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The 5am {Hack}

lankjan007 profile image Dmitri ・4 min read

The fresh start

RISE UP, Start fresh, see the bright opportunity in each day. – Paulo Coehlo

You know that side hustle you wanted to start or that skill you planned to add to your repertoire. In this day of constant distraction it seems there is not enough time in the day to do any of this, or is there?

The 5am club

I discovered Robin Sharma´s the 5am club book a few months ago during the peak of the global pandemic we are experiencing. The story really connected with me and I only wish I had heard some of this valuable advice earlier. The beauty of starting a day on your terms, not much can compare to that. I won´t reveal all of the book’s gems here, I will let you discover them for yourself.

Let the Hacking begin

So, following Simon Sinek´s advice, I started with my WHY. Given an extra 2 to 3 hours every morning, are you going to focus this time to kickstart your side hustle, build your MVP for a Startup, or continue your professional education as I’m doing? I am halfway through an intense 6 month online Web Developer Bootcamp spending my morning focused on crunching the hours of video lessons. I have also dedicated more time to doing yoga, meditation and mindfulness than I would otherwise have.

The important bits

Among the essential things I would suggest placing your alarm a couple of meters away, so you have to get up and out of your warm and cozy bed and take your first morning steps, and don’t even think about hitting the snooze button.

I usually have a glass of water as soon as possible after waking up, hydrating my mind and body.
I then stumble into the living room where I have my training mat setup for a 20-minute high intensity workout (I love Billy Blanks Taebo workouts) after this I will make a green tea or coffee depending on the day and mood and go into my study room to do some focused work for approximately 1 hour with small 10 min evenly spaced breaks in between to stretch and breath in the fresh morning air.

At around 8 am I usually start feeling hungry and will have breakfast keeping it fairly light and vitamin-rich to start the day. I don’t work full time so my son´s who usually wakes up around this time will want to have breakfast with me and then a bit of playtime before school.

Breath in, breath out and relax

The rest of the morning I spent tidying up around the house and perhaps a meditation or mindfulness session to calm the mind. The important thing is that by this time I have done more than most people and feel more accomplished in general. It is vital that you get to bed by 9pm to get 8 hours of sleep, which your body will thank you for later. A relaxing bath/shower and sleep-inducing tea before bed always work for me.

Morning flow state

It´s best to keep your phone out of the room you studying/working in if possible and to leave your computer's Wi-Fi switched off if you use it to study or work, it will only cause a distraction. I try to keep the light ambiance low with only a desk lamp, occasionally I play soft lo-fi tunes in the background and keep f.lux turned on throughout the morning to reduce eye strain. Prepare everything the night before and keep your work area distraction-free with only the essential material you need to work. I also keep a journal on the desk, just for jotting down anything that pops into my head and for practicing my daily gratitude.

Stone Riley – the billionaire

According to the 5am club´s protagonist you will be doing what the top 5% of the most successful Athletes, business titans, and other high achievers get accomplished daily. It will take around 66 days for the 5am wake up to become a habit (22 days to destroy your existing bad habits, 22 to install the new habit, and to then integrate it into your daily routine a further 22 days).
However you decide to spend your time, be persistent, and work hard. Success is a marathon, not a sprint.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Sometimes you have to just let go and see what happens. Last night I lost the world and gained the universe – C Joybell C.

Credits to Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash for the cover photo.

Discussion

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nimicent profile image
Julia Nash

I do this already and credit my new kitten - who is still 0 years old according to insurance until February next year - with the initiation, formation and execution of my workday schedule in 2020.

She has made me more productive in the morning by waking me up at 4-5 AM to serve her tuna. She then makes sure that I am available for her playtime immediately after her breakfast. This requires me to become active as well since she has a talent for "jump-chasing" dangle toys which could land her into the wall or couch if I am not attentive to how I dangle the toy itself. A lot like a bull in a rodeo and I'm the matador, which is as much of an artistry as it is an athletic event.

That leads to an earlier caffeine intake too which then gets me started in my work earlier. She might have incredible deficits in risk estimation and must evaluate said risk by the "one paw tap" policy to determine the overall threat on anything that isn't her body as well as maintains an active suspicion of the furniture being alive, she nonetheless is proven to be highly intelligent in owner management, operational planning and tactical strategy disciplines. We all have our talents.

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lankjan007 profile image
Dmitri Author

Awesome, wish i had one! 😉

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nimicent profile image
Julia Nash

Yeah, they'll definitely train you though. Make sure you can tolerate the bootcamp before getting one. I start getting marching orders from the kitten as early as 3 AM and learned how to "say no" from it. 😂🤣 BTW love the article. :)

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lankjan007 profile image
Dmitri Author

🤗Thanks, that means alot. 😌

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chin98edwin profile image
chin98edwin

This is the most heartwarming comment I've come across on the internet today 🐱

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nimicent profile image
Julia Nash

Awww thanks!!! 🥰

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filipac profile image
Filip Iulian Pacurar

When I read something like this, 99% of the articles do not mention the time they go to bed so they can get up at 5. Thoughts? I usually go to bed after 12am.

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lankjan007 profile image
Dmitri Author

Yes Filip, i have to get to bed by 8 or at most 9 pm, to feel energised to wake up at 5, as per scientific recommendation ☝️😉

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crownvic profile image
Nikolay Nikonov

That depends. For example, I can't think straight in the morning. At all. Even if I went to bed at 7pm and woke up at 5am. Crickets. My mind is just filled with impenetrable fog.

