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January 5AM Wake Up Challenge

Hey there! Surprised to hear from me? I know what you’re thinking…

Back to back days of posts?? For the first time ever?? And after I just mentioned yesterday that once a week posts would probably be the norm this year?? Who in the world is this!?

Well, this one was a shocker for me as well, but I did mention that I’d be posting more if I had the combination of time and/or more to say.

And boy do I have something to share with you all! I’m totally jazzed by the big goals I set for myself this year, I did not want to waste any time getting started.

The problem is, my big goals require both my time, and energy: something I seemed to be lacking at the end of last year. I decided I wanted to do something about that…

Enter my January challenge: wake up at 5AM!!

Waking Up At 5AM… Are You Crazy??

For pretty much my whole life, sleeping in as long as possible has been my preferred choice.

Obviously with schooling and a full time job that isn’t always possible, but nevertheless it was the mindset. I’d prefer to stay up later and then subsequently get up later – still giving my body the sleep it needs. (Maybe my former weekend hobby also had something to do with that these past several years….)

So why in the world would I try this 5AM wake up challenge!?

After all, the only time I’ve done something like this in the past was when I was forced to, via early morning college football workouts and extra OT shifts at the cardboard box factory. (<– ok not forced but I needed that extra money!!)

Surprisingly difficult to find an image of a human yawning…. so here is a cat 🙂

Well, during this past year of blogging, I realized something about myself. As a chronic procrastinator most of my blog posts are written the day before.

As time went on, the night before turned into the morning of, as I found I lacked the concentration and focus to write after long days of work. Thus, I’d set my alarm early, somewhere between 5-6AM depending on how much I had left to write and would then finish it.

Doing this several times, I realized something interesting: I was much more efficient and productive when writing in the mornings. What would sometimes take me several hours to write at night (staying up very late), would only take me 2 hours max in the morning.

Maybe it was the self imposed deadline looming that forced me to concentrate. But either way there’s no denying it has been a much better use of my time to do it this way.

I would be tired by the end of the day for sure, but that’s only because my body was not very used to getting up this early, and the abnormality would throw off my schedule.

Keeping this is mind, I looked more into waking up early to see if this was something worth trying more regularly.

The Benefits of Waking Up Early

In my research I was surprised to find there were a whole other host of benefits to waking up early than what I had noticed myself.

Even better is if you make it your regular schedule, so your body has time to adjust to it. Trying to do it one to two times a week like I had been doing doesn’t seem to quite have the same effect (hence why on those days I got very tired after my initial burst of productivity).

A few of the benefits I am most intrigued by are:

  • More energy
  • Better organization
  • More time to exercise
  • Better sleep
  • Fewer distractions
  • Better mental health

If you think about these, most of them make sense.

Waking up earlier gives you a lot more time before work. You can fill this with doing any number of things – whatever you prioritize.

Maybe that is exercise, or organizing your life and setting daily goals. It could be simply stretching or meditation to give you focus. Maybe it’s time to work on a side hustle you have outside your day job.

As a bonus, most people do not rise this early, providing you with fewer distractions to get whatever it is you want accomplished.

More energy makes sense to me as well. From experience, I have more energy in the mornings than I do later in the day, simply because I have not experienced decision fatigue from the thousands of decisions we make on a daily basis.

I am intrigued about better sleep and whether that will work for me, but I suppose getting on a set sleep schedule can’t hurt.

All of this combined – better sleep, more energy, organization, exercise, etc. is the perfect recipe for better mental health – something everyone should be prioritizing.

5AM Wake Up Challenge

Despite stumbling on to this idea from my own experience this past year, I do know of many others who wake up early.

J Money at Budgets are Sexy has been doing this for years, and J at Millennial Boss put together a list of a few other bloggers who have done it/are doing it as well. Heck, my own parents and several coworkers I know wake up early anywhere between 4:00 – 5:30AM.

It’s time I gave this a real shot to see if it’s for me or not. I’m intrigued by the possibilities!

In this challenge, time, energy and productivity are what I’m after.

Before, the only extra time during the week I had was after work, when I lacked energy and productivity after a long day of work.

This made it difficult to accomplish some of my goals such as consistently working out, as who wants to workout when they are exhausted??

With my extra time in the mornings, I have big plans, including getting regular workouts in, writing for the blog, reading, and spending time figuring out ways to make that extra side hustle money this year.

While I was initially just going to do this on the weekdays, in order to fully adjust my body I think it’s best to give it a shot the entire month – weekends included.

If I like the results, this could be a permanent change! If not, I can always adjust to find some sort of happy medium. Worst case, I just go back to what I was doing before. What is there to lose!?

Nevertheless, I’m excited to start off 2019 on this note and to see what can be accomplished with this “new found” time! 🙂

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Do you wake up earlier than needed? If so, why? Have you noticed you get better sleep/more energy? If not, have you considered trying it out?

