Up at 5 AM And Getting Things Done- 5 Reasons Why To Do It and 5 Ways to Make it

Waking up early to get more out of your day sounds pretty good. You can spend those extra hours to be more productive or spend more time with family and friends. In reality, getting up around 4:00 AM to start at 5:00AM sounds a lot less enticing, especially when you are woken up by a screeching iPhone alarm while comfortably in your bed. That’s because we all love sleep, the thought of going to bed without having to need to set an alarm might make you sleepy and dream of your bed. 

But, here’s the thing: Morning people are really good at getting things done. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger wakes up at 5 am, no matter how much sleep he gets or where he is, to start his morning routine. At 6 AM he has had his breakfast, he is all caught up with what is happening in the world today, and has read a couple of movie scripts. Designer Tom Ford wakes up at 4:30 AM to get his morning going. He does the most of his morning grunt work from his bathtub accompanied with his favourite iced-coffee. Tim Cook takes it one step further by calling waking up at 4:30 AM “Sleeping in”. All of these people are not only highly successful, but also highly productive and they all credit their early morning routine as a part of that success. 

Imagine what we could do with those extra hours! Here’s a list with 5 reasons why you should and 5 ways to make it a little more bearable!

1) Become More Productive

Many studies show that we get most of our work done in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM creates more time to do things during the most productive and energetic part of the day. After a short period of adjustment, both mind and body are ready to function at peak capacity in those early hours.

During those early hours you can be more productive by prepping yourself for the day. You can start off by catching up with the latest news, going through your email, and doing the small tasks that clog up your productivity throughout the day. When done, you would notice that you still have a lot time over in your morning. This could be used to have some breakfast with your family, some exercising or simps a head start on work. 

2) Quiet and uninterrupted

Getting up at 5.00 am gives you a long period of peaceful, quiet, uninterrupted time. Unless the work you do requires you to make a lot of noise, you will find the silence of a sleeping world is the perfect environment to gather your thoughts, plan ahead and focus effectively on your most important tasks. This also gives you the chance to rediscover your surroundings. Maybe you realise houw beautiful the sunrise is form your home office accompanied by singing birds. Have you ever watched the sun come up and hear the world become gradually awake? It's a truly wonderful tim, and a special privilege granted only to the early riser. Rise early and gain a new perspective!

3) Taking control of your habits

A morning ritual is simply a list of things you do every day, in the same order. By repeating the actions on our morning list each day we are creating our habit. Self-improvement involves taking more control over aspects of your life. One great way to do this is with a morning ritual. 
The same tasks done in the same way, in the same order, every day, including weekends. This creates a ritual. The morning ritual is much more than just a way to organise and and remember you morning tasks: it’s a superb way of developing new habits. By changing your tasks consistently you can easily insert new habits. It’s also great practice for using To-Do lists: another important weapon in the armoury of the Self-Improver.
Developing habits is crucial to your Self-Improvement; getting up at 5.00 A.M. is the perfect time to make it happen. Rise early and work on some great new habits!

4) Be on time

Do you know anyone who is always late? We all have  a friend who seems incapable of being on time for just about anything. His children are regularly late for school and he often arrives at meetings well after they have started. When there’s a party at 8.00 P.M. his friends joke about telling him it’s at 7.00 P.M. to just try and get him there on time. But behind the joke there is a serious reality: a lack of punctuality wastes other people’s time and can cause them a lost of inconvenience.
Feeling rushed is not a good wat to start your day. Getting up early feels less hurried and gives you time to get organised. Anyone can be late from time to time but being late by habit is neither effective nor attractive. Rise and shine and be on time!

5) Enjoy the good stuff

Rising early in the morning means you do your ‘waking up’  before everyone else does, remember that shower  and strong coffee? Later on, when you start to encounter other people (partner, family colleagues) you are probably going to be a lot more awake and alert than they are. 
Being awake means you can fully enjoy important moments like breakfast with your family or spouse. Give your loved ones a better version of you: make them coffee, server them breakfast, prepare their lunch, help them get their day going. Rise early and give energy to the ones you love.

5 ways to make it easier

1) Get enough sleep

This might come of as a no-brainer but a large part of getting up earlier is dependant on going to bed early. You can pull the occasional 4 hour night but it very quickly catches up with you. If you decide to get up 2 hours early, like I am doing now, then decide to go to bed at least 2 hours earlier aswel. If you try to undercut your body on sleep it will let you know!

2) Get quality sleep

Not all sleep is the same. To improve your sleep quality, set yourself a bedtime routine. Include an element of planning for the next day, because making decisions about tomorrow before you get into bed means your brain doesn’t need to work on those areas during the night. Write down any important ideas or reminders on a piece of paper before hitting the hay. Your brain will relax, knowing those notes will still be there to review in the morning. Eliminate all screens for an hour before bed.

These include:

  • TV
  • Computer
  • Phone
  • Tablet

The only exception might be a non-illuminated e-reader. The light from illuminated screens over-stimulates your brain; you want this final hour to be related and low on brain effort. Read a real book, listen to some light music, meditate or take a gentle walk. When you get into bed, try to ensure the room is quiet, dark and the temperature cool enough. Eliminate LED lights from alarm clocks, phone chargers or other devices. Even the smallest amount of LED light can disrupt you. A well-planned, intentional bedtime routine will help to ensure a night of top-quality, restorative sleep. 

3) Plan ahead

Getting up early is all in the planning. Succes in anything generally does not come by accident, but by making intentional decisions and then keeping your promise to yourself. If you are serious and organised enough about getting up early then you will achieve it.
If you are at the point of deciding whether an early morning is for you, be careful of your self-talk: "I'll try it and see how it goes" sounds positive but introduces an element of doubt that can be unhelpful. Instead, tell yourself, "I'll do it and review it in a week". This intentionally leaves less room for manoeuvre.

4) Just do it!

One way to start getting up early is by just doing it! Diving in cold-turkey and doing regularly without breaking the chain helps a lot in getting you moment going. Yes, it will be painful at first. Making a sudden change to your natural daily rhythm is a shock to your system and you can expect a response form you body that may not be entirely positive. But, if you are a “Just Do It!” kind of person, just do it!

5) Fail!

For whatever reason, even after weeks or even months of rising early you will fail to get up one day. Accepting failure and moving-on it is a vital skill for self-improvement. You need to to be tough enough on yourself to reduce chance of failure but gentle enough on yourself to avoid beating yourself up when it happens. And it will happen. When it does, get over it! It’s not a big deal!

LifestyleRobert Peterson