I’m trying the 4am Club for size: here’s what’s happening
There’s a lot of talk these days about the 5am club — that is, the group of people who get up early in the morning to work on their business projects and/or goals.
Personally, I’m more of a morning person and I enjoy getting the heavy lifting out of the way early in the day. As an entrepreneur, mother, wife, etc… I struggle all the dang time with not having enough hours early in the day to fulfil all that I want to do and then many items are often pushed to the back burner for the next day or days to come. I feel like a total failure sometimes.
So, I thought, what if I shifted my working time? Instead of working from 5am — 9pm and asleep by 9:30/10pm, why not shift it to 4am to 8pm and aim to be asleep by 8:30/9pm.
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Finding your golden hours
The importance of finding your golden hours to work when you’re an entrepreneur is paramount to your success. But we’re all unique beings and these hours will differ greatly for larks (early morning risers) and night owls (those who enjoy staying up late into the night).
When polled, over 40% of people admitted that they were more productive in the morning v the afternoon to evening hours. What does this mean? Get more done earlier.
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Ditching the 5am club
I’ve been a committed member of the 5am club for a while now, but I wanted to take it a step further and try the 4am club for size and see what I can accomplish in 30 days.
In this post I’ll be updating it frequently throughout the 30 days with a day-by-day check-in on my successes, feelings and I’m sure straight up misery at times. Enjoy!
The overall experiment: waking up at 4am daily for 30 days. Measuring success/ productivity based on my ability to increase site traffic, create content and engagement, accomplish my daily workload. I’ll post tangibles by the end of the 30 days.
Today is the day…
Day 1: I was anxious last night about the early morning wake up call, so I couldn’t fall asleep until 10:30ish. But, I’m feeling surprisingly chipper!
Being up with the early birds makes me feel like Will Smith in I Am Legend — just me and my dog.
I was feeling in the zone, had a great workflow and accomplished at least half of my work by 7am.
Felt the lack of sleep by 3pm — happy I did all my work by 12pm today because I was dragging myself.
Day 2: I purposely booked a podcast early in the morning for 5:30am so I would be held accountable for waking up early. It worked! I was up and excited as soon as the alarm went off.
Managed to accomplish the majority of my workload before noon.
Felt super tired after having my lunch. An extra cup of coffee was needed today!
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Day 3: I was dragging myself this morning. Honestly it sucked waking up this early. The only reason I woke up was because of this post. I reminded myself that I just need to keep going.
Something a little different — I opted to go for a walk after my morning routine to get blood flowing and wake up a little. Plus who doesn’t feel better after a nice walk in the morning with the birds chirping? I might be on to something with this morning walk…
Missed out on 30 mins of prime working time due to my walk but I was able to still get some heavy lifting out of the way before 7am.
Day 4: Morning walks FTW 🙌 there’s something about hearing the birds belting their songs like Adele to feel like I’m in the front row of my own personal nature concert. Safe to say this is my new addiction.
Is it getting any easier to wake-up? Tough to say. I really enjoy getting so much done in the morning, but I really do miss my bed when I first wake-up!
Day 5: Said a longing goodbye to my bed this morning and I’m already planning a nap for later. Went to bed later than I’d usually planned, but Stranger Things and Neflix’s autoplay got the best of me last night.
Overall today was hard and the lack of sleep threw my body for a loop. I didn’t even get close to 6 hours of sleep, so I felt like I was dragging myself till noon. What’s so special about noon? Nap time.
Ended up scheduling (yes, I even added it to my schedule) a nap today and napped with the baby. Feeling mighty jealous that he gets to do this every day.
Early bed this evening. Sun’s still up and I’m all tucked in.
Day 6: Feeling pretty great! I decided to up the ante this morning with my morning routine to get the blood flowing before my walk; I opted to do 30 burpees after my first glass of water. It was hard. My limbs felt like jello and basically were fighting me each rep of the way. It’s was a good challenge.
Was able to fire off all my emails to clients, prep for my meetings today and finish a new blog post. All things considered I’ve won the day. Anything else done is gravy.
Day 7: I woke up at 4:55am… I managed to sleep through my alarm for 55 minutes. Enough said.
Feeling like a failure today, but I knew this would be a messy and imperfect experiment. A little deflated at the moment.
Overall the day was good! Although I didn’t get as much done in the morning as I’d hoped for, life happens and it’s not the end of the world if some low ticket items get pushed to tomorrow morning instead.
