It’s 5.07am and I’m sitting at my laptop already. I’ve actually already taken Tyson (the dog) for a half hour walk. Have I lost my mind? Definitely not. On the contrary, this switch of waking hours has done me the world of good in recent years, and after referencing it when I recently spoke at Vevolution, I thought I would do a blog post about why I LOVE it. This morning, I actually woke up at 3am when Casey (our 6 year old) came into bed. I lay there trying to sleep, adamant that no matter what, I was getting up at 5am. Sure enough, at 4.33am, I still wasn’t getting back to sleep, and rather than risk missing 5am club, I began it 27 minutes earlier. So, I’ve had 4 hours sleep. No big deal though, after a day of being knackered today, I will 100% be in bed super early, and get a great sleep, in advance of being up at 5am tomorrow. I will have quite simply, recalibrated my waking hours and likely still had my normal 7-8 hours of sleep. So, why the hell would I want to do that then?
For starters, I don’t do this all the time. I’d say I get the notion to do it somewhere between 5 and 7 times a year, and when I get that notion, I can end up keeping it up for up to 1 month (1 month being the longest period of 5am Club I remember keeping to, this was in 2016 when we had decided we were going to launch TheVeganKind Supermarket, which incidentally we have just launched an App for. Woohoo, vegan shopping app here we come!). I try to have a life of balance, and sometimes I like to have a few beers on a Thursday night, watch the darts on the sofa, and inevitably wake up late at 8am on Friday, feeling a bit sluggish for the first half an hour, rushing about mad for my start to the day. I’m not trying to be a hero here!
So, if I don’t do it all the time, when do I do it? I do it when ‘there aren’t enough hours in the day’. Or at least, when I get that feeling. When my work load (work load doesn’t just include ‘work’, we all have personal tasks, bills, objectives outside of ‘work’) gets to a point where I think it is too big, then I need to release some of that load. If there are already ‘not enough hours in the day’, then what do you do? If you are in that boat and believe that you ‘can’t find the time’, then I’m here to explain that you are probably wrong, you are just looking in the wrong places. The time isn’t hiding, you are just not aware of the golden hours between 5 and 7am.
How to use 5am club? Well for me, it is all about that feeling of being back in control. You can feel like you are on a bit of a hamster wheel sometimes when your life operates in shifts. For anyone old enough to remember the film Groundhog Day, life can sometimes feel routine and tedious; getting up at the same time, work at the same time, bed at the same time etc. 5am club can shake that up, and here are a few examples of things to do, and not to do:
1. Don’t Get up at 5am with zero intentions and nothing planned. You will be tired, and end up in bed. You need to wake up inspired and with a task that you need to accomplish. Preferably one big enough that you are not going to conquer it in just this one sitting.
2. Don’t snooze your alarm. Just get up, with minimal disruption to anyone else that may be in the house, grab your clothes, and get downstairs.
1. Do think about what the ‘project’ is that you are trying to conquer, or task list that you are trying to eradicate to release pressure.
o This could be a list of menial tasks that are permanently weighing on your mind. Each small in their own right, however creating unnecessary weight collectively.
o This could be a business idea – i.e you have always wanted to launch your own range of vegan snack bars, or open a café, or launch your own painting and decorating business – anything at all like that. An autonomous endeavour to take you away from employment into self-employment, perhaps?
o Launching something new within a business that already consumes you during working hours, i.e you needed to ‘find the time’.
3. (Yes, I know ‘2’ is missing, but Microsoft Word is just NOT playing ball!)
Do, before going to bed, think about the fact you are getting up at 5am the next day. Be aware of that intention and make notes or create a task list so you are ready to rock.
4. Do get your clothes ready. Sit them out of the bedroom (I sit my clothes at the top of the stair). Again, all part of ensuring you get up.
5. Get out the house as quickly as possible. I am usually out the house by 5.05am with a happy dog (dog not necessary to the task in hand).
6. Do listen to a podcast as you walk. (I walk for around 15 minutes normally, and I use 'Podcast Addict'.)
o This morning I listened to the amazing Not Your Milk podcast, episode 37 featuring John Gooden (UFC commentator, for anyone not aware). A great listen, which I thoroughly enjoyed. John has been a very kind supporter of TVK and gave us a quote for our ‘Vegan Man In A Box’ Gift Box which we launched last year.
7. Do listen to audiobooks. There are a gazillion self help books out there, just start opening your mind and searching for what you want to know about?
o “Beginners guide to marketing”? I’ve never searched, but there will be something there.
o “How to achieve greatness/be all you can be” – again, no idea, but as a general topic it sounds pretty inspiring to me, and I’ll bet there is an audiobook of this ilk.
o “Getting into business for Dummies” – I have taken the liberty of googling this, to prove a point, and YIP – loads of books.
TOP TIP 1 – for audio books I use Audible, and you can listen to books at as fast a pace as you like. So for example, a book could be a 16 hour listen (which it tells you before you download). If you listen to the book at 2x speed, then it would only take you 8 hours to listen to a full book. If you can find the time to listen for 1 hour per day (on your morning 5am walk, plus work commute, plus before bed; or while making dinner/on your lunch break etc), then you could listen to (going by this example) 1 book every 8 days!
Or, even if you only listen for half an hour per day during your Mon-Fri work week – that would be a book a fortnight, or 2 books a month, OR (as I would advise is a brilliant idea when you find a book that strikes a chord with you), listen to the same book 3 times in a row!
TOP TIP 2 – Get a notes app on your phone. I use Todoist. For a full 8 weeks prior to speaking at Vevolution, anytime something popped into my head, I added it to my Project labelled ‘Vevolution’ on my todoist app. Other ‘Projects’ I have in Todoist are: ‘Gather’ where I was making notes the whole way through the Facebook Gather event we were invited to in Brussells; ‘Casey Jiu Jitsu’ where I make notes of any simple moves she gets shown that I could help with at home; ‘Xmas Dinner’ is still in there, where I was cooking a fully vegan Xmas dinner for 8 people, 4 of which were non-vegans….etc, you get the point. It is easy to note something down on an app, so when you are listening to something or someone inspiring, make a note of what your thoughts are. You may never look at it again, but maybe you will, and it will spark something within you. Todoist auto-syncs to a desktop Todoist as well so you can have your task list in front of you while on a computer.
So, other than that, it’s over to you.
If anyone does give it a go – then use the hashtag #TVK5amclub when you leave the house for your walk. I’m not the only 5am riser out there. You will generally find that successful people train themselves into this sort of lifestyle; perhaps not all the time, but they definitely see the value in it. When I do get ‘in the zone’, I often think about the thousands of other people who are doing just the same as me – trying to get ahead in life. Perhaps the above hashtag will inspire you when you see others follow your lead.
It’s now 6.07am and I’m finished typing. I would NEVER have had the time to do this between my normal waking hours. Am I tired? A bit, but I’ve still to have a coffee, and then grab a shower. I’ll be a bit tired later but keep myself fuelled with food and get an early night. Tomorrows 5am rise should be a doddle.
PS – Another amazing thing about 5am club, is when the sun starts coming up around that time. Soon (early to mid April), you will notice the sun coming up as you are out your walk. You get home feeling you woke up with the sun/aligned for the day, and empowered to crack on with those tasks in hand.
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