Photo by Clay Banks

Your Ultimate Guide For Waking Up Early

Zdravko Cvijetic
Mar 28, 2018 · 12 min read

“To snooze or not to snooze that is the question”

— Everyone

It took me five years of researching, experimenting, and a lot of excuses, to finally reach a point where waking up early as a habit is under my command.

  • Richard Branson, founder, and chairman of the Virgin Group — 5:45 AM
  • Michelle Obama, former FLOTUS — 4:30 AM
  • Tim Cook, Apple CEO — 4:30 AM (not waking up, he starts sending emailsat this hour)
  • Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO — Before 5:00 AM
  • Jack Dorsey, Twitter Co-founder — 5:30 AM
Left — Indra Nooyi | Middle — Richard Branson | Right — Michelle Obama
Left — Tim Cook | Middle — Howard Schultz | Right — Jack Dorsey

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb

But if you are ready to commit and establish a habit of waking up early, then I’ve got you covered.

Based on my current activities, both in personal and professional life, when would be a perfect wake-up hour?

  1. Your Evening Routine
  2. The Quality Of Your Sleep
  3. Waking Up & Your Morning Routine

1. Your Mindset & Your Goals

Goals motivate us

Having goals gives us the boost, whenever we want to surrender to theinfamous snooze button.

Goals dictate our activities

There are goals, and there are systems.

  • Systems: Eating less than 2000 healthy calories a day (without sweets, snacks, and junk food) + Physical activity: Cardio 2x week (swimming or running) + weight lifting 2x week + yoga for stretching.

2. Your Evening Routine

Most people think that waking up early begins in the morning, which is far from the truth.

Stop using technology before your sleep time

Exposing yourself to too much blue light (from your smartphone, tablet, or computer) before bed has a negative influence on the quality of your sleep.

Prepare for the next day

Instead of having to decide on these things in the morning and losing preciouswillpower and decision-making ability, decide on it the night before.

  • What clothes you will wear tomorrow?
  • What meal can you plan for tomorrow?

Evaluate day and picture your ideal morning

Time goes by fast, and if you don’t stop and reflect on things that are important to you, you will miss a lot of them.


With our busy schedules, it’s challenging to find enough time to read, butwhen you eliminate technology, you will easily find 30 minutes you can dedicate to reading. Whether it’s for personal or professional growth.

3. The Quality Of Your Sleep

Most of us go through life without knowing what affects our sleep and what we can do to make it better.

Stop the stimulants

At least six hours before you go to sleep, you should stop drinking coffee and alcohol, because it will mess with your sleep.
You can drink green tea and water, which are a much better substitute.

Avoid eating big meals

They’ll burden your digestive system and lower your sleep quality.
Instead, have a small snack, like nuts and glass of milk, so you don’t wake up hungry.

Drink one glass of water

Since you are about to sleep for 6–8 hours straight, your body will need a lot of hydration; that’s why you should drink at least one glass of water.
If you have been drinking, make that at least two (and one when you wake up).

Avoid exercising before sleep

Exercising less than 3 hours prior to bedtime can keep you awake. So try to do it earlier or in the morning.

Set the right conditions

Find a quality mattress and pillow. Sleep in a dark and silent room (you can wear a sleep mask and have Melatonin as a supplement).

Go to bed at the same time

At the beginning, going to bed at the same time will be challenging because your body will operate on the old rhythm, and that’s why you should go to sleep when you are tired.

Optimise your sleep

By “optimising sleep” I mean that you should find the perfect time you should go to bed each night, and discover the ideal time you should get up to maximise energy and health.

4. Waking Up & Your Morning Routine

At this point, we’ve covered almost everything that’s indirectly related to waking up early.

The “Dive In” method

As the title says it, you go directly to desired hour, and you try to maintain it from there.
This strategy is possible, but you have to keep in mind that sudden changes will affect your energy drastically.

The “Gradual” method

The most efficient method for changing the time you wake up is to do it gradually — 10–15 minutes earlier for 1–3 days until you feel used to it, and then lower it down. If you get up at 8 a.m. generally, don’t suddenly change it to 6 a.m. Try 7:45 a.m. first. Maintain for a couple of days, and then go to 7:30.

Get accountability

There is probably someone you know; that already has a habit of waking up. Ring that person up and ask them whether or not they can help you out.

Gamify the process with the X Method

Take a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page or at least a month. And put it on a prominent wall.

Have a sudden waking activity

You need something that will throw you out of your sleep mode.

Have something you are looking forward to.

For me it’s making coffee.
It became somewhat of a ritual, that after I am done making the bed and brushing my teeth, I make the coffee and sit on the balcony, think about my goals and read a book.

Morning activities

What you will do in the morning depends on your goals and the systems you need to follow to accomplish them.

  • Physical activity (working out, running, swimming, yoga)
  • Meditation
  • Reading (or watching courses)
  • Working on your passion project or your primary business/career
  • Spending time with your loved ones (partner, kids)
  • Preparing food (that you planned out day before)

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Takeaway

If you are reading this, congratulations for sticking with me till the end.

Thrive Global

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