10 Tips For The Non-Morning Person

By Karen Chin


The torturous morning wake-up ritual has become all too familiar with me. I have struggled with it since school days (however back then, having a dad that diligently woke you up at 6.15 in the morning with a threatening tone usually did the trick for me). However, it all became clear that I had a problem waking up early in the morning when I started to live independently in college and life then onwards.

I believe many people, especially the younger generation, struggle with this issue and timeliness. My idols are people who wake up early and on time, get their things sorted and pull themselves together while still having ample time to get to work at least half an hour early. Teach me, oh wise ones!




I am generally great to have working for you in every aspect except that I am frequently late. My record-breaking, epic lateness was when I was literally living five minutes’ walking distance away from my workplace, but managed to be five minutes late every day for half a month. Needless to say, my boss was very unsympathetic about whatever reasons I had for coming late.

Despite years of research, advice, tips and life hacks on time management, it all comes to nothing if you lack motivation.


I believe first and foremost, self-motivation and knowing what you want in life is the hack that will last the longest if you can master it.

Let me give you an example: My passion in life has always been music. Doing anything else in my life bores the hell out of me. However, I know that I need money to sustain me and drive me towards my goals – like get a car in the city to able to get to my gigs, or pay for vocal classes or even further my studies in music.

Working gives me money, and money enables me to achieve my dreams. Therefore, I have to be at work and have to keep in mind why I am doing what I do. If I don’t have a job or do not go to work on time, I will only make life hard for myself.




Other motivations might be having a good friend at work that you enjoy hanging out with, or some eye-candy that you fantasise about flirting with or that you maybe actually enjoy your work and find it fulfilling. Whatever it is, converting into a morning-person starts with the mind. Just look at those who are natural morning people, they sleep early, they are focused and have the right mindset when it comes to responsibilities and accountability.

Here are some more task-oriented hacks for being more of a morning person:

1. Prepare the night (or week before).

Have all your outfits or uniforms ready. Outfits can be set out the night before so that you don’t have to think about it the next day. Ironing can be done on off-days in bulk – iron everything you need for the week.

I also pack my bag for what I need the next day, so that I don’t forget the things I need. For example, some days you don’t need your laptop but on a particular day, you do – just pack it all so it won’t slip your mind when you are groggy the next morning.

Breakfasts and packed lunches can be simple or on-the-go. When you have all these everyday routines thought of in advance, you can already imagine saving a ton of time.

I believe when you prepare for the next morning, you actually have a better quality of sleep because you don’t subconsciously worry about the things that you need to do the next morning.




2. Mantra

When you first wake, remind yourself of your purpose in life. Remind yourself why you have to wake up. Psyche yourself. Sometimes I remind myself that if I am late, I will have a bad day because of the impression my colleagues and superiors will have of me. A good one to say to yourself every morning is also “You snooze, you lose”. No one wants to be a loser now, do they?

Sometimes I remind myself that I am lucky to be in the situation I am in, blessed with a job. A mind full of gratitude can really set you in the right frame of mind in the morning.

Also, before I leave the house, I tick items off in my head: “Wallet, keys, phone.” It has always been like that since I was in college when the house keys became my own responsibility.

3. Routine

Sometimes we are groggy and take a while to wake up. I used to spend a few precious minutes sitting on the toilet wondering who I was.

Create a morning routine. When in the shower, do what you have to do even if it is on autopilot. This is my hack for those foggy mornings – just start from top to bottom, that way you won’t miss anything – same with hair and makeup. When your whole morning is a routine that you can perform with your eyes closed, it will save time and be stress-free.

4. About Alarm Clocks

Some people say put the alarm out of reach, others advise setting several alarms…my dad told me to set one alarm at the crucial time, no earlier no later (this way, you will get the right amount of sleep undisturbed by earlier, ambitious alarms) and when it rings, it’s just jump up and go.

I am a snoozer and I debate and compromise with myself every morning, so this mode of thinking is like bungee-jumping or ripping off a band aid; just do it.




5. Read To Get Your Mind Working

I wake up and check my notifications and read the news. I may only do this for 5 minutes, but it wakes my mind up. The light from the smartphone screen can also be stimulating, but keep games out of your morning routine!

6. Stretch and Breathe

If you are awake on time, schedule 5 minutes for some stretching and deep breathing. The stretching really rejuvenates your body and makes you more loose and limber for the day, and the deep breathing clears your head. If you are out of time, just a quick classic whole body stretch would still do you good.

7. Look forward to breakfast

Malaysians (read: food-lovers), look forward to a generous breakfast – so don’t feel guilty, it is recommended by experts that breakfast is supposed to be the meal of the day, so go for it!




8. Prioritise Sleep

There is no other way to do this but just to try to get enough sleep. I know for some people like myself, we like to squeeze as many things as possible into a day (I figure it is because work isn’t fulfilling or up to our interest level), but we can’t possibly run on empty.

So figure out a way to balance your work and personal life with a hefty chunk of hours for sleep in between!

9. Music

Work some upbeat music into your morning routine (be aware of sleeping housemates with different work schedules, though) and let it help wake you up. Some people recommend picking a few songs according to the time you have so that by a certain song, you know you have to move on to the next task and then finally get out of the house.

I use alarms to do this at the moment, but I guess music makes it all the more fun.

10. Habits

Have everything in the same place every day. I recommend near the exit. This way, you won’t spend precious minutes that you spent getting up on time to look for keys or the like; your carelessness will ruin your day if you’re late again.

Karen chin biodata

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