I do like to wake up early in the morning, but I wouldn’t say that I am an early bird by nature. The reason being is that I also love to stay up late and so I’ve found that unless I’m prepared to power nap through the day, which I don’t like to do, I tend to wake up a little later if I spend my evenings working. Typically I wake up around 7am – not too late, but waking up at 4am is a different ball game altogether. To most, 4am is the middle of the night! Laugh if you will, this challenge was the one I was dreading the most.
A couple of years ago I switched my working from home routine to working nights instead of days, as I am more productive in the evenings. Although my intentions were good, this turned out to be completely chaotic! Since then I've been able to fully appreciate what it’s like to work nights and how it messes up your body clock and any hopes of structure in your life. The problem I found with working nights is that the world still functions when you’re supposed to be sleeping (during the day) and apart from staying home and working, most errands and other activities can only be done during daylight hours. So consequently I was working through the night until 4-5am, I would sleep until 1pm and then by the time I’d completed all my domestic tasks, I finally got down to settling into work at around 3-4pm. I was only ever truly productive during those last couple of hours after midnight, not to mention how badly by eating habits were disrupted throughout this time. In the end I switched back to working through the day and sleeping at night. A transition which again, took time to adapt to but worked out better for me.
March arrived and I hadn’t yet decided which challenge I was going to take on for the month. I started naturally waking up at 4-5am in the morning and beginning my day from then, which is why I decided to follow it through. Surprisingly, waking up so early was easier than I had initially thought and the extra time afforded me time to read, drink coffee and plan out my day in an unstressed way. As time went on, I felt that 4am was a little too early for me, so I switched to waking up at 5am or 6am instead. It’s amazing what you can achieve in a day when you aim to get up at a certain time and have a few extra hours to yourself without waking up straight into an influx of emails and tasks to plough through. I also enjoyed being tired and ready to go to bed before midnight, which is a rare occurrence for me as someone who is naturally more of a night owl.
Having read a lot of case studies beforehand from those who wake up at 4am, the main thing I learned was that waking up so early gives you time to start your day off completing urgent tasks or leisure activities that will put you in a positive mood for the rest of the day. I started my day off with coffee, a book, and unspoiled time to write and create. I've now mastered the ideal morning routine!
I don’t think I will be continuing to wake up at 4am every morning, but I have certainly kept to the habit of waking up at a planned, earlier time - usually no later than 6am. Plus, if you wake up early and things don’t go to plan, you’re already in front so you have time to get your day in order before things begin to get stressful. You can read more about my everyday morning routine here. This challenge has been yet another learning curve and I can definitely see why so many people do wake up at 4am because it’s a great way to gain control of your time management.
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