How to become a morning person

How to become a morning person

November 26, 2013

Even night owls can learn to be an early bird. Small business owner Jill Chivers has never been a morning person. But that all changed three months ago after a visit to her GP. Chivers was told she would have to exercise regularly or go on medication to lower her cholesterol levels. It was an easy decision. “It was a wake-up call,” she said. “I didn’t want to go on medication, so I now have a morning routine.” Chivers was a night owl who used to watch TV and read until midnight or 1am before rising at 8am. She now gets up at 6am every day to exercise – rain, hail or shine.“I don’t choose to do it, there’s no negotiating. It’s just like taking my multivitamins,” she says.

By incorporating more exercise into her mornings, Chivers was slowly able to turn her day around. She says she now listens to what her body needs and that can mean going to bed as early as 7.30pm.

Chivers says she has more drive for her online business, Shop Your Wardrobe, which offers programs to help shopaholics spend less on clothes.

“When I used to get up late, I had a sense of lurching into the day and it took away a sense of control,” she said.

“Now I have more energy during the morning, rather than having a sluggish start to the day.”

Not everyone can jump out of bed with a smile. But those who can are more likely to be highly productive, skilled at anticipating problems and proactive in setting goals.

Research shows those who identify themselves as morning people feel most active at 9am compared with night owls who feel most lively at 9pm.

Tiffany Quinlan, human resources director at recruitment firm Randstad, says night owls are less efficient than early risers because they are fighting the body’s natural sleep cycles.

“Studies show we’re better in the morning – fresher, quicker, smarter,” Quinlan says.

“Physically, the body needs to rest. It’s like a car; you can’t just keep pumping petrol in it and keep going.”

Quinlan says those who stay up late are more prone to making simple mistakes.

“Things are much clearer in the morning and at the end of the day people tend to be in panic mode or have a sense of urgency,” she says.

“It’s all about work-life balance. We talk about it a lot, but you actually have to have it.”

The culture of “working back late” to impress the boss is still common in Australia’s corporate sector. But Quinlan says more managers are wising up to healthier working hours.

“It’s not about working longer; it’s about working smarter,” she says.

“If I saw someone arrive early for work and leave late, it worries me because I think they’re not in control.”

If you want to be the early bird who gets the worm, try these tips:

•     Change sleep patterns. Gradually ease yourself into an earlier waking time. If you are aiming for 7am but usually rise at 8am, try setting your alarm for 7.45am. Once you’re accustomed to this, program your alarm earlier at 15-minute intervals until you get to your ideal waking time. Eventually, your body will feel tired earlier and will become so familiar with your sleep schedule, you won’t need to set an alarm.

•     Early exercise. The thought of this is hard enough, but the reality is tougher. But the high experienced after a stint of early morning exercise makes it all worthwhile. People who work out in the mornings say they feel more energised, feel happier and sleep better.

•     Switch off. Leave work at work. But if you have to work late, try to switch off all electronic devices for at least half an hour before going to bed. Staring at a brightly lit screen can overstimulate the brain and suppress a hormone called melatonin, which helps induce sleep. An enforced wind-down period will give your body and mind a chance to settle.

•     Prepare. It’s easier getting up early when you have prepared your clothes, lunch and any tools of the trade. Being organised gives you less reason to hit the snooze button and reduces the chance of stressful decisions eating up your time.

•     Focus on the positives. They say: you snooze, you lose. And while night owls snooze, morning people are enjoying first dibs. There’s the early morning quiet time and the opportunity it provides for reflection, plus uninterrupted time for planning, goal setting and research.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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