How to Have a Good Morning When You're a Night Owl
I thought that having a baby would instantly make me a morning person. It seems like all moms are morning people, happily sipping on coffee in the silence before their kids wake up. I would LOVE to be that mom. Instead I’m jumping out of bed and rushing to the bathroom to splash water on my face as soon as Violet starts crying in the morning.
It’s not like I don’t aspire to be a morning person. I will click literally every link to an article about how to make your mornings better, the things successful people do every morning, how to start your day right. I read it all and still I am not a morning person. Yes, I did believe that wishing, hoping, and a bit of research would make me a morning person. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. Like I honestly thought 30 years of being cranky every morning was going to change overnight! Instead I have slowly figured out how to make my night owl self deal with waking up bright and early.
So what’s the secret to having a good morning when you’re a night owl?
Prepare the night before.
Mornings, just like most things, are easier when you’re prepared for them. I hate having to do a lot of things when I’m at less than 100%, which is me any time before 9am. Rather than try to do all the things and start the day off cranky and frustrated, do a few things the night before.
Prep your lunch or part of your lunch at night.
I have to credit my loving husband for introducing this hack into my life. In order to get my slow self out the door on time, he started putting together parts of my lunch for me the night before and throwing them in my lunch box. It makes both of our mornings that much easier, especially since Nick doesn’t have to wait for me anymore.
It’s all about keeping it simple too; I usually do snacks in a baggie or put out a piece of fruit that I want to bring. I am not creating full-on mason jar salads or doing elaborate meal prep. Doing some lunch packing the night before makes less work in the morning. And bonus: you don’t end up wasting money buying lunch out because you forgot it/didn’t have the time to make it!
Plan out what your outfit for the next day (or for the whole week!)
Awhile back I read an article about an art director who wears the exact same thing every day to work. It discussed how having a work “uniform” (even one you create yourself) can cut down on decision fatigue, the mental exhaustion our brains get when we have to make too many decisions in a day.
I really feel this. Deciding what to wear each day is probably one of my least favorite morning tasks. I know, weird for someone who loves putting together outfits. But I’m tired and having to look halfway decent takes a lot of brain power when I’m tired.
Now it’s time to go back to elementary school when your mom laid out your clothes for you every day. Be your own mom and lay out your clothes the night before. If you’re going for extra credit, create your own work “uniform” in your closet or plan out your whole week’s work outfits on Sunday.
Brain dump tomorrow’s to-do list
The easiest way to set yourself up for a good morning is to know what’s coming that day. That’s why I spend a little bit of time each evening brain dumping my to-do list in my planner.
How is a brain dump different than just writing out a to-do list? Absolutely everything I need to do in a day, except for the usual every day tasks that I won’t forget to do. I get specific and start the task with the action needed to get it done. Like if I need to clean up in the bathroom, instead of just writing “clean the bathroom” I might write “wipe down bathroom countertops” and “scrub bathroom floors”, etc. It takes away the constant narrative of what needs to get done, even down to the minute details.
Another positive of brain dumping your to-do list is that it keeps your brain from buzzing through everything you need to do the next day when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Besides prepping the night before, add little details to make your morning good.
Create an evening routine you love.
Wait, we’re talking about mornings, right? For me, a good morning starts the night before. Rather than going to bed dreading the sound of my alarm, or right now the sound of a go-go-go baby, I focus on enjoying the evening. I don’t always do the same things: some nights I spend a good half hour reading a book, another I might do a quick sheet mask. I always have a face cleansing routine.
If you’re a night owl, enjoy the night when you’re most yourself. Create an evening routine that makes you feel like you have a good, fulfilling day. That feeling of fulfillment and enjoyment will have you go to bed happy and calm and, hopefully, ready to have a good morning.
Have something you’re looking forward to when you wake up.
Whenever I have something difficult to get through, I try to add a reward to it. Yes, getting through an early wake-up is something that needs a reward. For me, I like to go to bed thinking about my cup of Trader Joe’s organic earl grey tea. Which is followed closely by a cup of coffee. Other rewards I’ve given myself just for waking up? Fifteen minutes of scrolling Instagram, a slice of homemade banana bread, or even just a hot shower. It’s the little things, you know?