For the past three months, I've been waking up at 5AM somewhere between 4-6 days per week. As with every single other blogger who wakes before the sun, we can blame J. Money's "Benjamin Franklin Experiment" which I totally dismissed at first, but somewhere around mid-September embraced.
If you are inclined to try to make extra money by writing online, or otherwise doing work on a computer while online, then 5AM is the time to do it. Nobody else is awake at this ungodly hour; I am focused beyond belief, and I write faster than at any other time in the day.
Other things you could do at 5AM include a modified Matins (I don't assume you'll get many others to gather with you at 5AM unless you are a monk, but I do suggest a time of reading the scriptures and prayer), exercise (this was the time that my cross country team would do a mileage run which differed from our daily training and workouts), switch the laundry that you forgot about last night (going to do that right now), or otherwise get your hustle on.
If you've got something that's really important to you, but the structure of your day makes it tough to squeeze in, a 5AM wakeup call may be in order, but before you start waking up at 5AM, I have five little secrets that you need to know.
1. Scheduling sex becomes more important than ever
Regular (and occaisionally mind-blowing) sex is an important part of any thriving marriage. Most couples who have a healthy sex life somehow specifically prioritize sex (usually through an unspoken schedule, unless you're really into planners and agenda books and iPhone reminders).
If you're waking up at 5AM, you may find that your old schedule doesn't work the way that it used to. It is my opinion that sex is more important than hustling, so get the new sex schedule figured out ASAP. In a healthy marriage, nothing trumps good quality communication and shared values, but I'm pretty sure that good sex is a close third.
2. Decide what you've given up
Unless you were somehow enjoying 10-11 hours of sleep per night, a 5AM wake up does not come without a sacrifice. What are you willing to give up, so that you can wake up at 5AM. Usually the answer will be some combination of sleep and watching Netflix, though you might have to give up late night carousing, leisure reading, or something else entirely.
I don't suggest giving up exercise completely, but you might be able to scale back on either the frequency or length of your workouts.
3. Don't try to be an all star athlete and a hustler
If you're an adult athlete (say you run marathons, or play in weekly tennis tournaments, or have a crazy devotion to some other sport), then a 5AM wake up is likely to cut into your training schedule. If competing is important to you, then waking up at 5AM should support that goal rather than diminish it.
I am not among the people who laugh at those who are 50 years old and still ridiculously devoted to competing and winning in the athletic realm. If you want to wake up at 5AM to improve the consistency and quality of your workouts, then that's a great choice for the adult athlete.
However, if you think you're going to wake up at 5AM, work for two hours, and then have enough energy for an intense 7AM workout, you might be sadly surprised.
Your results may vary, but I personally think it's tough to have a full time commitment (like a job) and two intense part time commitments (training and a side gig) going all at once. Maybe I'm a low achiever. Prove me wrong in the comments if you like.
4. Waking up at 5AM uses some of your will power
I am all about creating systems for success. How will you workout? By making it a non-negotiable part of your day? How will you eat a healthy breakfast? By only having healthy breakfast foods available. The list can go on.
However, even the most rigorous systems creators face decisions every day, and one of the decisions you face is the decision to wake up. If you and your spouse are in this together, then you can put your alarm clock across the room and make this a little bit more of a system where you are forced awake. On the other hand, if you're flying solo at 5AM (while your spouse snoozes on), then you have to wake up to a vibrating phone, and then you have to decide. Will you wake up or not?
The decision to wake up (or even to not wake up) uses some of your limited will power, so if you're needing to say no later on, be wary that waking early makes you just a little weaker.
5. Waking up at 5AM makes you thirsty!
Even if you're a big breakfast eater (and I rival the best), you're not going to wake up hungry at 5AM. You may even feel a little queezy, but do you know what you will feel? Thirsty, beyond belief.
The first thing I do when I wake up is drink a big glass of water, but when I've woken up at 5AM, I have to drink two, and I'll spend the entire time I'm typing fantasizing about lemonade, iced tea, and cold beer. These are three beverages that I never drink in the morning, but they dance in my early morning hallucinations, like sugar plums dance in the minds of children.
I don't have a solution for the problem I've deemed morning thirst, but I think it's something you should know about before you start waking up at 5AM.
Do you wake up early? What are your biggest tips and tricks?
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.