How waking up at 5 am has made me into a more productive human

I always hear “there aren’t enough hours in a day” from the people around me. We all have the same 24 hours, and as the saying goes, we can choose what happens.

Now, let me preface this by saying I am not perfect at waking up at 5 am but I do try to wake up between 5 am and 6 am. I am not the type to wake up at 5 am and go do a workout although I know the crazy amount of benefits.

I did want to share with you how waking up early has made me feel more productive, more in-tune with myself, and how it’s impacted my day-to-day. I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now and yes, I’ve had days, where I’ve slept in until 7 am and others where I have laid in bed until 8. I’m a human, I’m working on it.

I was inspired by this video from Casey Niestat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-Cvl3_CH2A. In the video, Casey brings up a good point. Between the hours of 4 am and 7 am most people are sleeping which means social media feeds are inactive, emails are from the day before, and the energy around you is pretty relaxed. Which is so true!!

Everyone is different, this works for me. I am an early bird, not a night owl. I’ve always kind of been this way. Even as a kid, I would wake up with my dad at like 7 am while most kids slept in until 10 am. I am someone who needs their sleep. I HAVE to get my 7-9 hours in every night otherwise, I feel extremely tired, I can’t focus, my energy is off, and I generally feel more anxious/depressed when I don’t get enough sleep.

What I’ve noticed that within the times of 5 am – 7 am, I have an extra 2 hours for myself.  Not only that, I just have an extra 2 hours to do whatever I want. I don’t check emails until around 8 am. That’s a personal rule of mine. I am trying to practice good work/life habits before work and life get REAL crazy. I feel like it’s important to build these habits while you are in college or your early 20s so you aren’t spending your energy trying to figure out what works for you when you’re starting a real 9-5 or whatever.

Since I work 2 jobs (remote and in-person) and am an online student, I try to be as routine as possible. This helps me stay disciplined and that’s something I am really trying to work on. 

Here’s what my day usually looks like (give or take meetings, how I am feeling, etc)

5 am – 7 am – Wake up “Me” Time.
I lay in my bed for like 30 minutes before I actually get up and go to the bathroom or do anything. I try not to be on my phone because I read somewhere that it’s really bad for you to wake up with your phone next to you. Also, that is a lot of extraness for that time of day. Instead, I will go on my headspace app and do a 15-minute meditation. Before I could only do 5 mins but now I am up to 15 of intentional, present meditation. I’ll put on some music or pray. Spending some quality time with myself before a busy day always makes me feel balanced and more confident throughout my day. My head is clear so I can fill it up with all the chaos the day will bring.

I like this time of day because the world is really quiet. You don’t have the noise of social media or anything like that. Everyone is asleep so you can get yourself organized earlier in the day so you aren’t scrambling a few hours before you have a meeting or class. This also encourages you to sleep earlier which is so good for your brain and overall health. I always feel productive when I wake up earlier to spend some time with myself or my plants. I’ll do laundry, clean my space, or sage it.

I like to make my environment as cozy and clear as possible since I work from home. My room and space is minimal but functional. I may do a post of how I set up my room with a list of where I got everything (let me know if you like that kind of stuff). I bought this new LED light for my room and I am SO obsessed with it. I put it on my Instagram stories and got a ton of questions about it. Best late-night purchase LOL. It changes colors automatically or can go from dim to bright. I love it in the morning because it’s a colorful way to wake up. I will light a candle or sage and try to be very present in those early hours. I love me a good wood wick candle because it sounds like a campfire and when it rains outside, it’s a perfect combo of cozy. There is something magical about it. I love this time because it’s just for me and it makes me feel like I am taking care of myself. I also do my extensive skincare routine in the morning too. 

7 am – 9 am
I make my coffee/detox drink, open my emails, go over my to-do list(s), and make breakfast. This is a pretty boring time of my day because I am still waking up. The coffee helps for sure. I don’t typically shower in the mornings but if I do, I do my whole skincare routine in the morning if I didn’t do it earlier.

I like getting my emails out of the way and try to communicate to people ASAP. I am the worst texter known to man and I try to respond to emails within 24 hours. I’m just super lazy, it’s nothing personal. I will mentally respond but won’t actually respond until I realize “oh crap, I need to get this info out”. I am trying to be better, I swear LOL. I know most people are asleep by then but I like to get it out of the way since I don’t really respond to emails or texts later in the evening.

9 am – 3 pm
This is when most of my work gets done. I schedule meetings during this time and do the hard/tedious work. I learned that this is my productivity hours. I block in school time too. M/W/F/Sunday I try to work on school work about a couple of hours within those days. Then the rest of the week/time is devoted to keeping up with my clients or working on INTech tasks. I know this is when most people respond to emails or even start checking.

