Updated: May 27, 2019
At least that's how I got started.
I was scrolling through the internet one day and this video was recommended to me. It was made by Casey Neistat and it was titled 'Navy Seal Commander explains why I wake up at 4am'. I was floored. The only time, prior to seeing this video, that I had woken up that early was for the dawn service on ANZAC day.
Exactly once a year I would crawl out of bed before the sun and that would be it.
Intrigued, I clicked on the video and from there decided to make a permanent change in my life.I set my weekday alarm to 4:30 AM and, as dramatic as it sounds, my life truly changed for the better.
After a week or two of adjustment I was able to find a system that worked perfectly for me and develop a sequence to my mornings.
This is what my morning looks like:
1. Alarm 4:30AM
2. Green Tea 4:32AM
3. Writing for 2 hours 4:32-6:30AM
4. Gym 6:30AM-7:30AM
5. Breakfast 7:30-8AM
6. Walk my dog 8-8:30/9AM
7. Start my day 9AM
Eventually (7) will be replaced by university but for now its an open-ended step.
But why do I do this? What do I truly gain from waking up before dawn?
Firstly I get up at 4:30AM to pursue a passion.
I love writing, more than anything. I love creating, researching, polishing and publishing my work but up until November last year I didn't have anything to share it on, hence this blog. Sadly, even after starting this blog I still felt pressured into meeting made-up deadlines. I wanted to write when I felt like writing but i didn't want to go weeks between posts. Ultimately I just didn't have enough hours in the day to make writing a priority for me. Then even when I did find a few minutes to sit down and write productively I was always getting distracted.
Checking the news, reading spam emails, talking to my partner. It was never efficient work.
By waking up at 4:30 I give myself space to write, avoiding any distractions or temptation to procrastinate. I can work efficiently and effectively, meaning I can both enjoy the act of writing and still meet my own deadlines for my pieces. I think it's brilliant.
Secondly I allow myself to get a head-start on my day.
In those first few hours of the morning very few other people are awake. There's a kind of peacefulness to the pre-morning traffic jam rush. On my drive to the gym at 6:30 I'm lucky if I pass 10 cars. I feel like its a perfect mid-way step between night and the panic of a weekday morning.
Thirdly I work hard in the morning in order to reap the benefits of feeling accomplished by night.
One of the first true benefits I noticed to my early morning pattern was the feeling of accomplishment that seeped into my skin at around midday. By the time the afternoon rolled around I felt confident in what I had achieved for the day. I didn't feel like I was behind or stressed about anything that was upcoming because I knew I had enough time to combat it.
Finally I believe that by waking up at 4:30AM I am able to make more time for those I love.
Despite my boyfriend and I's differences to our productiveness we also find that our schedules actually meet perfectly for the times that matter. He's asleep while I get all my important things done and I'm asleep while he does his. This means that while we're awake we have much more time for each other. Our hours together are more focused on our relationship then on our personal endeavours.
In saying all this though I do want to make it known that I have always been a morning person. I am not productive at night in the slightest. I have always struggled to understand people that can study until 1 or 2 AM before finally getting to bed. By 9:30PM my eyes are twitching and I'm getting keen for bed.
Getting up as early as I have chosen to do doesn't work for everyone. Some days it doesn't even work for me. It's about balance. If I've been to a party, or an event and it didn't finish till close to midnight there is no way in hell I'm going to get up at my normal hour. I'll still get up early, but not as early as I would normally do.
It's about knowing what's right for my body and what's right for me. If I don't feel I'm getting enough sleep then I will push my morning back another half hour. For me, it's not about discipline it's about the benefits I get from getting up early which I won't see if I'm strung out or exhausted.
The best example I have of this being a lifestyle that doesn't work for everyone is by comparing my boyfriend and I. He is a night owl and I'm a morning person. When it comes to study he finds that he is most productive at night, smashing out a few hours of work before crashing at 11:30PM sometimes 12AM or later.
He body clock then wakes him up up around 8AM. That's the system that works for him, He knows that if he woke up early everyday he wouldn't be nearly as effective at accomplishing his goals than if he slept in and got to them later in the day.
I, on the other hand have never been a night owl. By the late afternoon I'm getting excited for bed, I find that as the night rolls on my brain switches off. I fall asleep between 9:30 and 10PM and I fall asleep immediately. I find that by getting up earlier and accomplishing my goals first thing in the morning I am able to sleep better at night knowing there's nothing I should be doing instead. That's the system that works for me.
We're different, different things work better for both of us and that's perfectly OK.
But I digress.
The reason I wake up at 4:30AM is simple. It means I get to be more involved in the things I am passionate about, accomplish my goals when I'm at my prime, feel more relaxed in the evening and spend more quality time with my partner. I am yet to find an issue with my method, it works for me and I'm happy to do it.