I usually work from 10pm (sometimes from midnight or 1am) to 4-5am and sleep till noon/3pm. And I do this almost all my life (even in school, I was showing up at noon or later and persuaded all my teachers that I can educate myself at home and then show them what I learned).

And yeah, I have two children (a 15-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl). My wife takes care of them in the morning, I help with feedings and other activities at night). She doesn't work and doesn't want to work every day. Basically, she's doing what she loves - working as a personal trainer from time to time with a select cohort of clients she likes. I provide more than enough money to not worry about it and think that's okay. We are together 24/7 (often in the same room, although the son is sitting in his room minding his own business as most teenagers do) with rare exceptions. I understand that it doesn't fit everyone. Many people like to switch environments during the day. I like to be with my family all day.

And this '5am club' is not for everyone, obviously. How many NOT successful people wake up at 5am? This is the survivorship bias at its finest.

The good exception here is Carl Icahn. He mostly sleeps till noon, but sometimes sleeps till 4pm before an important meeting to get a better deal persuading already tired lawyers (and he is well-rested and kicking a**). And, sure, he is a billionaire who's never been to '5am club.'

My take on all that is if you want to be successful - do the work you'd agreed to do on time, and show up where you'd agreed to be when you should be there. And get connections. Your friends and colleagues are the best source of life force you can obtain to get things done. In my experience, 1 mind plus 1 mind is not 2 minds, but 3 or even 5, sometimes. Never go alone.

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javasmuse profile image
Candace

While interesting, this concept ignores Individual Circadian Rhythms - some people are simply 'night owls' and more productive listening to their own rhythm. -- I think the real key, is setting aside time for you everyday, whenever that is. Most people forget this simple mindful step.

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lankjan007 profile image
Dmitri Author

I do agree with you, however the major benefit that results from waking up early, is the positive effect it has on the rest of your day. Apart from feeling more accomplished you also have a different outlook on your day and will generally be more engaged throughout the day.

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adzika profile image
adzika

But it doesn't work that way when your circadian rhythm is an evening/night one.
All people like that get from getting up that early are grumpiness/grogginess and mental and physical health issues - there's a great book on this topic called "Why we sleep" by Matthew Walker which I highly recommend to understand why things like 5am clubs are great only for a part of society, called early birds.

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lankjan007 profile image
Dmitri Author

Well I guess the early bird catches the worm then... 😉

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lesleyvdp profile image
Lesley van der Pol

I think whether this works will depend a lot on the situation and the person. If you are chasing something and need this extra time to get things done then that'll work out. I for one value time with my wife a lot at night when our daughter has gone to bed, and going to bed at 8pm (!?) or 9pm just to wake up at 5am wouldn't work for me and feels like I am just wasting time I could have with my family.

I'm not sure why it would be considered a "hack", since all you're doing is moving your daily schedule. Where you have more time in the morning you lose time at night.

I start "early" myself at around 7am which is also a time where most of my development team hasn't started working yet so I can get some free time in without disturbance.

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nax3t profile image
Ian Schoonover

Cool tip! I may just give it a go :)
BTW, which web developer bootcamp are you taking?

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lankjan007 profile image
Dmitri Author

Zero to Mastery with Andrei Neagoie. Great instructor by the way!

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nax3t profile image
Ian Schoonover

I've heard good things. I skimmed through that course awhile back and it looked pretty good. I help tutor students in bootcamps (I've taught at several). If you ever need a hand just look me up, Ian Schoonover (DevSprout)

Best of luck on your coding journey! :)

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crownvic profile image
Nikolay Nikonov

Andrei is a talented instructor. Go for his bootcamps/course. It's worth it!

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danieluhl profile image
Typing Turtle

Great ideas, worth a try!

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hoffmann profile image
Peter Hoffmann

Sorry, I got kids. And a live. And tbh this makes me angry for so many reasons

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lankjan007 profile image
Dmitri Author

Got a 5 year old myself, and actually this is the only time i have for my own pursuits during the day. Sorry to hear you feel that way. 🤗

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hoffmann profile image
Peter Hoffmann

I think what makes me angry is the fact that the article - as I read it - suggest this is an easy way to win extra work time. And thing is, you can't! Sleep is essential, even more than e.g eating. After one day of $yourIndividualNeed - 2h you feel as s**t. You time of the day is limited by the sum of your projects, some are bigger, some are smaller but you can't argue with the 24h cycle.

So while standing up before everyone else, a natural relaxation b/c you have the world to your self (unless e.g. you kids or your significant other chooses to do it as well), is an alternative to the natural behavior of just staying up late you should definitely consider, it's not a magic win. It's a trade with you self. Figure out what kind of person you are, and how your cycle runs. But if you have to finish something - even if it's just some stuff in the household like folding clothes and cleaning up the dishes - the morning club has one big disadvantage: It's terminated. As soon as your morning begins for outside reasons you're done. This might lead to stress but on the other side can help you to restrict the time you steal from your sleep budget.

So while I absolutely endorse your enthusiasm and applaud you for finding something that fit's you, I'd think the article could have won if you'd had an critical, reflecting paragraph. But perhaps that's what the comments are for.

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eleftheriabatsou profile image
Eleftheria Batsou

Thank you! This is my motivation for the next couple of months!!!

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lankjan007 profile image
Dmitri Author

Just don't be too hard on yourself, when you feel you can't do it anymore take a break for a few days. And let your motivation lead you. Good luck 🤞

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Francesco Improta

Unless you've a child :D