Think of your ideal morning. More than likely, you’re thinking of a slow-moving start, sunlight pouring into your windows, coffee and breakfast brought up to you, and no tasks for the day.
While I’d love to have a challenge where I test out that morning routine (seriously, please), I’m going to try out a different ideal morning.
Waking up at five in the morning is a productivity hack for many people. I’m not sure if you can call it a hack – it’s just waking up 2-3 hours earlier than every sane person, but people love this early morning routine. There are books about it, podcasts, YouTube videos, TikToks, and so much more.
I needed to wake up at five in the morning to see what all the fuss was about. And spoiler alert: I think I’m going to keep doing it.
It’s been almost a year since I wrote my first Markey Tries It article. Ironically, it was also about morning routines, but none were quite as early as this week’s.
I don’t think this challenge will be as hard as it looks. I love mornings. I’ve become a morning person in the last year after carefully crafting a perfect routine that works for me and my lifestyle.
But I also don’t wake up ‘too’ early right now. My perfect morning starts with me waking up at 7:30 and playing Wordle in bed before I hit the ground running. My routine lets me work out, play with my cat, and catch up with the news before the day ‘starts’ (I usually don’t start my day until noon, if I can help it).
While I’m very comfortable with my current routine, I’ve always been interested to see what the fuss was about getting up at five in the morning. That time, specifically, has always seemed to be a sweet spot for the early risers, and I wanted to drink that juice this week.
My Week of 5 AM Wakeups
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I, unintentionally, started this week early (pun intended).
The continuous theme of this week is how surprised I was that waking up and getting out of bed early isn’t as difficult as I thought. But staying awake throughout the day does get tough.
My first thought on the first morning was, “What am I going to do with all of this extra time?” And I think that also will stay consistent throughout the challenge.
When I wake up at five, I’m done with all my tasks by 11, and then I have the rest of the day and nothing to do. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m a very goal-oriented person. So when the clock hasn’t hit noon yet, but I’m finished with all my tasks, instead of taking the rest of the day off, I simply add more tasks. It got exhausting pretty quickly.
The next day, I woke up *around* five in the morning. My sweet demon cat was ready to go at 4:30, then I slept until 5:30 to make up for his rude awakening. I also didn’t get up and out of bed right away. I did my Wordle, responded to texts, and debated why the heck I was doing this challenge for a bit before I was ready to go.
Today, I was intentional about not rushing my morning. Yes, it’s long. My morning routine is already pretty extensive, and by pushing it earlier, I often feel like I need to add more to my to-do list. But that’s not what I want to get out of this week. I want to have the time to meditate or walk or call my fiancé. I want to be able to take an early morning and turn it into self-care.
I kept telling myself that it was okay for me to wake up earlier and not get twice as much done because of it. In the end, I still have just as many hours in the day as before, I’m just transferring the night hours into early morning hours.
That being said, it was hard not to get some stuff off my plate before the day even began, and I was very grateful for the extra morning moments to do so.
It’s day three, and I am now fully convinced that anyone who wakes up at five can run the world. Ignore what I said about the hours being transferred from nighttime to morning, you are more productive in the morning.
I woke up to my cat peeing on my carpet this morning at exactly 4:59 am. While it wasn’t my favorite wake-up call, it got the job done and I was up and out of bed right on time. I did my normal morning routine and got some things crossed off my to-do list. But I was also able to go more in-depth with my mindful routines and journaling.
I genuinely enjoy these early mornings. The only downfall is that by about one in the afternoon, I hate everyone and I want to go to sleep. My fiancé took me on a date, and the movie went past 10 o’clock, and I swear I fell asleep in that theater.
I’m learning that my sweet spot for waking up is anywhere between 5:20 and 5:30. I don’t often wake up at five on the dot, unless my cat is peeing in my room or I am massively stressed about my to-do list.
I did have a fail this week, and I think that’s okay. I love waking up early. I can get ahead on work, have extra morning quiet hours, and feel very accomplished before noon hits.
But the majority of the world does not wake up before the sun, and they do not go to bed at nine pm. Because of that, it’s very difficult to maintain that routine every day. I’m glad I started this challenge early because there were times this week when I decided to stay out and stay up later and enjoy my nights rather than sacrifice my social life to wake up early.
I think waking up earlier is very beneficial, but I’m not sure how sustainable or necessary it is to do that every morning.
Something I’ve found while doing this challenge is that, no matter how much I’d like them to be, my mornings are not slow. My day slows down by 10 or 11 when everything on my to-do list is done and I’m questioning why I just did it all before the sun rose, but my mornings are hyper-productive.
I’m not upset about that. I love that I’m ahead of the game every morning. But this challenge didn’t exactly add mindfulness to my mornings, either. Because I’m waking up at five, I feel like I need to get more done so I can point to my accomplishments and use them as the reason I woke up so early.
The 5 am challenge became a healthy mixture of a blessing and a curse when I traveled to Virginia this weekend for a wedding. I was very thankful that I had ‘trained’ myself to wake up early, so I wasn’t caught off guard with the time difference. But I was also pretty exhausted when my alarm went off at five in the morning and my body was screaming that it was four.
The wedding weekend, no matter how busy, was, ironically, the time when I had my most quiet and slow mornings. I stayed in the bridesmaids’ house, so I had to stay relatively quiet, as to not wake anyone up. My mindful practices skyrocketed, and I genuinely believe my experience at that wedding was improved by my extra two and a half hours of quiet in the mornings.
The downside is that I know, now that I’m used to waking up at 5 EST, I might very possibly wake up at 4 CT, naturally…and that does horrify me.
My Early Mornings Review
This is definitely a challenge for the morning people. I will say that the biggest challenge for me was getting past the mental block of how early five in the morning seems in my head and how early it is.
Yes, it was a challenge, but once I did it a few times, I knew that I loved it.
If your days or mornings are hectic, I would suggest trying an earlier wake-up call. I loved it and felt as though my life and productivity improved greatly because of my early mornings.
Are you an early riser? What challenge should I try next? Comment below!
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