The rest of the day is either work or leisure time. It’s pretty boring to be honest so I won’t go into detail about that.

It takes a lot of discipline to wake up early. When the alarm goes off I am so tempted to snooze it but making the decision to wake up will lead to other productive choices throughout the day. If you can choose to fight sleep and wake up early, you can choose to do anything positive throughout your day.  You also feel like you got the most out of your day and you can fit in other things that you want to do whether it be to do laundry, reorganize your calendar, calling your mom, whatever it is. You overall feel better about what you have done throughout your day. It also creates better habits like sleeping early or staying organized. I’ve felt less anxious and more in-tune because I allocate 2 hours of my day to just focus on me. I also have given myself more time to wake up so when I enter meetings or I start my day, my body has had time to adjust. I feel less tired throughout my day.

I hope you all try this out. Let me know how you feel about it!

What I’ve Learned From: May

I knew this was going to go by fast. I think I mentioned this in one of my older posts but I take this time to reflect on the past month because it’s my way of slowing down and being intentional about my growth.

What I like to do, now that it’s a series on my blog, is I like to read what I learned from before. I think the biggest takeaway between April and May is: learn to embrace what’s uncomfortable and unknown but always remain grounded in who you are and the path you’re on. 

A lot of things happened in May. Well first, I moved which is honestly a lonely experience. I talk about it more in this post. Moving, in a nutshell, is lonely. I am so used to having all of my close friends within a few miles of me. I don’t have that luxury anymore and honestly, it’s been hard for me. It’s helped me grow but its unknown and uncomfortable but things are getting easier. I think it’s testing my patience, for sure. It’s helped that I travel to see my friends and my person or they come here. My childhood best friend even came to visit one weekend so it’s been easier because of that. But during the week, it’s been necessary TK time.

A lot of newness this month. I’ve learned to embrace it and absorb it. I moved May 5th. I write this on June 3rd, the day before I start my internship (big girl job, woot woot). So I’ve almost been here a month and it’s gone by SO fast.

I like exploring cities and I’ve gotten more comfortable putting myself out there. Even though I am a pretty extroverted person I get so much anxiety walking up to people and starting conversations with them. But when you’re new somewhere and you aren’t interacting with new people everyday you need to put yourself out there and make friends.

I think I’ve realized that there are some things and people that need to stay in your past. You need to be able to close a chapter and just move forward. It takes a lot of strength to remain present but it’s always for the best. People will come and go but you can’t settle for what you feel is wrong. This is the whole idea around being grounded in who you are.

I’ve sat down and talked to a lot of new faces this month. It’s scary and intimidating because a lot of these people were either older than me, smarter than me, more experienced than me. I fell into this trap of thinking that I wasn’t good enough to even sit and talk to them when in fact, I was I just needed to trust that I deserved to be there. I decided that instead of trying to gain something specific I would just open my ears and mind to what they had to say. But I’ve learned so much from listening. Is Anyone Really Listening? Yeah, I am. I think my biggest goal was to become more confident in what I’m doing. You need to trust that the path you’re on, despite what everyone elses may look like, fits your goals and ambitions.

I’m lucky to have someone close to me (cough cough Jason) who unconditionally supports what I do and who I am. I’ve never really had that before. What he’s taught me is that there is no one that will trust in your ability more than yourself. I see that reflected in everything he does. He is so grounded in who he is and what he’s doing it makes me want to have that level of security within myself.  He has a side hustle like I do. It’s inspiring to see someone work so hard at their craft and also show so much support for yours. It’s been one of the big reasons why I feel so grounded because I know what I am doing is great and requires a lot of work so I don’t need to explain that to someone. I can go on and on about how amazing of a person he is but seriously, having someone in your corner no matter how much you pride yourself on being independent, matters. We all want to be seen, heard, and understood. He does that and beyond.

I always say that the most unconventional paths lead to a lot of amazing lessons. This is so true. I’m slowly getting out of my comfort zone in a way that I haven’t been used to in the past. Embracing the newness of a new job, city, or even just a new mindset makes you evolve as a person. It’s SCARY but necessary. I’ve done a lot of amazing things towards my professional career goals this month.

Some highlights

The Steminist Campaign
Taking on a new client
Learning more about Charlotte’s identity, culture, and people.
I cut my hair and I feel like a whole new person.
I attended Charlotte’s 30 Under 30 Event
Stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to be okay with it
Staying true to what I feel is right for me in this moment.
Actively practicing self-care.