I'm a morning person. I get that not everyone is, and that's fine. There's plenty of debate about whether mornings are more productive or not, and I'm not going to try to convince you that you can get more done between 5 and 7 a.m. than the entire rest of the day (even though I do). However, if you want to make the most of the morning, regardless of what time you start, here are two things you should be doing starting now.
Get Ready for Bed
You can't get up at 5 a.m. if you don't go to sleep. That's not even advice--it's just common sense. It's also the biggest challenge many people face--getting to bed and actually getting enough sleep.
One way to help is to have a routine for going to bed. Start your routine at the same time, and stick to it every night. The goal is to condition yourself so that your body's rhythm will naturally prepare you for sleep. For example, my routine is that after my wife and I put the kids to bed, I plug in my iPhone for the night, change my clothes, brush my teeth, brain dump (see below), and then we watch a half-hour of TV (we're big fans of Friends). When that's done, it usually takes me less than five minutes to fall asleep. Every night.
Some of you are telling yourself that I'm making it up that it takes me only five minutes to sleep. But it's true. It makes my wife crazy. If you're one of those people who can't fall asleep no matter what, often it's driven by one of two things: Either you have way too much to do in one day, or you can't turn your brain off. The latter is usually the result of thinking about all the things you didn't get done or the things you need to do tomorrow.
If you find yourself laying in bed thinking about things, it's probably because your brain doesn't want to let go of them because you don't want to forget. So, do this simple thing: Keep a notepad and a pen next to your bed so that when all of those things race through your head and rob you of sleep, you can write them down.
And yes, you could probably do this on your phone, but I suggest you don't. Keep it simple instead. Plus, your phone has far too many distractions and you'll likely just end up checking social media or watching Netflix.
By the way, I didn't make this up. I have no idea who originally recognized the value of a simple piece of paper and a pen, but there's actually science to back it up. And, in addition to allowing your brain to stop worrying that you'll forget, it gives you a place to start the next morning. You'll already have a list of the important things you were thinking about and can get started tackling them first thing.