Updated: Mar 7
For years, as student, I have been trying to find a way to utilize my time throughout the day to be as productive as possible but, I never really found anything that worked for me. I always felt that each day went by without doing the things that really mattered for me. I had time to study but I didn't have time to do activities like exercise, join societies, new online courses, socialize with friends.
After having a discussion with my father, I came to realize what I had been doing wrong; I wasted the most useful hours of my day sleeping! The morning routine I will describe to you has fundamentally increased my ability to balance university, social life and extracurricular activities.
"If you win the morning, you win the day"
Our morning routines shape the way the rest of our day will move on and have a big impact on our daily lives. I'm sure I am not the only one that, if I wake up in a bad mood or something goes wrong in the morning then I spend the rest of my day feeling "unlucky" or that this day is "not my day".
So, you ask, what is the morning routine I have applied to achieve a balanced life?
1. "Create your own sunset" Your morning routine starts the night before. Our bodies are programmed to sleep when the sun goes down. However, it is usually not possible to go to sleep at 6:00 or even 4:00 pm! Create your own sunset by setting your devices to night mode after 8:00 pm. We spend so many hours scrolling through social media and working on our laptops, especially during the pandemic, with the introduction of online learning. This exposes us to a large amount of blue light, which might not affect us during the day, but it can disrupt our sleeping schedule. Setting your devices to night mode at 8pm reduces blue light exposure and will help you fall asleep easier!
2. Wake up early. Study shows that individuals whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success. Think about this: If you wake up at 6:00 am, and study for 6 hours you will have finished by 12:00 pm! The rest of your day is free to do other activities that interest you. It might be difficult at first to wake up at 6:00, so try doing it gradually. Be consistent and build a habit that will set you up for success.
Activity: Tomorrow, try to wake up 1 or half an hour earlier than your usual wake up time. If you wake up at 10:00 am, try to wake up at 9:00 am. The next day, wake up half an hour earlier, 8:30 am. You will find it easier and easier to wake up early!
3. Download an alarm that wakes you up at your lightest phase of sleep. While sleeping, we fluctuate between a deep sleep mode and a lighter sleep mode. Alarms can track these fluctuations and wake you up during your light sleep phase! This has helped me wake up in a better mood, ready for the day! The alarm I am using is called SleepCycle (not sponsored) and it allows me to set a 30 minute window during which it detects when my I am at my lightest phase and wakes me up. This is a life-changer and I highly recommend implementing it in your life.
4. Write your to-do list the night before. Before you go to sleep, take some time to make a schedule with all the tasks you have to do the following day. I write down the tasks I want to complete in an order of most important to least important and prioritize them accordingly. It is vital to complete the most important tasks first because in the morning you have the clearest mindset and highest energy levels. Having the tasks in front of you will motivate you to complete them. Give yourself a reward if you complete all the tasks for the day!
5. After waking up, write 3 long term goals and 3 things you are grateful for. Being grateful will help you receive more success by acknowledging what you already have. Writing down your long term goals is a reminder that you are working towards a bigger purpose and is motivating! Try to have your goals in front of you as you study, next to your to-do list.
6. Stop procrastinating! I cannot stress this enough. Procrastination is your worst enemy. Even if you feel like you have too much time on your hands to do your task, don't leave it until there is just enough time or even worse: last minute. Economize your time and use it wisely. Think how you can benefit your future self by being productive right now!
7. Take 2 capsules of StudyBoost 2 hours before you study. StudyBoost contributes to the production of serotonin and adrenaline, which are hormones responsible for your mood and brain focus. It is safe for your health so you may take more than 2 if required.
Now you have everything you need to start your day!
McIntyre CK, Roozendaal B. Adrenal Stress Hormones and Enhanced Memory for Emotionally Arousing Experiences. In: Bermúdez-Rattoni F, editor. Neural Plasticity and Memory: From Genes to Brain Imaging. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2007. Chapter 13. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3907/
About the Author
Rosa Tsucala is a Bsc Biomedical Science student at King's College London with interests in pharmacology and pharmacogenomics.