Our Managing Director Gilles Baudet has a phrase he likes to say in the morning: “beast mode on”
He is notoriously and quite enviously regarded throughout the company as the type of Morning Person few of us can even dream of (geddit?)
Now a couple of weeks ago he gave us some of his daily habits for success and a lot of them were related to his morning routine – which got me thinking – what other habits are out there that help people turn “beast mode on” in the morning and hit the day running?
So after asking around HQ and scouring the internet I’ve put some of the best wake-up routines to the test…
Start the night before:
How can you get better at waking up before you’re even gone to sleep you wonder? It’s a concept called sleep hygiene and it covers everything from bedtime to whether your phone should be beside you or not (hint: it shouldn’t). It stands to reason that if you’re better at falling asleep then logically you should be better at waking up, let alone more rested and ready for the day ahead.
For instance – always make sure to go to the loo before bed – if your body wakes you up for a 3am trip to the loo you can throw off your whole sleep cycle and ruin your attitude for the next day.
Start turning off the lights above you and opt for softer lamps instead – we often spend all day flooded in artificial light meaning your body is tricked into thinking it should be awake when it shouldn’t.
And another aspect of sleep hygiene is putting down your electronics an hour before you go to bed. This was definitely the hardest part of the experiment for me. I’m always clutching my phone, and appallingly feel lost, sometimes literally (thank you Google Maps!) without it. But an hour without your phone before bed can be surprisingly useful. I started moisturizing before bed (a first for me), and picking the next day’s outfit before laying in out ready to go in the morning. Knowing I didn’t have to waste time the next morning uhming and ahing over an outfit made a nice change to the routine.
Do something that makes you want to get out of bed each day:
This seems pretty obvious but if you loathe your job, chances are you’re not bounding out of bed every day to get to it. Your ability to get out of bed depends on how motivated you are for the day ahead of you, so if you have zero motivation you have zero desire to get out of bed.
This was Gilles personal recommendation, “I love what I do, I love the energy, the atmosphere and the industry, that’s why I’m so excited every single day” so find what it is that you love doing and then that daily struggle out from under the bed covers won’t seem so bad!
Now I do love my job, The Interactive Team HQ is a terrific environment to work in, we have in-jokes, and parties, and genuinely care about each other and the work we do but I still couldn’t attack the day with the same vigour as the Managing Director, Gilles Baudet. Instead what I started doing was scheduling one really exciting task for each day, giving me something I was just dying to get into work to do – and I’ve been early to work every day this week.
Exercise in the morning:
Now, I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t managed to do this one yet! But I’m assured by the girls in the adjacent office that it is a must for becoming a Morning Person. A gym has just opened around the corner from our Glasgow HQ so I know a lot of the other staff in the office have joined so I suppose I’ll drag myself along – but the science behind it is sound.
The logic is that, by exercising first thing in the morning you’re kick starting your metabolism and signaling your body that it needs energy for the day ahead. Also, by the time the end of the day rolls around – who has the energy for a workout – let alone the motivation?
Other benefits are that allegedly an early morning workout encourages you to eat healthier throughout the day, so its really win-win – so now I really don’t have any excuses for skipping the morning gym sessions with the rest of the office!
Resist the temptation of the snooze button:
I told a lie earlier, this was the hardest part, but while I managed to put down my phone each night I did not manage to swear off hitting the snooze button every day. Rationally I know I can, but it was very hard changing the habit of a lifetime.
You see, when that first alarm rings out, truly, how good is the quality of your sleep for an additional 10 minutes? Rubbish. Now if you’re like me your body has learnt to sleep through the sound of your alarm, despite it being beside my ear, and when you do eventually wake up you’re still groggy. Well there’s an explanation for that. If you wake during your REM (rapid eye movement) cycle you’ll remain tired as your body hasn’t completed the sleep cycle.
To tackle this common issue there are a plethora of apps out there that monitor your breathing and movement while you’re asleep, waking you at the best possible time to maximize wakefulness for the next day – meaning no more snooze button!
So which technique worked best for me? Well, surprisingly the phone free zone had a very large effect on me, though maybe a whole hour was pushing it! Having a task I was looking forward to each day waiting for me at The Interactive Team HQ also made a difference in my motivation for getting out of bed – but as for exercise and eliminating my snooze button – the jury is still out.