UPDATE: I've moved my wakeup time to 4:30 a.m. I explain why in Clear the Clutter.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you'll know that my husband Kiran and I have been waking up at 3 a.m. during the week. I've been asked a lot of questions about this and decided to write a blog post that answers those questions.
How do you wake up so early?
After having children, I quickly learned the necessity of waking up before them in order to get organized and be ready to start the day on the right foot. My kids are usually up around 6:30 a.m., so I would wake up around 6 a.m.
Prior to having children, I would usually hit snooze on my alarm clock multiple times and often found myself scrambling in the morning. I am not a morning person, but since my kids are early risers, I had to train myself to wake up early.
A little while back I came across Robin Sharma’s book, The 5AM Club and was inspired to start waking up a little earlier - 5 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. I highly recommend that you read this book if you want to get a good understanding of the benefits of sleeping and waking up early.
Waking up at 5 a.m. turned out to be quite beneficial and though it was a little difficult at first, it got easier overtime. In Clear the Clutter, I share all of the strategies that I use in order to make it easier for me to wake up early.
Why did you switch from 5 a.m. to 3 a.m.?
I was pretty satisfied with my 5 a.m. routine until we had another Covid lockdown. My 4 children were all home for two weeks during the Winter Break and then we were told that the break would be extending for another week or two. The last time we were told this, they ended up extending the break for the rest of the school year! Obviously, I started to panic.
Having my children at home for such a long period of time was making it very difficult for me to get any work done and I was starting to feel overwhelmed. I knew that I had to come up with a new plan if I wanted to regain control of everything I had to get done.
I found it very difficult to be productive in the evenings after spending a full day with my extremely energetic children and would accomplish very little whenever I tried to work at night. Often, I’d plan to work once the kids went to bed, but would end up watching Netflix and drinking wine instead. I just didn’t have the energy or discipline to work at night.
That was when I realized that I should just sleep earlier and wake up earlier. My children were all in bed around 7:30 p.m. So if I could be in bed by 8 p.m., that would mean I could wake up at 3 a.m. and get the recommended 7 hours of sleep that I needed.
I told Kiran my idea and he was intrigued. He was also finding it a struggle to keep up with work during the lockdown. That evening we were in bed by 8 p.m. and woke up the next day at 3 a.m.
How does it feel to wake up at 3 a.m.?
Both Kiran and I love this change. It gives us a head start in the morning and we no longer feel like we’re overwhelmed or stressed by everything that we have to get done. We’re also in a much better mood by the time our children wake up because we’ve had time to focus on ourselves.
I know that this will be hard to believe, but it has actually been easier for me to wake up at 3 a.m. than 5 a.m. I think the reason it’s easier is because I have more time than when I was waking up at 5 a.m. and therefore I’m more motivated to get out of bed. I don’t want to lose those valuable hours and find myself playing catch up all day. When I was waking up at 5 a.m., the main thing I’d be able to accomplish was my workout, so it wasn’t as much of an incentive, making it more difficult to get out of bed.
What do you do at 3 a.m.?
Luckily the lockdown is now over and my children have all returned to school and daycare. If they were still at home, I would use this time to work. But since I can now work during the day, the main things I do during those early morning hours are cook dinner, exercise and prepare our breakfast smoothies.
There are other things that I do during my morning and night routines that have greatly benefited me. I share specific details in the Clear the Clutter Membership. I will also help you develop a personalized and effective morning and night routine for yourself.
Don’t your kids wake up from all of the noise?
My kids are early risers, but deep sleepers. My one year old has a noise machine in her room, so maybe that’s why she sleeps through it. My 5 and 7 year old sleep through anything. Even when we lived in a small condo, they rarely woke up from the noise. My 3 year old is the lightest sleeper and he does occasionally wake up. We just keep it dark downstairs and he falls right back to sleep on the sofa.
We try our best to whisper and not make too much noise. We also had this house soundproofed when we renovated, so that’s probably helping too.
What are the benefits of waking up so early?
Obviously, the greatest benefit is time. I now have time to think and just enjoy the stillness of the early morning hours.
I’m no longer worried or stressed about another lockdown or having to keep my children at home if they have Covid symptoms. I know that I can just do my work at 3 a.m. and make myself available to them during the day. In fact, I’m actually writing this blog post at 4 a.m. because my 3-year-old, Josh, isn’t feeling well today and won’t be going to preschool. I’ll get my writing and editing done in the morning so that I can focus on him during the day.
I don't waste time in the evenings watching TV, drinking wine and eating junk food. Kiran also does intermittent fasting and when we’d stay up late, it was always so difficult for him to fast. Now, it’s a lot easier since he goes to bed so early.
I’m cooking again! When we were short on time we were ordering food more often. We were also eating food that we didn’t love because we’d just make things that were quick and easy. Now I actually have the time to make some of our favourite meals and often try new recipes.
Do you miss having down-time in the evenings?
I honestly don’t miss it at all because I haven’t completely cut it out. I don’t wake up at 3 a.m. on the weekend, so I can still stay up late and watch Netflix on Friday and Saturday night. This is more than enough time. Staying up late every evening was excessive and not a good use of my time, nor was it a healthy lifestyle choice for me.
Instead of having wine in the evenings with Kiran, we’ll just enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. We still have time to talk and relax and no longer have hectic mornings.
Waking up at 3 a.m. is not something that I just started doing overnight. I’ve had to shift my mindset and make a lot of lifestyle changes in order to get here. In Clear the Clutter I share my entire process and will help you transform your life so that you can be more efficient and productive. We’ll do this step-by-step and customize it to your lifestyle. You can find out more here.
I know that waking up at 3 a.m. might sound a little extreme, but if you’re limited on time, it truly isn’t. If you find that you have an abundance of time, then maybe this isn’t the right schedule for you. But if you’re always short on time, constantly scrambling to get things done and feel stressed and overwhelmed, give it a shot. It truly is life changing.
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