This morning, after journaling, tapping, enjoying a leisurely breakfast of coffee and an egg-and-cheese sandwich, and working for a couple of hours, I went for a walk around Central Park. On my way home, over an hour later, I stopped into Whole Foods for lunch. I was thinking some sushi or soup would be nice—then I saw the breakfast buffet was still on. Because it was before 10:30 a.m.
I used to rush to get to this buffet and was hardly ever successful. I’m not a morning person (or at least I didn’t think I was). I mean, I always wake up in a good mood, but I typically sleep well past 8 a.m. But after reading Robin Sharma’s brilliant new book, my husband and I recently joined The 5 A.M. Club. Frankly, in just a month, it’s been totally transformative. Here’s how:
1. You have major time to think and reflect.
Ever wake up and wish you could have some time just for you… but work awaits, and you have only 10 seconds to take a breath before jumping in the shower? Imagine having time to journal, reflect, meditate, drink tea in bed, and even read a few pages of a book. It feels out of reach, right? It did for me too. Now it’s the best part of my day. If you go to bed around 9:30 or so, you’re not even more tired than usual when the 5 a.m. alarm goes off.
2. It’s easy to be device-free for 2-3 hours first thing.
When you wake up at 5 a.m., nothing is happening. There are no texts, emails, or calls. You can feel calm leaving your device in another room until your morning routine is complete. How satisfying is it just to think about that?
3. You do better work (in less time).
I know many highly capable night owls, but for me, nothing really good gets done creatively at night (or even after lunch, tbh). If I start something at 7 a.m. versus 7 p.m., the results are night and day (ooh, the puns we can use here)! Sharma suggests doing your most important 90 minutes of work in a “tight bubble of total focus” first thing after completing the 20/20/20 morning routine: 20 mins to move, 20 to reflect, 20 to grow. I’ve adapted it to me—I do 30 mins of reflection and growth and work out later in the day. Then I dive into my most important project. It’s amazing what an alert, clear, intentional mind can achieve in 90 minutes with a focused morning brain!
4. You get all these bonus side effects.
Beneficial choices abound! That extra drink after dinner? Nope! Late-night snacking? Impossible—you’re asleep! Also, ever find yourself hard-pressed for time to squeeze in a workout some days? Not with extra morning hours added to your schedule. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
5. You feel less stress.
The self-control that a 5 a.m. alarm harnesses within you touches all areas of your life—and when we don’t feel in control, we experience stress. I can now look at my to-do list worry-free because I have so much time each morning to complete each task. How do you think this will feel to you—to not have a shortage of time again?
A 5 a.m. start felt impossible to me just weeks ago… until it didn’t. Robin Sharma puts it simply: “mind over mattress.” I hope my mind will continue to win.
Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!