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Day 8: YES! Woke up on time. Super pleased. I may have turned up the volume on my alarm, too.
I’ve been asked several questions about my morning routine, so here’s what it generally looks like:
I plan out my day the night before by time blocking specific tasks. This method has worked to keep my ADD mind on task for the pre-set times, otherwise it’s a free for all with this monkey brain swinging from one shiny item to the next.
When I wake in the morning I do the usual bathroom routine and then pop downstairs to drink a large glass of water. Feels ohhhh so good! I recommend room temperature water — it’s easier on your digestive system and less aggressive than cold water first thing in the morning.
From there I’ll do my burpees/ walk. Some kind of movement.
I wait 60 minutes before having my coffee, and by that time I’m home from my walk. So then I’ll make a coffee and sit outside on the deck and get to my emails and meeting planning for the day — some light stuff initially.
Second up on the task list is any large ticket items I can do before business hours. It can range from keyword research, a blog post or two, some sort of new online course I’m doing, or content creation. I follow a monthly schedule for specific items, so I’ll usually use that for guidance.
Drink a second cup of water. (sounds silly to list, but if I’m not deliberate it won’t happen.)
This is around 6:45am, so I’ll go do my 5- minute journaling (highly recommend!), and if my son is up I’ll grab him and start breakfast.
Day 9 – 14: It’s all a blur now but I’m in a rhythm and I’m now trying to get all my friends to join. None but one want to be a part of this – and I get it. Regardless, this 4AM train is moving on.
Routine remains the same but I’ve actually started to remove the smaller menial tasks initially from my day and start doing one high-ticket (high-converting, whatever tickles your fancy) item right away. I’ve found far more progress within the last week or so in doing that.
I’ve been asked by a member of my team if it’s getting easier and the answer is YES! And no, I have not been able to nap midday. Although I have been cranking back an extra tea in the afternoon.
Day 15 – 20: We’re over the hump! Less than halfway to go and although I am proud of the progress, I’m not counting the days till it’s done. Which is a good thing? I quite enjoying it actually. The productivity is addicting.
Been continuing to front load my day do the hard thing(s) early on and keep email and smaller stuff after brekkie.
Sleep has been a massive priority lately. I had a few ‘later’ nights – around 9pm or so but I felt it in the morning. Bedtime has been consistently 8-8:30PM. And funnily enough when I posted on social media about it I got back 10+ messages from friends that they’ve been doing the same!
It’s interesting because as I put my son down and tell him why we go to bed early and how we need sleep to reset the system and grow, I somehow forgot to parent myself, too! Yet, when I started being intentional about going to bed on time, it was damn hard at first. My monkey mind would lead me to try and do all the things on my to-do list before I was “allowed” to go to bed.
Anyway, to-do list or not it’s irrelevant past 8PM in this house now. Making sleep a priority not only has changed my overall day the following day, it’s changed my energy and the way I can carry (not drag…) myself throughout the day. And that is definitely something to be intentional about too.
Day 21 – 30: We jumped a few days because between product launches and webinars it got a little busy BUT rest assured I did stay on track and zero slip with the alarm since early on.
As I sit past day 30 as I write this, here are my main takeaways:
- Had I not tried something hard and gotten extremely uncomfortable, I would have never uncovered something that I actually like doing: getting up at 4AM (yes, even on the weekends). So I need to do more uncomfortable things to learn more about myself. (Hint: next up is cold showers! Brrrr! Yuck! Ugh!)
- Looking back before I started this process I thought I was pretty efficient with my time. Since starting to front load my day I actually get more done before 7AM than I used to before 12PM or later
- Everyone has ‘golden hours’ and I happened to stumble upon mine – lucky gamble!
- Sleep is SO important. Sounds obvious right? But speaking from my experience I did not respect my sleep schedule as much as I should have for years and damn well neglected it. I’m fortunate that it did not lead to any bad health illnesses. Since starting my solo (+ one now) 4AM club I now go to bed between 8-8:30PM and I’m super intentional about my night time routine. Basically my toddler and I have the same bedtime routine. (minus the diapers for me)
- I will continue to wake-up at 4AM because it’s become an easy habit and I quite like the feeling of getting sh*t done before anyone else wakes up – at least it feels that way as I sit alone with my dog in my office typing away.
What are your thoughts about bumping up your wake-up call to 4AM? Yay, nay, maaaaaaybe?! Let me know what you think!
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