Do you regularly hit snooze on the alarm clock and go back to sleep until the very last minute and then dash around trying to get ready in a hurry?
We’ve all been there. And often we think the extra sleep is worth it. However the extra sleep you get when hitting the snooze button isn’t deep restorative sleep. It’s rousing you in and out of light sleep cycles which actually isn’t very good for you.
Waking up with enough time to get prepared for the day will make you less stressed and more productive.
In fact, waking up with PLENTY of time for yourself AND enough time to get organised before you start the day makes for a much more pleasant and fulfilling day.
According to one of the world’s top leadership and personal optimization advisors, and best selling author Robin Sharma, the first hour after you wake up is your most productive hour of the day. Taking time to tune in with yourself, to exercise and for personal growth is how some of the great geniuses, billionaires and the world’s wisest people start their day.
My personal story with early rising…
Getting up before sunrise is not something I’ve always done. In fact, it is only since the start of lock-down in March 2020 that I started to rise early. However, it’s turned into one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
The quiet hours before the rest of the world wakes gives me precious time to myself, to think without distraction and to begin my day mindfully without being rushed.
During lock-down I started getting up earlier so I could go for a solo walk before my kids woke up. I loved starting the day with one hour to myself, walking either in silence or listening to a motivational podcast. I am lucky that I live by the sea so I walk along the coast and soak up the fresh energy of beach and the ocean and its ever changing scenery.
A massive advantage to rising early and going for a walk is getting to watch the sunrise every morning, something that I absolutely love!
As lockdown went on, and with three kids at home all day, I was finding it hard to fit in my daily yoga practice. So I began getting up two hours earlier everyday, one hour for my walk and one hour for my yoga practice. I loved it!
It felt amazing to know that however hectic my day was, I had already completed two of my most important self care tools and I had the rest of the day to spend with the kids without worrying about fitting in time for myself.
The 5 AM Club
Then I discovered a book called ‘The 5 AM Club’ by Robin Sharma. In a nutshell, it gives you a formula for making rising at 5 AM easy, and a routine that will ensure you get the most out of your day.
At first I was a bit skeptical; my kids wake around 8 am, (sometimes 9 am if I don’t wake them) and I was getting up at 6 am which felt early enough already…why would I want to get up at 5 am? But I decided to read the book anyway, apparently it was a fable weaved into a self-help book, so I thought it might be worth a read.
The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.
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I am so glad that I did! What a book!
It is a story about two struggling strangers who meet an eccentric tycoon who becomes their secret mentor. He mentors them on how to achieve astonishing results in all areas of their life. The book provides a step-by-step method to wake up early and feel inspired and focused to get the most out of each day.
It is provides a framework for a morning routine that maximizes productivity and activates physical health, self discipline and serenity. It is backed up by neuroscience; proven ways to make rising early easy.
There is so much wisdom in this book! I read it from cover to cover then went back and read it again with a highlighter (I only ever highlight books that I love and know I will read over and over!).
Once you’ve read the book, this is a book that can be dipped in and out, so highlighting it is handy.
The book has 17 chapters, each packed with wisdom on ways to elevate your life.
It discusses in detail how to be productive, how to implement good habits, how to find balance in your life, how to be self-disciplined, how to avoid distraction, how to stay consistent and lots more besides.
The main thread of the book is The 5 AM Method and The 20/20/20 Formula. This is the revolutionary morning routine set out by the author to maximize your life.
There is a full chapter on the importance of sleep and how in no way should should we be compromising sleep in order to rise with the sun. In fact, the author lays out an evening routine to ensure you are setting yourself up with enough sleep and energy for the following morning.
The 20/20/20 formula…
The 20/20/20 formula is the basis of The 5 AM Club. There is no point in rising at 5 am and wasting the time. Use the time productively.
The 20/20/20 formula describes three twenty minutes pockets of time to manage your mornings….
Pocket 1. 20 minutes to move – exercise.
This can be a brisk walk or a run, power yoga, jumping on a trampoline, burpees, any exercise that gets you sweaty. Moving vigorously after you wake generates an alchemy in your brain. It increases serotonin, dopamine and cleanses cortisol from your system. (5.00 – 5.20 am).
Pocket 2. 20 minutes to reflect – meditate, journal or plan.
You might write a gratitude list. This increases your awareness and can expand your serenity. (5.20-5.40 am).
