For my first Productivityist blog post, I figured I should write about a topic on which I’m an expert: hitting the snooze button.
Like Mike, I consider myself a night owl. While I’ve only recently befriended mornings, I have no intention of turning into an early bird. That said, after much experimentation, I’ve found that I am infinitely more productive when I work in an empty house. So, for the good of Productivityist and my personal patience, I must loosely adapt to my partner’s 9 to 5 schedule.
Even though I enjoy my slow-and-steady morning routine, I’m a sucker for the snooze button. But why is it so easy to feel guilt-ridden when a few more minutes are required before starting the day? Does the early bird really get the worm? Not necessarily.
I’m willing to bet you don’t normally think of the snooze button as a way to be productive, but it’s time to change that. You’ve been using it wrong.
Here’s the key; when you hit snooze, don’t go back to sleep. And don’t even think about the old “I’m resting my eyes” excuse. We both know that, by some evil magic, those elusive nine minutes inevitably float away as soon as you close your eyes. So just don’t do it, okay?
Instead, with your eyes open, use this time to slowly ease into your day.
Here’s how to “use your snooze” (I set mine for nine minutes) as a productivity tool :
Minute one: Take a few deep breaths. This will make your mind become more alert and also gives you something to focus on while you struggle to keep your eyes open.
Minute two: Stretch. Small movements continue to wake up both your body and mind. Try to tense and relax different muscles as you move up or down your body. Then finish with a full body stretch.
Minute three: Sit up now and drink a cold glass of water. This will boost your metabolism and is sure to widen your eyes! A cold glass of water is one of the simplest, healthiest things you can add to your morning routine.
Minute four: Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I need to do today?” Oftentimes, when we often ask ourselves what we need to do, we’re overwhelmed by a wide variety of tasks – whether large projects or small errands. So place the first things first: focus on what’s most important.
Minute five: Begin to mentally prepare yourself for the most important thing you’ll do today. Are you giving a presentation at work? Do you have an important meeting to attend? If you use daily themes, what’s your focus for today? (If you’re still disoriented from sleep, be sure to check what day of the week it is.) If you don’t already have a daily theme, think of one or two keywords to provide focus to your day. If you’re giving a presentation: communication. Important meeting? Engagement. Writing a blog post? Creativity, conversation, hilarity. I suggest keeping a pen and paper nearby for your morning brainstorm session (as writing them in my phone tends to invite distraction).
Minutes six and seven: Plan specific ways to center your day on your theme/keyword(s). For example, my theme for Tuesdays is Writing. Unfortunately, brilliance doesn’t pour out of me as soon as I sit down to write, so I plan first. On Tuesday morning, I know I have to gear my mind to be creative and introspective. So, on that specific day, I incorporate silence, meditation, and journaling into my morning routine.
Minute eight: Plan your route. Before breakfast, I will sit and meditate in silence for five minutes (and not think about breakfast). After meditating, I will make breakfast and eat at the table with only a pen and paper. After breakfast, I will journal for five minutes about something unrelated to work. After journaling, then I turn on my computer.
Minute nine: Time to get out of bed and put your plan into action. Carpe diem!
This nine-minute wake-up routine will help you establish a mindful action plan and path toward your top priority task or goal for the day.
Ready to put this into action?
For those of you that use your phone as your alarm, here is a phone background to use when you wake up in the morning. Just save the photo and make it your wallpaper on your device. Each step is right there so you can go step by step to supercharge your day. (For anyone who doesn’t use their phone as an alarm, I’ve created a PDF download of these nine steps action for you here. It’s perfect to print out and just place on your nightstand.)
You snooze, you win.