Testing a New Routine

I have always been one of those well known creatures called ‘Night Owls’. I could happily lie awake reading, watching videos or chatting until the early hours of the morning. However, if you try to wake me up before 10am you will receive a frosty reception and I won’t be fully awake for roughly an hour and a half.

This was proving to be an unproductive and unhelpful habit. Not only would I arrive at early seminars half asleep, I’d be running late for them. The stress of running late often meant that I forgot things or didn’t have time to pack lunch, which resulted in needing to buy lunch on campus. It was a vicious cycle.

With exams and revision approaching I decided that it was time for me to adjust my routine to accommodate those intensive revision sessions in the library (you need to get there early to have any chance of getting a seat), and the 9am exams. I did my ‘research’, learning about good sleep hygiene and the recommended amount of sleep. Once I had done some research and some planning, I decided it was time to rip the bandage off and get up early.

I was planning on uploading some more vegan recipes that didn’t rely on an oven to help students who don’t have access to this. However, I wanted to add a few more and test a few out again before uploading it. So I decided that this might be interesting to someone out there. I hope that someone finds this helpful in terms of developing their own routine. I promise you that my family and friends would vouch for me being the worst person in the world before 9am – so if I can do it, you definitely can.

The Night-time Routine:

  • I put my phone and laptop on night-time mode from 8pm. This removes some of the blue light that supposedly keeps you awake for longer at night.
  • After this, I aim to put my phone down and leave it alone from 9pm.
  • Once I’ve done this I write a list of things I need to complete the next day. I include everything from lectures and reading I need to finish, to wanting to paint my nails or do some food shopping. It feels really productive and encouraging to cross things off and see how much you achieve in a day.
  • I will also pack my bag for the morning, wash my face, and prepare some overnight oats for breakfast the next day.
  • I also decided to try meditation before bed to relax and help me sleep better – I was sceptical at first and felt rather ridiculous, but it’s one of the most helpful things I included in my new routine. I found it so much easier to fall asleep and I also noticed a considerable improvement to my anxiety and stress levels.
  • I then set my alarm for 6-6.30am. The Alarm app ‘Sleep Cycle’ is fantastic at waking you up gradually – I would definitely recommend it for anyone who hates early starts. I also decided to move my phone away from my bed to force myself to get up in order to turn it off.
  • I try to make sure that I’m in bed by 10.30pm at the latest.

The Morning Routine:

  • I force myself to get out of my bed when it hits 6.30am. This was incredibly difficult in the early stages of starting out this routine, but it quickly became easy to wake up due to a higher quality of sleep.
  • I put on my dressing gown and head downstairs, empty the dishwasher and make a cup of tea. I usually listen to a podcast whilst I do this, although it varies as I’m still searching for some more podcasts to listen to.
  • By the time I have drank my tea, eaten breakfast and emptied the dishwasher it’s usually around 7.30am.
  • I’ll then have a shower and get ready for the day, bringing me to roughly 8.30am. If I have a 9am I will leave straight away with a thermos of soup for lunch. (Getting a thermos was the best thing I have ever done, highly recommend for anyone).
  • If I don’t have to leave for a 9am, I will make a start on some work. It feels great to get some work done before a lecture, even if it’s just downloading some lecture slides.

I’d like to clarify that this isn’t a routine I religiously uphold. Being a student, it’s often difficult to keep this going at the weekend – so I don’t. Unless I have work to do, I will approach the weekend with a bit more flexibility and relax a bit more. But I really recommend introducing a routine for anyone who feels unproductive or finds themselves procrastinating. I have been following this for roughly a month now, and I’m hoping to keep it going throughout exams because it has made a remarkable difference to my work habits.

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