17 thoughts to “January 5AM Wake Up Challenge”

  1. Good luck. It’ll be interesting to see how things go when you (hopefully) follow up with progress reports throughout the year. From the way I’m reading, it sounds like you don’t plan to cut sleep, just adjust your schedule?

    1. Thank you! Yes I’ll definitely be providing updates along the way. Yep you got it though. My body needs at least 7-8 hours to be functional, so I’ll just be moving up my bedtime and replacing unproductive hours after work, with productive hours before work and not trading sleep

  2. Hmm, this is interesting. I don’t know if I’d do this myself. For one, I don’t see how it promotes better sleep. To still get 8 hours of sleep, you’d have to be asleep at 9pm, not just getting in bed. That means probably getting in bed at 8:30. To me, that’s just crazy haha.

    I usually wake up between 7 and 7:30 during the week (going to bed at varying times between 11 and 12) and I sleep as late as possible on any non-work days. I am not a morning person and I’d never sit down to do work or other things early in the morning. I just wouldn’t be able to focus as I know I have to leave for work within a few hours. I am much more productive during the day or in the evening.

    1. Haha yea it will be a challenge getting to bed earlier for sure. I have read studies that you supposedly get better sleep going to bed earlier (even if you get the same hours of sleep just going to bed later) which is why I want to test out that hypothesis as well.

      Hey if you’re more productive at those hours you should definitely keep doing what you’re doing. For me it wasn’t working which is why I wanted to change it up and try something different.

  3. Back-to-back posts AND waking up at 5am?… yep, pretty sure this isn’t you, it’s aliens posting! Just kidding (mostly), good luck with the challenge! I’m gonna go ahead and say this’ll be way harder than no screens before bed 😅

  4. Good luck with the challenge. I usually wake up between 0420 and 0630 myself depending on what the day requires.

    For what it’s worth, here are some things that help me stick with those wake-up times:

    1. V. Difficult, I know, but try to new disciplined about getting to bed early so you can get a decent 7 / 8 hours sleep.

    2. Have an alarm clock sound that you like, for me that means a nice gentle sound with slowly increasing volume. When I changed to Apple’s Bedtime alarm, instead of harsher sounding alarm clock, I enjoyed waking up much more.

    3. One other favourite feature of Bedtime on the iPhone is using it to set a reminder to go to sleep. If I’m up reading and I see my sleep reminder pop up I make a beeline for bed. Left to my own devices, I’d stay up reading and miss out on valuable sleep otherwise.

    4. Place the alarm clock away from your bed if required. This will force you to get out of bed to switch off the alarm instead of simply hitting snooze.

    5. Pack your bags / lay out any required food / clothing etc… the night beforehand before you go to sleep. Pre-prepare as much as you can, e.g. morning snacks, vitamins, protein shakers, you name it. If everything is laid out and ready for you when you wake up its easier to get the day started asap when you wake up.

    6. Ideally have an appointment / timetable / somewhere to be / something to do in the morning. 0420 or 0520 days are much easier in a way than the 0630 ones for me. When I’m waking up early is because I have somewhere to be, e.g. an exercise class. If I turn up late class will start without me!

    7. Remember, *shock horror*, you may not always spring out of bed filled with energy, optimism and excitement for the day ahead. If you happen to wake up feeling a bit tired or grumpy that’s fine. Just try and click into your morning routine for that day as soon as possible. I tend to find that when I have a productive start to the day I’ll quickly start to feel better regardless of how I felt when I first got out of bed.

    Once again good luck and let us know how you get on.

    HH

  5. I started this last week myself. I’m trying to get used to 7 hours per night of sleep and waking up at 5 AM on weekdays. I already notice each day is getting a little easier. In launching my blog I’m finishing up publishing 30 blog posts in 30 days and this has been tremendously helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Welcome to the club, Holmes! You’ll find this helps in many areas, not just blogging. I’ve taken to doing some partial workouts and toyed with playing catch up on work stuff too. Another unexpected benefit is you’re ready for those early morning flights at 7AM where you need to be at the airport an hour and a half ahead of time.

  7. Good luck. I haven’t been waking up at 5 AM early but have been waking up at between 5:45 to 6:30. It’s nice waking up that early as the kids are still in bed and I can get an hour or so to myself doing various things.

  8. That’s interesting, I did not know that. It is worth a shot then.

    Yes, everyone should do what’s best for them. If you’re wasting time later in the evenings and don’t mind getting up early, this could be good!

  9. I have thought about getting up that early to workout, walk my dog, have a peaceful breakfast, among other such things for years. The problem of a baby and now son who is not a good sleeper has broken up my sleep too much to make that possible. I am always dreaming about 6, let alone 8, hours of uninterrupted sleep. Things are improving, and I am now seriously thinking about trying that again. For me, though, 6 AM is all I would need for much of what I would like to do; just take my dog for a long morning walk.

    1. Yea 5am is a pretty arbitrary number to be honest, but it’s really about what works for you in your individual situation. If 6am gives you enough time to get the things done that you want to, then it could be worth giving a shot!

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