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.

Self-Care Sunday: If I had a daughter.

No. I am NOT pregnant and do not have any future plans of having one but I do look forward to being a mom one day in the far, far future. I may not know a lot in the past two decades I’ve been on this earth but I like to think that I am pretty self-aware for who I am right now. 

I honestly can’t wait to be a mom one day. I mean, of course, I can wait but I look forward to bringing a life into this world that is half me and half the person I am meant to be with. Whether she finds this when she’s old enough to read so maybe another 15 years from now, I hope the lessons still stick the same. As I get older, I know that the things I have learned will change but I think for right now, I am in a place to write this.

Our current world has given us every reason to become bitter, hopeless, and misguided. You can’t trust our president or the news or your neighbor even. My mom always tells me to do everything in my life with kindness and to always make the right choices. She’d drop me off at school and say “Okay, make good choices”. Good is a really subjective term but I think good means kind. So, make kind choices. Make America Kind Again. No matter what age I’m in or what chapter of my life I’m going through I hope I never let this world make me bitter. If I had a daughter I would teach her the same principle: don’t let the world make you unkind. I’ve seen some of the hardest things happen to my mom and she’s always reminded kind and strong. When I go through something as easy as it is to be mean and bitter, I choose to practice kindness. Some people don’t deserve it and it’s taken a lot of me to bite my tongue and I am not perfect. I have been unkind to people but it does no good. It adds no value and it doesn’t change things. Kill them with kindness but don’t let them take anything from you. Some people may not be kind but you can’t give them the satisfaction of them breaking you. We have choices in how we let what others do affect us. 

I can’t wait to see my daughter be strong and resilient but soft and kind when she chooses to be. I want her to know that in 3, 6, 12 months your life could look so different than it is now. 3 months ago if you told me I’d be living in Charlotte I’d laugh at you because I was starving myself and I wasn’t in the place to even imagine progress. 3 months later, here I am. 3 months from now, I can be in a different space in other aspects of my life. I look back to 6 months ago and I was cheated on. I never thought that I could be who I am, have this platform, or be around the people I am. My path is unconventional. I am not the traditional college student. I think that’s my power. I would tell her to do what she is called to do. If you feel like in your heart you are being called to do something bigger than yourself and the people around you, lean into it. Listen to it. Open your heart and try to really listen to what God is trying to say. It’s easy to fall into the path that is already done but everyone has a unique journey to get from point A to point B. If her path is unconventional, I hope I can be supportive in the way that my support system has been for me. I want to nurture her creativity in such a way where she feels empowered to do the hard work that she is being called to do. We can’t force people down this one path if it’ll make them unhappy. I’d rather have my daughter or son chase their happiness and what makes them feel alive than to live a life that is safe. Maybe this worldview will change. But I don’t think we should impose an idea of a plan that works for us onto others if it may not apply.

I would also tell her that growing into yourself is a painful process. It’s isolating, lonely, and painful but its necessary. I am going through that right now. Being in a new city is lonely. I’ve been here two weeks and have cried most days because I am so used to having friends around me or family to visit me. I realize that the isolation and times of loneliness happen for a reason. We do need to be alone in order to really fall into our own. Not an idea or someone else’s mold, just your own. All we can ever do is be ourselves. In a new city, new place, or new circumstance we have ourselves. It takes self-awareness and being able to be real with yourself to figure out who you are. It’s so painful and it’s not easy. You can’t just sit with yourself for one day and have it all figured out. It’s adaptive. Things change but trust yourself and just don’t lie to yourself. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you have no business trying to be honest with others. It’s taken some serious time for me to get to this point. Even now I struggle with it on a daily basis. I know my daughter will too but that’s the beauty in it. I’ve seen myself become stronger. I am confident when she goes through it’ll build her character because it’s helped build mine. I am not fully grown into myself and I wonder if I ever will be. I find comfort knowing that. It’s scary to put yourself out there when you have no idea who you are. But know enough about yourself to know what your strengths are and where you’re limited.

