How to Turn Yourself into a Morning Person
Anna Magee gets up at 4.30 every morning — and, she says, so should you
‘Anna, get up, you’re wasting the day,” said my dad from bottom of the stairs, clutching a cup of black coffee. It was 6.30am and since he’d woken up, he’d put up two shelves, done some emails and read the paper. I, meanwhile, barely managed to pee before going back to bed then battling my snooze button at 8am.
However, decades later I have followed his example and become a morning person; slowly training myself to need less sleep by clawing back my wake-up time by half an hour every few months. For the past five years, I’ve been waking up at 4.30am, and the difference it has made to my life, my health and my productivity is nothing short of a miracle.
That sounds evangelical because it is.
Ask any early riser and you’ll get a similarly annoying-to-the-uninitiated degree of enthusiasm about the benefits of their morning routine. Over-achieving early risers include Barack Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow and US Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Now, a new book, The Miracle Morning by former depressive turned early riser Hal Elrod, claims that even the most committed night owl can become a lark by following six simple habits.
Seven years ago, in the midst of a deep depression and heavily in debt, a friend suggested to Elrod that he should start running in the mornings. He felt better almost instantly and began wanting more out of his mornings. “I googled what successful people do in the mornings and collected a list of the six most common practices,” he remembers. “Jim Carrey does affirmations, Will Smith does visualisation, so instead of doing just one, I tried doing them all for 10 minutes a day before work.”
Within six weeks, Elrod’s depression had lifted. Since then, he’s identified six morning practices that make up a Miracle Morning programme and packaged them into an acronym.
— Silence or meditation
— Affirmation (that’s telling yourself positive things)
— Visualisation (envisaging positive things in your mind)
— Exercise - just 10 minutes
— Reading inspirational material such as biographies
— Scribing - writing in a diary.
Do each one of these for 10 minutes daily back to back upon waking and you can be transformed into a level-headed productivity machine, the theory goes. All by getting up just one hour earlier.
Since the book was published in America in 2012 it’s remained in the top 100 Amazon self-help bestsellers list.
Like Elrod, I was depressed when I started waking up early. Unhappy in a job going nowhere, I started exercising in the mornings, more as self-medication by endorphins than any grand plan. I too felt better quickly and began slowly spending more time awake before 8am, getting ahead on work or emails.
I got more done, felt stronger and more able to handle my professional environment and, feeling more confident, eventually got the guts to leave my job and work for myself. Since then, I’ve since launched a web business, bought and renovated a property, and written three books.
Now I wake up, do some yoga, write and meditate, before walking to work to be at my desk by 7.30am for a head start on tough projects before the phone starts ringing. I sleep five to seven hours a night. On the days that that leaves me feeling a bit tired I’ll just have an extra cup of tea. My mornings give me the one thing that post-10am can’t - time that’s mine.
I’m not trading that in for a lie-in.
— The Daily Telegraph