How to be an early riser without an alarm clock

Autumn dawn

Creative Commons License James Jordan via Compfight

Any successful person worth their salt will tell you that being and early riser is one of the most productive habits you can ever have. But to get the habit to stick can be a tricky process. I’ve learned some techniques you can use to give you the wake up boost you need – and you don’t even need an alarm clock.

When I started to rise early I tried a variety of methods. I used Steve Pavlina’s technique of going to bed when you feel tired – regardless of how late it is and setting the alarm. I also used Leo Babouta’s method of putting the alarm back ten minutes each day until it reaches your desired time. Both techniques worked but I kept slipping out of the routine. Since then I’ve developed a system which works for me and I believe will work for you too.  Here we go.

Be prepared

  • Get breakfast ready the night before. I fill the kettle, and have 2 cups ready for tea or coffee for my wife and I. 2 bowls of porridge are ready to go. (Yes I bring her breakfast in bed every morning.  No I’m not whipped I just like spoiling her ok!)


  • Tidy your workspace. Make sure your desk is free from clutter – except for any relevant material that you intend to work on. Also make sure your computer desktop is clear to remove distraction. I use a killer little free app called Launchy which saves time clicking around for any programs I need to open – and helps keep a clear desktop environment.


  •  Plan your morning. Know what it is you intend to work on – and even make a to do list if need be. I’ve found having a set plan relaxes me before going to sleep. It also simplifies things when you go to work. Another bonus is that your subconscious mind can get to work on any ideas you may have to while you sleep.


Look forward to the mornings

  • Do something you really enjoy or a high priority task. I like to blend the two. My routine is to get up, wash, breakfast. I do physiotherapy exercises for my back and meditate. A few push ups also gets the blood circulating. The priority part consists of writing. I pick an idea for a blog post which I have and plan it out with a few bullet points. Sticking with this habit means I’ll have a ton of blog posts to fall back for when I ever get overloaded with other work.


  • Go to bed and visualize your morning. See yourself working and completing the task – and enjoying the fruits of your labour. Know deep down that you will use the time productively. You will find this eagerness greeting you when you awaken.


Early rising toolkit

  • Water – THE ULTIMATE WAKE UP JUICE! Drink at least a pint of it the night before. Very few people drink as much water as they should. Drinking a pint at night ensures that you are properly hydrated and helps you get a good sleep. This is how to wake up without an alarm clock since you’ll have to make pee pee. When you get up for a pee it will be early.  If it’s too early – just stay up and get even more done. Eventually your body will find a natural rhythm. Trust me it works!


  • Optional –  alarm clock. In an ideal world you can leave it across the room so it forces you to get up to switch it off. This can be a problem if you have a family and it wakes the house up.  My method aims to get rid of the desire to press snooze because you don’t want to go back to sleep. I love the mornings because I have filled them with good stuff that I look forward to.


I hated getting up in the morning for years until I tweaked this little system. Please give it a try for a few days and let me know if it works for you. If you have your own habits please let the rest of us know by leaving a comment.


2 Comments on "How to be an early riser without an alarm clock"

  1. Mary Bernard says:

    Hey, there! I found your post through Make a Living Writing.

    I have NEVER been able to wake early and hit the ground running. I have always wanted to be able to get up around 5 or so before my family and have some quiet time, exercise, and writing time. But I always feel like I’m such a slow starter.

    I’m going to try your methods. I’m really intrigued by what you suggest.


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