a real human being and are much less likely to get back into the bed.

    I mean, who wants to brush their teeth in the morning twice??

  3. Fuel

    Whether you’re a breakfast person or a coffee drinker or not, give yourself fuel for the morning. Your system needs to be awake and functioning. If nothing else, drink a ton of water!!

  4. Focus Practice

    Meditation. Prayer. Mindfulness. Silence. ASMR. Recitation.

    The type of practice is up to you, but making a habit out of spending a few minutes to be quiet with yourself and focus your mind is imperative.

    Bonus: it only has to take 2-10 minutes!

  5. Plan & Prioritise

    This is perhaps one of the most important staples of a productive morning routine.

    Get out your notepad or your Notes app. Write out the list of things you need to accomplish today, and then what you want to accomplish today.

    Then, do the hardest thing on the list first. Get it over with.

    This helps you know exactly what you need to accomplish in your awake hours, and the hardest, most daunting thing is already done.

  6. Music

    I cannot recommend this enough. Find or make a good playlist that gets you moving at your pace in the morning. Some people prefer a chill playlist, others an up-beat playlist. Maybe make two and alternate!

  7. Movement

    While some people preach the wonders of morning workouts, that’s not for everyone. However, it is important to get your body moving as soon as you can. Get up, walk around your house, bike or walk where you can, take the stairs… you get the idea. Get your heart rate up early, and everything seems a bit easier.

So… you convinced yet?

TL;DR: Getting up at 04:00 is irrelevant to success. Maximizing the time you are awake is entirely relevant to success. Getting into a habit of productivity at the start of the day is a huge tool to do that.

Tell me: what things do you have in your morning routine? What would you add? What is the most helpful?