The early morning has gold in its mouth.
- Benjamin Franklin

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Tip #16. GTD For Early Risers - Create A Morning Ritual

After using Tip #11 - Have Important Things Planned For The Morning I’ve come up with few interesting findings. Primary one was that you will not have enough exciting things to do for every morning in your life. So after some time I found that I just wake up, turn my alarm clock off, and … go back to sleep, because as I wake up I simply talk myself into things I planned for the morning being not that important... I’ve started to neglect this “importance hack” altogether, but right at that time I was re-reading David Allen’s book Getting Things Done again.

GTD has this excellent concept of Next Actions lists. These lists are your To-Do lists in which actionable things are defined discretely into outcomes and concrete next steps. Basically, you put items in this list in the order of how you’ll physically do them. How do you use this concept for waking up? You create your morning ritual. First, start planning around routine things you do every morning and include those as items into your actions plan. I have developed detailed “step by step” plan of my actions since the moment wake up alarm goes off. It looked like this:

  1. get off the bed
  2. turn off alarm clock
  3. turn on computer
  4. put slippers on
  5. open window
  6. go to kitchen and drink glass of water
  7. go to bathroom and wash my face
  8. ...

Once you have created the plan, start following it as soon as you wake up in the morning. Don't worry in the beginning if you don't wake up at the time you planned. Your goal is to program yourself to follow the plan. Once you are done with first item on your list – switch to the next one, do that next action. Do not rationalize, just follow the plan and focus your mind on action. It worked very well for me because my actions were happening almost automatically - being not completely awakened definitely helps here. And in my case, by the time I get out of the bathroom I’m completely awakened! Following the plan, switching to next action every time prevents you from returning to the bed.

When you do it for first few times, write down your plan and put it close to your alarm clock (that’s what I did). Eventually you will develop a morning ritual that is easy to follow and helps you organize your day (at least its morning part). Even after you have built a strong habit to get up early, planning your morning time in advance is still a good idea.

Read more about GTD on David Allen's web-site.

P.S. If you still wonder what are the reasons to get up early in the morning and what things you could do after you get up, check my Reasons to Wake Up Early page.

Added: 7/5/2007 08:24:40 AM

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Top 10 Wake Up Tips

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1. To wake up early, go to bed early
2. Do not eat before going to bed
3. Use multiple alarm clocks
4. Have important things planned for the morning
5. Start Slowly But Start Now
6. Put Yourself Under Time Pressure
7. GTD For Early Risers - Create A Morning Ritual
8. Avoid Alcohol, Tobacco And Caffeine
9. Practice Waking Up
10. Wake Up Tricks Of The Trade (Video)

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