In lockdown, one of the best things you can do to keep yourself sane is to keep your routine. Keep chipping away at your habitual processes and routines to give yourself something to do, something to look forward to and something that will help you adjust back to normal life…when that does come.
But lockdown is also the time of unlimited sleep-ins, snacks, Netflix’s ‘Are you still watching’ screen and walking around in your PJ’s all day. So, it’s the prime opportunity for you to start a new habit, revitalise your drive and passion for your life or career and do something no one else is doing.
It took me a while to get over the prospect that waking up at 5 AM would leave me with approximately 4 HOURS before I have to start tapping away at my computer thinking how could I possibly fill this time without mindless swiping on Tik Tok? But I decided that keeping my routine would do far more good than harm.
Robin Sharma, author of The 5 AM Club, first introduced me to the concept of waking up in the early hours of the morning.
The concept of being awake and moving before the rest of the world had even left the comfy confines of their beds really sparked my interest. Think of what you could achieve when your competition is sleeping!
Briefly, The 5 AM Club, no it’s not a cult…but maybe it should be, involves, you guessed it, getting up at 5 AM, 5 days a week and practicing the 20/20/20 rule.
- 20 minutes to move – for me, it’s yoga or stretching (nothing major!).
- 20 minutes to reflect – for me, it’s a guided mediation using Calm.
- 20 minutes to grow – for me, it’s reading, and right now it’s Tim Ferris’s The 4-Hour Work Week. It could also be reading the news or an article to teach you something new.
I finish this with a 10-minute mini planning session for the day where I write down all of the ‘Need to Haves’ and ‘Nice to Haves.’ This sets me up for success knowing the minimum things I need to achieve today, and the extras that would be rewarding (think: writing an article on LinkedIn or watching the reunion episode of Tiger King…I’m not saying those two things are on my to-do list today…but they might be).
Just think of how much you can achieve by getting up just a little bit earlier in the day. And don’t deprive yourself of sleep. Try to go to sleep earlier. And if that’s not possible, your body will adapt to this new habit within 66 days. So you might not get a choice in that matter. 😂
But say you start work at 8:30 AM, your commute is 45 minutes to an hour, so really you are getting up around 6:30 AM. Waking up an hour and a half early to feel BETTER, be MORE productive for the rest of the day and do something NO ONE ELSE is doing right now – that doesn’t seem all that too bad.
But when your commute has suddenly turned into the time it takes to walk up the stairs – this might seem like an excess of time. You could really get out of bed, get dressed (if you even do that these days), make a coffee be sitting at your laptop within 15 minutes of pulling the covers off.
However, after Robin’s hour-long routine, you’ve already focused your brain, stretched your limbs and hopefully written down all of the things you need to achieve for the day and learned a new thing, or two. Now, I have time to do all the other things that sit on my to-do list, that never get touched. Plus, there is this feeling of patience and time that suddenly makes me wonder why I ever let myself stress and feel rushed in the mornings (we’ve ALL been there!).
Take writing this article, it’s 6:45 am and I am writing a LinkedIn article while everyone else is either waking up groggy-eyed or maybe even haven’t even woken up at all.
But at the end of the day, you have to do this for yourself. Because once you experience the feeling of not having to rush and being able to start working on things that you never seem to find the time for, you feel energised and excited for the day to come. I can’t tell you how much more energy, a clearer head and productive I feel on the days that I stick to my 5 AM routine versus the days I try to have a sleep in.
So check out the book, ask me for some tips, definitely don’t deprive yourself of sleep (go to bed earlier!) and try something new.
*Side effects of this routine. You may develop a coffee addiction, you may start going to be earlier and your friends will be wondering why you are texting them back at 5am and you may feel ready to take on the world…haters beware.
Also posted to LinkedIn.