I am not a natural-born morning person. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I absolutely hate mornings.
Yes, I’ve tried to view them with an optimistic, sunshiney outlook that reminds me each morning is a start to a brand new day. I’ve tried going to bed earlier. I’ve written down lists of things I can look forward to in order to inspire me to get moving. I’ve read all about my circadian rhythms. I’ve tested out different alarm sounds, written notes to myself that range from threatening to motivating, and have even convinced my poor husband to try to coax me out of bed in the morning—which usually ends with me yelling something like, “Just leave me alone!”
See? I told you—I’m just not a morning person.
If I’m being perfectly honest, it’s never really been an issue. I have the luxury of a career that allows me to work when and where I want. So, on most mornings when I’d finally make it to my desk around 9:30 or 10 AM, nothing too detrimental happened. It usually just meant I’d end up working much later in order to make it through my whole to-do list for that day.
Those later work hours really wouldn’t be such a big deal if my husband (who also happens to be the most chipper morning person I’ve ever met) didn’t work a traditional full-time job with standard hours. When he gets home for the day, I wanted to be able to step away from my computer and enjoy some time together—but, that was impossible when I was buried under piles of tasks and to-dos that I didn’t manage to get done earlier in the day.
So, I decided that I desperately needed a shift in my normal routine—which likely meant I was going to need to stop white-knuckling my comforter and get myself up at an earlier hour.
Obviously, none of the previous hacks and tactics I tried had worked. I knew it was time for me to do something drastic—something I had read about a few times, but had never quite had the guts and courage to implement myself. What is it? Moving my phone charger from the nightstand right by my bed to a spot all the way across my bedroom. Cue the horror music.
I know many of us sleep with our phones safely charging right next to our pillows—it’s convenient, particularly since most of us also use our phones as alarms. But, it didn’t take me long to realize that this wasn’t doing me any favors.
Not only was it far too easy for me to just turn off that annoying alarm beeping (usually while I was still in a half-asleep, zombie sort of state) and go right back to bed, but it also served as a huge time waster. Even when I did manage to crack open my eyes and face the day, I’d spend at least a half hour laying in bed and scrolling through emails and my social accounts.
My hope that was by moving my phone all the way across my room, I could accomplish two things. One, I’d actually get right out of bed as soon as my alarm went off—which was pretty much unavoidable, being that I had to get out of bed in order to silence it. And, two, I was hoping to shave some time off my morning by avoiding that otherwise inevitable chunk of time I spent aimlessly scrolling through my phone. By needing to actually get up and grab it, I’d already be much more intentional about what I was doing with it. Genius, right?
So, now to the question you’re all wondering: Does this trick actually work?
Well, I’ve been utilizing this technique for about the past week, and so far I’ve been astounded with the results. I’ve gotten right out of bed at 6:45 AM when my alarm rings (which I think is a pretty amazing accomplishment for someone who hates mornings). And, so far I’ve managed to resist the temptation to grab my phone and head right back to bed—meaning I’ve gotten a much earlier start on my day this past week than I ever had previously.
Even better than that, I was astounded by how much I was able to get done in the morning hours that I had previously been wasting. I credit my increased productivity not only to the extended work hours, but also to my attitude. Since I was no longer stumbling into my desk feeling groggy, frazzled, and discouraged (because I knew I should’ve gotten up earlier), I sat down feeling awake, well-fed—it’s amazing what sort of breakfast you can make when you actually have time!—and ready to tackle my work.
To make a long story short: Yes, this trick really works—at least it does for me. And, while I never want to be one of those people who makes those of you who don’t like mornings feel unaccomplished, lazy, or like you absolutely need a major change (because, hello, I’m still in your same club!), I do think this is an incredibly effective technique if you’re aiming to transform yourself into a bit more of a morning person.
So, if you’ve tried (and ultimately discarded) all sorts of different tricks to get your booty out of bed at a slightly earlier hour, I highly recommend giving this simple change a go. Trust me, this small tweak can lead to big results!
Give it a try? Let me know on Twitter how it works out for you!
Photo of happy person courtesy of Lilly Roadstones/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author