The 5 AM Club

For the past few years, I’ve found rising early to be a “secret weapon” allowing me to be more productive, more focused, and get more done. As the speaker in this video explains, these early morning hours are magical. The rest of the world is quiet, distractions are less, and the mind is at its sharpest.

There’s a lot of good stuff in the video; do watch it all. A few tips resonated with my own experience:

  • You have to have a morning ritual. I like the “20/20/20”1 he describes. Make this what works for you. For me, my ritual is tightly scripted and an absolute habit at this point. I get up and go on autopilot—that’s the key.
  • Prepare for success the night before. The no computer in bed rule is huge. When I stopped surfing social media and reading the news in bed, I discovered much better sleep. This is a hard habit to break, but worth it. I further prepare for success by laying out my clothes, filling the tea kettle, setting up my study space, and making sure my books are in the right place and right order.
  • Habits take time. The latest research shows it takes 66 days to instill a new habit2. Rising early and running your morning ritual takes time, a couple months worth, and is hard until you get there.
  • Have a why. In order to get past the hump of making a new habit, you need to have a clear sense of what you are wanting to achieve with it. For me, rising early was the only way to get in quality study time for school. Thus, my desire for good grades and completing my degree became a powerful motivation to begin rising early. Now, I rise early because I enjoy it.

What has been your experience with rising early? 

  1. 20 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of reviewing your plans/goals for the day, and 20 minutes of learning
  2. Neurologically, this is wiring in a new pathway in the basal ganglia

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