It’s 5:09am. I’ve just taken a sip of my lemon water, the first warm drink of my morning. I’m sitting at my desk typing this blog post as it is the task I set out to do today. Welcome to my weekday mornings, which starts at 5am daily and welcome to the 5am club! The 5am club is a concept started by author Robin Sharma where you wake up at 5am , do twenty minutes of exercise, twenty minutes of planning and twenty minutes of study, daily. The idea is that if you wake up early to do these things you get a headstart on your day and on others who sleep till 6am and later. The concept is linked to Chinese rice paddy culture where the famous proverb, ‘ No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich,’ stems from. (Go read Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers; it is an insightful book detailing the story of success). The idea is based on the habits of successful people; success, as I mentioned before, does not necessarily mean great wealth or fame but it does mean that as an individual you are spending your time doing what you want to be doing and enjoying the things you have worked to have. While I may not follow the 20 minute structure and my reasons for rising early are not primarily based on success I’d like to share how my club membership has enriched my life with you.
It started when I was on maternity leave. At the time Scout slept till after 7am. After the six weeks following my c-section I wanted to start exercising to get fit again as pregnancy made me feel weak towards the end. As you can imagine, it was difficult to find time to exercise as I looked after Scout on my own and had a household to take care of while Wesley was away at work (gosh! The world before Covid seems almost a distant memory!). Our evenings were spent being parents and partners and, to be honest, I was too exhausted at the end of the day to have a meaningful workout. I also felt that as a new mom I had very little time to myself so at some point I decided to get up an hour earlier than my family so that I could express milk and exercise. It worked really well. I not only got into a good rhythm but I began adding things like a time with God through visiting scripture and some time reading a chapter of whichever novel was on my book stand. It was going so well and then, after six months of maternity leave, I returned to work and struggled to find time for myself. I became frustrated. I really wanted a quiet moment in the day but getting to work by 8am meant that I was getting up at 6am, plus I was exhausted from all the mommy duties that take up my evenings. I felt a little sad at the fact and knew that I needed to find a way to honour my responsibilities while finding a moment to just be me.
A colleague and friend mentioned to me that she wakes up daily at 5am to read a book and have some tea. I decided that I would attempt a 5am start to the day and bring back some of what I’d enjoyed during my maternity leave, though I will say that starting your day a little later is a little easier than the 5am start but I was determined to feel like myself again so I gave it a go. And it has served me well!
So how do I spend my mornings? On a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I exercise for around 40 minutes doing yoga, HIIT training or whichever video my favourite youtube trainers have suggested for the day. The other twenty minutes are spent sauntering around the house or packing gym equipment (I should be more economical with my time on these mornings but I am rising at 5am so cut me some slack!). I read or write on a Wednesday morning. It’s honestly my favourite morning of the week as I spend an hour doing what I truly love and it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. I’ve left out Fridays, haven’t I? Well, Friday is technically the start to the weekend, ‘kleinsaturdag’ as South Aricans might say. I ‘sleep in’ on a Friday; I wake up at 6am and treat myself to a coffee and croissant on my way to work. As much as I love 5am wake ups and productivity, I really love Fridays! Which begs the question: do I sleep in on the weekend? I do, if you count a 7am run every Saturday and Sunday morning as sleeping in. I feel that getting up any later is a waste of valuable time; I’d rather have an afternoon nap than lose out on the time when I feel most energised and productive.
How have I benefited? My life feels enriched. I am able to be both organised and productive, which gives me a sense of security. I also feel that I am using my time wisely; for me, it’s about a sense of purpose. How I’ve chosen to spend my mornings makes me feel whole as it contributes to my physical and mental well-being. I genuinely feel as though my days are not wasted and that I am living meaningfully. Of course there are mornings when I struggle to pull myself out of bed and there are days when I need to sacrifice the early start because of needing to stay awake a little later the night before; that’s the thing about rising early, you also need to be disciplined enough to go to bed early so that you get a good night’s rest. There’s no point in rising early if you don’t have the energy to power through the things you set out to do. But I can honestly say that joining the 5am club has been one of the best decisions I’ve made!
So how do you join this prestigious club? Well, waking up at 5am is the first step but choosing how to spend that extra time in your day could be just the thing you need to find balance and harmony in your life.
Have you come across this concert before? And is it something you think you could do on a daily basis? I’d love to read your opinions on the matter.
Until my next post,