Pocket 3. 20 minutes to learn and grow –
Read books, listen to podcasts/audio-books, study online, review your goals.
This will deepen your knowledge and accelerate your confidence. (5.40-6.00 am).
According to the author, “small, daily seemingly insignificant improvements when done consistently over time yield staggering results”.
Main lessons I have learnt form the book…
You should definitely read the book for yourself but here are the main take-home messages that resonated with me:
1. If you start your day the wrong way, it is very hard to turn it around.
2. Rising early and starting the day with intention can help you get the most out of life.
3. Our minds have limited ‘bandwidth’, without distraction you can accomplish much more.
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4. The biggest advantage of The 5 AM Club is the solitude and silence…your brain is not stressed or worried, so you can think more clearly.
5. Willpower is a muscle, self-control training is a skill. Develop self-discipline in one area, and self-discipline will rise in other areas.
6. Installing a new habit takes 66 days.
7. Victory demands consistency and persistency. Consistency is the DNA of mastery.
8. Growth never happens in your comfort zone. To regularly do what is hard is how warriors are born.
9. Resist distraction by digital media. This leads to digital dementia! Don’t become a cyber zombie!!!!
10. You need a pre-sleep ritual in order to ensure a successful morning. And you need to be in bed by 10 pm to wake up refreshed and energized to start your day!
My own morning routine…
The 5 Am Club method suggests you spend one hour every morning from 5 to 6 am working on your health-set (20 mins), heart-set (20 mins) and your soul-set (20 mins).
Robin Sharma says you should spend at LEAST one hour, if you have more time, even better. He also says you have to make the routine your own; work with what you’ve got.
As long as you do your physical activity first, you can play about with the rest of the formula.
I like 2 hours to myself, usually I have 2 hrs and 10 minutes.
I rise at 5 am and spend until 7.10 am on my morning routine. Then I get a shower, then I get my kids up and ready. And then we start our day.
This is my morning routine 6 days a week (I usually sleep in on Sundays)…
Rise at 4.50 am…
5.00 – 6.00 am – walk in nature
I walk briskly for one hour – 30 mins in silence, 30 mins listening to a motivational podcast/audible book.
My personal practice – whatever I feel like on the day, usually it’s a slow flow, often mat based practice with a few sun salutations. I light incense and listen to gentle background music. I always have a scented candle burning too, usually sandalwood as its my absolute favourite.
I sit on my meditation cushion in silence for 10 minutes.
6.50 – 7.00 am – journal/read inspirational quotes
I journal anything that came up during my meditation, any thoughts or ideas, and write at least three things I am grateful for. I usually pull a card from one of my oracle decks.
I read a page or two from an inspirational book. Something like Michael Singer’s amazing book, ‘The Untethered Soul’ or Eckhart Tolle’s, ‘The Power of Now’. Books such as these keep me grounded for the day ahead. Or I might even read from one of my favourite yoga books such as ‘The Secret Power of Yoga’ or whatever my current yoga book is.
And that’s how I start my day 🙂
How to stop hitting the snooze button!
The question I get asked the most about early rising is how do I stop myself from continually hitting snooze on the alarm clock and how do I drag myself out of bed so early? Easy! I don’t hit snooze even once!
I have a sunlight clock that gently lights the room from 4.45 am. This allows my body to wake naturally and slowly. If I haven’t fully woken and switched it off by 5.00 am it plays gentle nature sounds (you can program it play piano music, waterfall sounds, birds chirping etc). Click on the picture below to purchase the sunlight clock that I use. I totally recommend it.
As soon as I wake, I get out of bed and put on my walking clothes (which I place beside the bed the night before), go to the bathroom and brush my teeth. Then I’m straight out the door.
I walk for one hour and it is absolutely beautiful. Even on cold wet days, waking up with nature feels amazing; it makes you feel so alive.
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The book explains how our body and brain are recharged and more capable of focus and creative thought first thing in the morning. When you rise before dawn, the world is quiet and devoid of the distractions that zap your attention and cognitive energy. If you follow the steps laid out in the book you can create a successful morning routine and begin your day focused, grounded, and ready for the tasks ahead.
I hope you have got something from this post. If you feel inspired to try rising at 5 am, I definitely recommend you read Robin Sharma’s book. It really has improved my life tenfold.
Disclaimer: None of the information shared should be used as a replacement for seeking medical attention. Always seek advice from an expert.
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