How to wake up early and stay productive the whole day

When you think about productivity, one of the first things that comes to mind is how to wake up early and stay productive.

Really, it’s one of the simplest habits we can affect in our routine, which plays a significant role in our schedule. We sleep regularly, so it’s definitely a repetitive habit (our body’s built this way). Besides that, we sleep for a relatively long period of time (somewhere like ⅓ of our life).

No wonder we have so many productivity articles answering the question ‘How to wake up early’. Well, believe it or not, but I myself am writing this article at 6:23am my time, as part of my habit to wake up early and write something! So, how do you do that too?

Why waking up early sounds productive

Before we dive deep into the ‘secrets’ of how to wake up early, I’d suggest discussing the whole approach itself. Why should you wake up early and why does someone think that it’s productive at all?

Well, although – as I said before – I also want to develop this habit for myself, I can’t agree that it’s always productive. You can easily wake up early and do non-productive stuff too. 

For example, last week I woke up at 5:40am and got distracted by Reddit news. I caught myself scrolling the feed for maybe half an hour. Was it productive? Definitely no! I’d be better spending this time sleeping extra – that’s for sure. Or even reading a book.

I have friends who wake up ‘late’ (compared to my schedule), like at 10 or 11am. However, it’s hard to call them ‘unproductive’, – they manage to do lots of stuff during their day, and it absolutely proves that ‘wake up early’ doesn’t equal ‘productivity’ at all. You can wake up late, work late, and achieve amazing productivity for your body and mind.

Why I feel better when waking up earlier

Speaking of myself, I can say that I simply feel better when waking early in the morning. I feel good, because I realize that I have more time ahead to do stuff. It may include time before working hours, for example, which I can spend in a way that I want. It gives me a good feeling.

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On the other hand, if I wake up late –  I feel bad. 

First of all, physically I feel that my mind isn’t fresh. You know this feeling when you sleep for too long, right? 

Second, I understand that I have ‘less time in the day’, which also makes me feel worse. It’s not that rational, because sleeping more doesn’t mean you ‘waste time’, it’s just my subjective perception.

But these factors give you a better idea on why I prefer starting my day sooner, than later. And I must say it’s been like this throughout my whole life.

If you live in a forest and wake up early – this is what you can see! I found this pic on pixabay, though 😀

5 simple points that will help you wake up early and fresh

Well, since I practice implementing this habit into my daily routine as well, I’ll be happy to share a few simple steps that allow me to wake up earlier. I’m sure that at least some of them will be helpful for starting such a routine for you too.

Alarm setting

When we speak about adjusting our sleep time, naturally one of the most effective tools is an alarm. I have my first alarm set to 5:43 and second to 6:24. I don’t have a clear idea why these are not 5:30 or 6:00 – it just sounds better to me 🙂

Alarm setting works for waking up early. The question is whether you wake up fresh enough to stay productive for the whole day

Sometimes I notice that I disable my alarm and fall back to sleep. Usually this happens when I don’t have enough time to sleep well, so I don’t blame myself too much for it. It’s just another signal that you should go to bed earlier. 

If you want to push yourself harder and avoid falling back to sleep – you can put your alarm clock further from your bed, so there will be no chance to avoid getting up. In such a case you should think about your roommates and neighbors, who’ll be forced to listen to your alarm sound, though.

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Go to bed early

As I mentioned previously, one of the most important things to do in order to wake up early is going to bed early. It may sound hard to fall asleep soon, if you used to go to bed later. I have this problem as well.

If it’s the case – you’ll just need a transitioning day. By ‘transitioning’ I mean the day when you’ll: 

  • go to bed late (as you used to do)
  • wake up early (and feel sleepy)
  • then go to bed early, as you wanted

Note that this will be a day that might be not that productive for you due to natural lack of sleep. Another important tip is to avoid going to sleep midday. Otherwise the ‘transition’ won’t work and you’ll go to bed later this day as well.

Prepare everything upfront

Before you go to bed, you should know what you plan to do in the morning once you wake up. It’s important for sustaining this habit and making it easier to follow.

For example, if I plan to go for a morning run, I’ll prepare my running suit and shoes upfront in a place where I’ll find them easily. 

OR: If I plan on writing a blog post, I’ll make sure to put my laptop with charger in a visible spot that I’ll see in the morning.

In other words, don’t leave yourself space for hesitation (once you wake up). Otherwise you risk doing the wrong thing (like checking the news feed, just like me).

Use incremental steps

Important note which can be applied to every habit you’re trying to start: small steps are better than drastic moves. 

Simple example: if your regular time to wake up is 7:00am, it’s much harder for you to get up at 4:00am than at 6:30am. 

In other words, don’t try to rush things. The habit of waking up early is more like a marathon, than a sprint.

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Make a Plan

Consider having a plan of what your ideal time to get up is and when you want to achieve it. I would also recommend you to list it somewhere (Google Sheets sounds like the best option for it!) – to be able to check your progress regularly.

Having a plan makes achieving any goal multiple times easier.

The stock-ish photo that demonstrates how your morning routine might look like when you wake up early 😛

Ask yourself if you enjoy your day

Last but not least is the question: do you really enjoy your routine?

Based on my experience, waking up early makes you feel sleepy sometimes. Some days you’ll struggle to follow your routine. Some days will definitely be harder than others. Despite these downsides, it can also be fun.

In my case, I get an extra productive hour each day. The hour that lets me stay undistracted, focused and actively working on something I enjoy. That’s why – despite having all the challenges to keep this routine for every day – I force myself to keep waking up at 5:40.


If you are asking how to wake up early – it means you definitely have some ideas on why you need it. If you know why you need it, and you have a plan on how to achieve this result, you will absolutely be able to do so.

There is no magic behind waking up early. All you have to do is to prepare yourself properly for such a schedule switch.