This post is really transparent. This is me being vulnerable to anyone listening because I’ve spoken to a lot of people who share the same feelings I do or at some point did, but no one is openly talking about it. Trust me, I know it’s scary. This is out of my comfort zone but I feel good about this because to anyone listening, know that the path you’re on and where you’re at in figuring out who you are is normal. No one tells you this stuff about adulthood. No one tells you how hard the “self” stuff is. Or maybe its super hard for me and I am using this post to vent. BUT THIS SHIT IS HARD YOU GUYS!!!! But it’s not impossible and we are all going to get through it. Finding your support system, trusting my own unique process, and being grounded in faith that things will get better have helped me get through the motions. It’s inspired me to keep pushing. It’s helped me become the person, partner, future mom, plant mom, girlfriend, friend, daughter, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH that I am today. I am eternally thankful for where I am at now and where I am going to be.

Self-Care Sunday

It’s Sunday and I don’t typically post BUT I had to show you guys an amazing video collaboration that I did with @girlwiththeplaybook who also happens to be the author for Motivation Monday: Finding Your Support System.

I teamed up with Kenya to remind you all how important it is to self-care, self-love, and give yourself that time to make sure you’re living your best life.

 

We can lose sight of ourselves and our goals if we don’t be intentional in how we treat ourselves. It’s one of the most important things we can do and if you don’t you’re going to drive yourself insane because you will keep pouring yourself into things and other people without investing in yourself.

Love is a set of reinforcing behaviors. You can do things every day that keep you on track. It’s important for me to have 3 objectives of things I want to accomplish. They’re not always work-related. Sometimes it’s cleaning my room, showering, meditating. I work the best in 3’s and it helps me stay focused and grounded.

I love to start my work week on Sunday’s. While most people rest on Sunday’s, I like to use the first few days of the week to really be productive and layout what I want to accomplish this week. I also spend a few hours with myself. I do things I like to do. Most of it is silent or work related but that’s okay with me.

Give yourself the permission to disconnect from people. You will be a better person once you start taking care of yourself and choose how you want to invest your personal energy.

Motivation Monday: Finding Your Support System

I am so happy to introduce a new section on my blog for my friends, fellow bloggers, or influencers to showcase their craft on my platform. When I first launched in January I wanted to focus my attention to creating a space that everyone felt heard as well as collaborating with other people that I look up to. I firmly believe that collaboration is so much better competition.

Kenya Smith is one of the first people I thought of when I was thinking about starting this. She is one of the most inspirational and motivational people I know and I am so happy to feature her on my page!

For more information on her and what she does please follow her on social media!

Happy Monday!!!

-T.

unnamed (3).jpgWritten By: Kenya Smith
https://www.instagram.com/girlwiththeplaybook/

“Characteristics of a Support System:
– Stick through hard times
– Being motivational
– Help in any way shape or form
– Honesty/Transparency
Surprisingly, a lot of people in the world go through life without any kind of support system. To help them through school, finding their career or passion, getting through emotional situations, people without a support system go through these situations alone. I could never imagine going through the things I’ve been through in this life without my supportive groups. Because like my great-grandmother always said, ” It takes a village to raise a child”. And with every new thing I encounter in my life, I am put back into child form just to maneuver my way through. 
So for my people that have a strong support system, treasure them all because God has placed them in your life for a reason. And for the others reading this that feel alone, open yourself up. Ask the Lord for guidance to find the surrounding circle that’s best for you. And remain patient, because you don’t want just anyone within your support collective. Allow people in, that have similar outlooks on your goals, or are just willing to invest their time and energy into your advancement.
For those who feel like they can do it all alone. And have someone trying to come in and help. Let that person in just once, and see the blessings that come into your life. All I know is Jesus was God’s right hand, Oprah makes life decisions based on the honesty of her best friend Gail, and Mary Kate is not said with Ashley Olsen. I’m sure that things can be done individually but with multiple heads together greatness happens.
You can change the world by yourself, but its way more fun to have the people who helped you to the top surrounding you when you reach that goal. Support systems are needed.”
Thank you for listening and thank you to Kenya for being apart of this!