The single most important factor in winning your mornings and owning your days is to get up fifteen minutes earlier and work on your number one priority before anyone else is awake. It's that simple.
In theory, that is. But with all the chaos and temptations in life, how do you do it? Well, it's easy to be well rested and get up on time when you use this 10-3-2-1-0 formula.
This system helps you get to bed on time, sleep better, and wake up the next morning well rested and ready for battle.
• 10 hours before bed - No more caffeine.
• 3 hours before bed - No more food or alcohol.
• 2 hours before bed - No more work.
• 1 hour before bed - No more screen time (turn off all phones, TVs and computers).
• 0 - The number of times you will hit the snooze button in the morning.
Stop drinking all caffeinated beverages ten hours before bed. This is generally the amount of time required for your body to clear it from the bloodstream and eliminate its stimulatory effects.
Finish eating big meals and drinking alcohol three hours before bed. This will help you avoid heartburn (gastric reflux) and interrupted sleep. Alcohol might make you feel sleepy, but it impairs your natural sleep cycle and interrupts valuable deep sleep.
End all work-related activities two hours before bed. No more taking phone calls, checking emails, reading reports, or thinking about tomorrow.
If you struggle to find the "off button" for your brain, I can relate. But at the end of your day, in order to enjoy uninterrupted time with family, in order to be present for your children, in order to forget about work problems, tasks that didn't get done, or items that need to get completed first thing in the morning, you need to do a Brain Dump. It's a simple solution that takes five minutes and requires nothing more than a blank piece of paper and a pen.
Here's what you'll do. Write down everything going through your head. Write fast and furious. Get it all out. Now take that paper and set it aside, perhaps in your office or at the front door under your car keys.
Now forget about it for the rest of the day. It can wait until tomor- row. That will help clear your mind. Do that brain dump, plan out your morning, and leave it behind so that you can wind down with family time and getting ready for bed.
Turn off all electronics one hour before bed. The blue light emitted from screens makes it difficult to fall asleep. Spend the final hour reading real books, talking with your spouse, meditating, taking a bath, or enjoying "other" activities in the privacy of your bedroom -- but do not use your iPhone or tablet, unless you want to stare at the ceiling for another hour.
The last temptation to avoid comes first thing in the morning. If you wake up to the sound of an alarm, you will be tempted to hit the snooze button. Don't. Not only will it make you late for your scripted day and interfere with winning your morning, but going back to sleep for a few minutes actually makes you more tired than if you had started your day immediately.
There are solutions to help you overcome the temptation of the snooze button. First, place your alarm across the room. That makes you get up, leave your bed, and walk a few steps before you can turn it off. By then, you're more awake and it's easier to resist the allure of snoozing. Of course, that approach could also result in divorce, or at least being told to sleep on the couch.
A second, more stoic approach is to internalize the benefits of getting up immediately.
Remember why you are doing this. It's your one and only life, one that is not rewarded for staying in bed, one that does not move forward because you stole an extra five minutes of sleep. If you want more sleep, you need to get to bed earlier, not wake up later.
You cannot miss out on your magical fifteen minutes in the morning. Don't let your opportunity slip away. You've already invested effort into the 10-3-2-1 portion of the formula. Don't let it all go to waste now.
You can do it. You've done it before, perhaps on days when you've had to get up and get to the airport on time for an early flight, and you can do it tomorrow morning, too. No excuses.
Controlling your morning and winning your days starts at minute zero. Don't lose the momentum in your life to the snooze button. Start winning your day immediately.