For years I struggled to get out of bed on time.
My bed was too comfortable, and my day was too daunting. I’d turn off my alarm and lay in bed for an hour or two browsing the internet.
I would always feel guilty in the back of my mind. I knew browsing the internet was not the best way to start my day. It seemed wasteful. I could be doing so many other things with those hours.
I needed to figure out how to avoid these hours of wastefulness, so I tried a series of experiments that led me to wake up every morning at 6:30 without a minute spent on my phone. Here are the best techniques I found.
Get Enough Sleep
First thing first, no “life hack” or “foolproof technique” will help you get out of bed quicker if you only got five hours of sleep.
Your body isn’t ready to get out of bed after such little rest, and it makes anything you try much harder. An extremely tired person has an extremely low level of discipline.
Make sure you deal with this first; all the methods I mention below assume you’re getting enough sleep.
Now, let’s get into the good stuff.
Set Your Phone Far Away From Your Bed
This is the most important item on this list. Never ever put your phone within arm’s reach of your bed. You want to force yourself to get out of bed and walk over to your phone to turn it off.
The hardest part of waking up is getting out of bed, and this technique forces you to overcome that challenge immediately.
It also has the added benefit of ensuring you aren’t on your phone right before bed. If you charge your phone across the room, you have to put it away before you retire to your bed at night.
I put my phone in my office at night, which is down the hall from my bedroom. I have to walk across the house to turn off my alarm in the morning. I win two battles at once: I get out of bed and out of my bedroom, which reduces the chance I turn around and go back to sleep.
If you want to take it a step further, buy an alarm clock instead of using your phone. That way, you don’t have to interact with your phone at all when you wake up in the morning. The thing is a distraction machine, and it’s easy to get sucked in if you have to use it to turn off your alarm.
Get Someone (or Something) to Keep You Accountable
Tell someone, or everyone, what time you want to wake up and get your day started. Get them to ask you about it every so often to make sure you’re sticking with your plan.
This can be a roommate, sibling, parent, or anyone who will hold you accountable.
And your accountability partner doesn’t have to be a person.
Thomas Frank used a social media scheduling app to make sure he got out of bed. He scheduled a tweet to go out at 6:10 AM every day telling people he slept in and that he would pay five people $5 each. If he didn’t wake up by 6:10 to reschedule it, the tweet would go out, and he would lose $25.
If you want to do something similar, the website Beeminder will let you choose habits you want to stick to and charge you money every day that you don’t complete your habit.
Another way to keep yourself accountable is by scheduling plans early in the morning.
While I’ve figured out how to jump out of bed during the week, I’ve had a hard time sticking to that on the weekends. Getting to work on time is a motivator that’s missing on Saturday and Sunday. Many weekends I find myself sleeping much later than anticipated or lying in bed on my phone for more time than I care to admit.
But, when I schedule meetings or hangouts for early in the morning, I force myself to get up.
Scheduling breakfast with a family member or a workout session with a friend are both great ways to make sure you get out of bed quickly. It creates social pressure, which isn’t always a bad thing. It’s also a fun way to start your morning, which makes it easier to get out of bed.
Do Something Fun at the Beginning of the Day
A big part of my morning routine is eating breakfast while I listen to an audiobook.
It’s one of my favorite parts of the day, and I get out of bed looking forward to it. Doing something I enjoy in the morning motivates me to get up and start my day because the sooner I do, the sooner I get to enjoy that moment.
Sometimes I go to bed excited for the next morning because I get to have my morning breakfast. That’s how much I enjoy it. That excitement spurs me to hop out of bed and prepare for the day.
Not everything fun should be done at the beginning of the day.
I would avoid things like video games and watching TV. It’s too easy to get sucked into those and spend more time than you have on them. They are more likely to drain your energy than boost it, which isn’t something you want in the morning.
I like to do things that get me moving or wake my brain up. Yoga, reading, and walking are all good options as long as you enjoy it and won’t get sucked in. Regardless of what you do, the important thing is that it’s something you enjoy.
The comfort of your bed is much easier to overcome when you have something fun to look forward to when you get up.
A Few More Quick Tips
There are a few other things I’ve tried that aren’t as powerful as the methods above but might give you the extra push you need in the morning.
Buy a Smart Light
You can buy one smart light for fairly cheap. Program it to turn on when your alarm goes off. It’s much easier to wake up when there’s light in the room.
Buy a Super Alarm Clock
If you constantly sleep through your alarm or hit snooze 10 times every morning, you could try getting the Sonic Bomb alarm clock. It will vibrate your bed, blare your alarm at 100+ decibels, and flash red lights at you until you wake up.
Prepare the Night Before
You are more awake and therefore have more willpower at night before bed.
Use that time to make life as easy as possible for your future self. The goal should be to get yourself in a flow state in the morning. Make it easy for your future self to go from the bed to the shower to getting dressed to eating breakfast.
The easier it is, the more likely you’ll do it.
Make It a Game
I know some people who track the time they get out of bed on a spreadsheet and try to get the average time out of bed as low as possible.
Any way to gamify the situation will give you just a bit more motivation to get out of bed quickly.
Getting out of bed is often one of the hardest actions you have to take during a given day. But if you can get out of bed quickly, you set your day in the right direction.
You’ll be able to enjoy more of your morning, and you won’t have to feel guilty about waking up late.