I am a night owl. Staying up late is my natural approach to life. About 5 years ago though I realized that if I got up early I could get a lot more done. (Countless studies have shown that willpower is finite and you have less at the end of the day to create. Read Start to see the studies.)

How do I get up early? I do these 6 things:

1. I go to bed early.
Crazy, right? I am a freaking genius. But you’d be surprised how many people don’t go to bed early enough.

2. I have a clear reason to get up.
The only way I’m motivated about getting up is that I know the night before why I am going to. I need a very real reason to do something that doesn’t come naturally to me.

3. I have a fun reason to get up.
Don’t try to do something you hate in the morning. That will just give you one more reason to sleep in. Do something fun that makes you want to get out of bed.

4. I watch what I eat the night before.
Want to get a good night’s sleep? Be careful about what you eat or drink before bed.

5. I read fiction.
Tim Ferriss first talked about this in his book The 4-Hour Workweek . He said that a good fiction novel does wonders at bed time. What fails is email. Checking that is like taking digital caffeine.

6. I take naps.
I almost didn’t put this in here because this one is difficult if you have a job, but it’s true. This helps me. Again, studies like the one of the violinists in Outliers by Gladwell have shown that high performers take short naps. Can you run home for an hour in the middle of the day? Maybe not, but you can probably close your eyes for 15 minutes in your car at work.

Mornings matter and if you want more of yours, get up earlier. Andy Traub wrote a great book about it that you should check out. (It’s called The Early To Rise Experience )

As for me, well, I better get going. I have to get up early tomorrow.