You have probably heard or read somewhere that if you want to be successful in your life, you need to get up early. “Win the morning – win the day!“, right? This is something that all of the success coaches and gurus have been repeating for quite some time and I finally decided that I need to give it a try!
The main reason I decided to give myself a chance at getting up early was because I read the amazing book of Robin Sharma: The 5 AM Club. In it, he talks about getting up early and how if you manage to get up at 5am every morning for 66 days, you’ll build a habit and start your days with much more productivity and focus than before.
Before I let you know how I felt during the 66 days challenge and how I feel right now (after it is over), I just want to share that I am the type of person who gets up relatively difficult and is significantly more active during the evening.
So, enough talking, here’s how my 66 days of getting up at 5AM went and what were the benefits and the down sides of it:
For the first 22 days I was very motivated and I got up relatively easy every morning at 05:00 AM (considering that I went to bed at 21:00 every night, so I can get my 8 hours of sleep). Immediately after the bathroom I did my stretching followed by my workout for the day (either running or strength training), which took me about an hour and a half. After the workout I was meditating and reading a book. I even had a little time to work on my personal projects. I managed to do all this before going to my daily job (I’m a Web Developer).
The fact that I managed to do all this before some people even woke up made me feel significantly more motivated and positive. The only hard thing was to make myself go to bed at 9 o’clock every night (before the challenge I was used to going to bed around 11:30 pm).
The next 22 days were much more difficult, my motivation dropped and it seemed as if the fatigue from getting up early had accumulated. I was still productive, but the whole thing started to weigh on me a little. I was also struggling with the fact that I had to skip every night out with my friends (keep in mind that I am 24 years old) and my social life seemed to be starting to suffer a bit.
For the last 22 days, I have begun to evaluate this 5AM thing in my head. I was listing the pros and cons and trying to figure out if I wanted to implement it in my life in the future or no.
Here are the main points that I listed, that can be helpful for you:
- Willpower training: getting up early was not particularly easy for me, and it required the willpower to get out of bed every day while it is still dark and cold outside.
- More free time: getting up early gave me the opportunity to have more time to plan the day ahead and to set my future goals + a time to learn new things.
- A sense of accomplishment: the fact that I was waking up at the same time every day and doing the things I wanted to do (being proactive) made me feel a lot more in control of my life. Plus the fact that even if I decided to do nothing after 9AM, I had still completed pretty much everything that I want from a successful day.
- Lack of social life: by the end of my work day (at 5.30pm) I was already feeling pretty tired and most of the days I had neither the time nor the desire to go out with my friends. With time, this imbalance started to become very noticeable.
- Training early in the morning: Training early in the morning was significantly more difficult mentally (in my opinion unnecessarily difficult) and I felt that because of this mental tiredness, my passion for working out began to diminish.
- The constant need for a plan: Because of my bedtime schedule (9pm), I began to notice the need for a plan for the few free hours I had after work. It was necessary because all my friends were going to sleep much later and I always had to plan the evening so that I could be in my bed at 9. If I did not go to bed at 9, the whole next day was going to be much more difficult to get through.
After all, now that these 66 days have passed and I have completed the challenge that I had set myself, I stopped waking up at 5AM. However, I’ve implemented the positives of getting up early. Now I get up at 06:45 instead of 07:45 (as before the challenge) and so I have time to meditate, do my light stretching, plan my day and read a book. I switched my training and working on my projects in the evening because then I felt significantly more focused and productive.
In my opinion, waking up at 5AM is a real game changer and would help many people increase their productivity and “take their lives in their hands”, but it is certainly not for everyone. If you are one of the people who likes to go to bed relatively early in the evening and wake up feeling energetic, then I strongly recommend joining the “5AM Club”.
But if you’re like me (you are very productive in the evening and love staying up late), don’t feel obligated to get up at 5 every morning just because some “self help coach” tells you that this is the only way to be productive and successful in your life. All people are different and there is no way that one technique will work equally well for everyone.
Let me know what is your opinion on this. Which type are you: an early bird or a night owl?