I love to sleep, but I also love to stay up late. I tend to find that I’m both productive in the morning and in the evenings. This makes it hard to go to bed. Thus, I try to maximize the hours of sleep I can get. I have a few routines that I find really efficient to improve my sleep and get out of the door faster in the mornings:
Use the timer on your phone for shorter showers
This is my most useful hack. I’ve always believed that I’m really quick in the shower. Tops 2 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s turned out to not be true. I’ve learned that to do everything that I need without rushing it,the perfect amount of time is 5 minutes. I use the timer on my phone counting down 5 mins. I sometimes do the same for other morning rituals, like hair drying, putting on make-up. By maximum spending 5 minutes on each task, you limit the time you zone out, which can cause a massive time drain.
Only have what you use every day easily accessible on your bathroom counter
Reducing visual noise is also a time saver. Keep your bathroom clean and have only the items you use every day to get ready (makeup, hair dryer, etc) out on your bathroom counter. This will help you faster get ready as there won’t be as many distractions.
Prepare your bag and what to wear the night before
Eliminating the things you have to do and make decisions on in the morning is important, like preparing your bag and deciding what to wear. I can spend so much time changing outfit, not deciding what to wear in the morning. Now I make sure my bag is ready to be grabbed before heading out the door, and that my outfit for the day is prepared on a chair for me to quickly put on. If I have something that can’t go in the bag the night before, I make sure to write a post-it note for it so I don’t forget.
Turn on flight mode when entering your bedroom
I’m a light sleeper, so I always turn on flight mode before going to bed. This avoids disturbances during the night. It also avoids checking emails in bed as I won’t be able to do much about them at that hour, so they will only cause unnecessary stress. As social media is another time drain, I try to wait with turning off flight mode until I’m on my way to work in the morning. I can spend the time while commuting to catch up on the latest news instead of stretching out in bed with my phone.
Empty your brain
I keep a notebook by my bed where I empty my brain before going to bed. It’s the size of an A5 page. Through emptying my brain, I find that I sleep much better as I know I won’t forget it and I can deal with it again when I wake up.
Sheryl Sandberg writes in her book Option B:
“Journaling (…) helped me quite myself and reflect. I was able to put words to my feelings and unpack them. (…) Labeling negative emotions makes them easier to deal with. The more specific the label, the better. “I’m feeling lonely” helps us process more than the vague “I’m feeling awful.” By putting feelings into words, we give ourselves more power over them.”
Lately I’ve also been trying to use The five minute journal, an experiment I wrote about here. It’s been fun to focus so much on positive elements of my life. It’s made me feel more happy. Going forward I’ll do a mix of both The five minute journal and emptying my brain.
2017 has really been the year where I returned to reading. Reading before going to bed is something both “life guru’s” Tim Ferriss and Khe Hy talks about as important. Reading fiction at night helps me calm down and I feel more creative.
Keep a water bottle by your bed
Drinking enough water is very important to your well being through the day. You set the stage early in the morning, something that will be much easier if you keep a water bottle by your bed at night. The days I have a headache are usually the days I haven’t had enough water through the day.
Know when you have to wake up
Snoozing is not your friend and doesn’t do you any good. I try to check my schedule before going to bed to know exactly what is the absolute latest I can leave my apartment in the morning. Then I backtrack everything I have to do to get ready, and arrive at the latest time I have to wake up. Then I set my alarm for it, something that forces me to jump out of bed without time for snoozing.
- Use the timer on your phone for shorter showers
- Only have what you use every day easily accessible on your bathroom counter
- Turn on flight mode when entering your bedroom
- Prepare your bag and what to wear the night before
- Empty your brain
- Read fiction
- Keep a water bottle by your bed
- Know when you have to wake up
All of these hacks have made my sleep better and reduced the time I spend in the morning on getting ready from 1 hour to only 20 minutes! Do you have other morning or evening hacks? Please share them with me. I’d love to further improve my routines.
- 50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms
- How to stay sane as a startup founder and team
Thanks to Tiff Willson and Torstein Berteig for reading drafts of this.