Day 15: WAKE UP! You’re wasting time. Why I wake up at 5am daily.

30 Day Writing Challenge

Productivity is the name of the game.

Waking up early has been a game changer for me. I actually learned the benefits of waking up early by accident. It began when I started going to the gym, but found myself so sluggish and tired after work. I also felt that going to the gym after work took up all my time. This is when I made the decision to go in the mornings instead.

After a while I’d wake up early even on non-gym days. I’d lay in bed starring at my phone or I’d try to go back to sleep, until one day, I picked up the book on the desk next to me.

If I am already up, why not be productive? I find myself getting so much done in the mornings, and having more energy at night to get even more done. It’s a crazy cycle of productivity.

On a typical 5am wake up day, I do some variation of the following:

5am- Wake Up

5:05am- Walk my dog

5:15am- Make coffee, feed my dog

5:20am- Read a book

5:45am- Get ready for exercise class

6:15-7am- Exercise class

7-7:40am- Get ready for work

7:45am- Off to work

And just like that, I’ve checked off at least 3-4 things on my want to do list before most have gotten out of bed. I think for the majority of us the “Getting stuff done” argument is not enough to convince us waking up so early is worthwhile. In light of this, here are some specifics:

1. Getting IMPORTANT things done.

How many times have you said to yourself, I wish I had time to learn how to code or knit or (insert something you really want to do)? There’s always the unspoken excuse that you will do it someday when you have more time. But what really happens when you have more time? You’re so tired/jaded/unmotivated from having to deal with your day-to-day that you rather Netflix and chill, or grab Happy Hour with friends or do anything that does not require effort and your undivided attention.

Waking up at 5am will not only give you that extra time that you need, but it will definitely motivate you to get things DONE—because who wants to wake up at 5am for no good reason? It will also solve that feeling of, “I’ve been working all day and just don’t want to do anything,” since this is a pre-work activity.

2. Having more time for fun things.

The magical thing about me going to the gym in the mornings was that I got my afternoons back! I was able to go out with friends after work or attend a cool event without feeling guilty about skipping the gym. It was a win-win situation. I finish my days feeling like I’ve accomplished important things and had a little me time all while working my 9-5. It’s a really great feeling!

3. Improving your sleep cycle.

Sleeping is an art. It really is! It’s a balancing act that takes time and practice to perfect. If you don’t get enough sleep, you feel tired all day and if you get too much sleep you feel tired all day! Believe it or not, once I started waking up earlier, I started to feel more energized and awake. The science is as follows; the average adult needs between 6-8 hours of sleep per 24 hour cycle, right? So if you sleep less than that amount, you are obviously tired, but if you sleep more than that amount, you tend to feel sleepiness and grogginess throughout the day. Oversleeping is also associated with most of the same illnesses and disorders as not sleeping enough.

The bottom line is that waking up at 5am will keep you energized throughout the day while limiting your sleep time to about 6-8 hours a night— just the right amount of sleep to do it all over again and feel great!

STOP with the excuses!

I think I’ve debunked the biggest excuse— waking up early will cause you to be tired. But there are several other excuses people tell themselves, including but not limited to:

  1. I’m more of a “night owl”
  2. I sleep through my alarm
  3. My kids keep me up at night
  4. I’m not tired until 2am
  5. My job’s too demanding, I’m always tired
  6. ETC
  7. ETC
  8. ETC

Honestly, my moto has always been, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The matter of the fact is that I don’t always wake up at exactly 5am, but I try and when I don’t succeed I try again. I just keep trying until it becomes second nature and I don’t give myself the luxury of excuses.

It’s also really hard to understand the benefits of something that you haven’t tried yourself. Try it. Give it 100% effort for at least 60 days (about the amount of time it takes to form a habit) and see where it takes you.

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