Why The 5am Hustle Won’t Work For You
Have you heard about the 5am hustle that’s been going around? Ok, it’s been going around for a while now, but it’s proving popular at the moment.
The idea is to get up at 5am or before, and start your day off on the right foot. Recommendations include: yoga, exercise, reading, writing in a journal, doing some work etc, before the official work day begins.
I need to pop a disclaimer in here – I think it’s a great idea to do this, and has proven to be successful for many people. If you have read my stuff before, you know that I am not the sort of person to be negative about the positive choices that other people are making – that’s just not how I roll.
My purpose in this article is to encourage the people who have seen other people doing this and are disheartened.
I’ve seen it – people saying they don’t know how they do it, they could never get up that early, they work really hard and are already tired – and the thought of attempting it fills them with dread.
This article is for you.
Getting up mega early doesn’t equal productivity and a happier life. It can of course help, but that is largely down to the habits that are done within this time. You can do this at any time of the day.
Yes, it is best to do it at the beginning of the day before you are weary from a full day, but this isn’t that much help if you are forcing yourself to get up much earlier than you want to.
Some of us – myself included – are just night owls. I could stay up all night easily, but getting up 3 hours earlier? No thanks!
The reason I am saying this is because I don’t want anyone to feel discouraged. I don’t want you to feel like you are lazy, or that you can’t achieve as much as somebody else, just because you would rather work during the night than in the morning.
My best work is done at night – fact. I’ve tried out lots of various times and methods now, and I always schedule my work in for the evening. This works for me – and that’s what I recommend – finding a way that works for you.
In fact, let’s give it an official name – The Routine That Works Best For You Method.
I may think of a catchier title, but for now I’ll stick with that!
Now I’ve got to say, I am a huge advocate of waking up earlier than you need to.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll have calculated the latest that you can stay in bed for, that gives you the minimal amount of time for getting ready and out of the door.
I’ve stopped doing this now.
Handily for me, my boyfriend has to get up for work at 6:30am (this is his minimal amount of time to get ready!) – but I don’t need to get up until 7:30am (this is when I get my daughter up).
Instead of lying in bed for another hour, I get up with him. This also means that we get to have breakfast together which is a nice way for both of us to start our day. It also means I have an hour to myself before my daughter gets up, so we aren’t rushing around together.
Now, what do I do in that extra hour in the morning?
I tend to:
- Respond to any social media messages such as Instagram
- Do some product work on my blog
- Write some articles for my freelance writing clients
- Do some blog writing/editing
- Do some blog research/work through courses
Things vary depending on what I have going on at that precise moment, so for example if I have a lot of writing work to do, that will take priority.
Some examples of things that early risers tend to get done in the morning are:
- Filling out a journal
Now, as I’ve already said – I’m a supporter of this. I love seeing people achieving things before the day has officially begun, and smashing their goals. A book that has helped many people with this is the Miracle Morning*.
I’m just saying that you don’t need to change your sleeping pattern if you don’t want to. You can still get a lot done without waking up at the crack of dawn – and just because you haven’t gotten up really early, doesn’t mean you aren’t efficient and productive.
Do what works best for you. Always.
I’ve done the early morning wake up. In my old job, I worked doing admin in an office 3 days a week, where we had an NHS cleaning contract. I managed to get one of the cleaning jobs to do in addition to my main role, as a way of earning extra income and helping out.
I had to get up at 4am, work 4:30-6:30am, get back to get my daughter ready for school, and then head off to work. I did this for quite a while – long enough for my body clock to adjust – and it did not work for me.
It was nice to get up when everyone else was asleep and know that I was earning extra money and to have that first job done before my daughter was awake.
I felt really energised, that I could get loads of stuff done, and felt really productive.
However, this didn’t last long. Throughout the day I would be feeling pretty exhausted. When it would roll around to 9pm my eyes would be closing and my brain had long turned to mush.
I’ve always used the evenings to work when my daughter was in bed, and with waking up early I found that I couldn’t do this at all. I would be so tired that I couldn’t get anything done at all in the evenings.
Not only that, but I would be soooo grumpy throughout the day – I don’t mind being honest about that! Such a grump. It was because I was really tired, and I just felt awful throughout the day, and this didn’t change.
9pm was the time I absolutely had to go to bed, with 10pm being the latest at the absolute max.
This wasn’t great, however, for my social life. If my friends asked me out for a meal, they’d want to meet at about 7pm at the earliest, and I remember one evening when we went out I ended up back home at about midnight. This wouldn’t be a problem if I was getting up at a normal time, but it was awful! I felt terrible and wasn’t happy that I’d only have 4 hours of sleep.
When my boyfriend and I weren’t living together too, this made things a bit difficult, because after he got back from work etc, it would be 6:30 pm at the very earliest – and I usually went over to his house because of my daughter (my brother was living with me at the time too). He lived nearly an hour away, so it meant not a lot of time together before I’d be exhausted.
One memorable time is when I fell asleep at his and woke up at 1 am! I was not happy!
So as I mentioned, you’ve got to do what works for you. Going back to my method –
The Routine That Works Best For You Method
This is 100% personal to you, and up to you to figure out what works best for you and your life.
With me, this is how it works:
- I like staying up late, and staying in bed longer in the morning, so this is what I do.
- My boyfriend also likes staying up late, and we spend time together just the 2 of us winding down and spending time together in the evening.
- I do my best work in the evening, so I make sure that I do this. At the moment, what I do is work 2 solid hours after my daughter has gone to bed. I put her up to bed at 7pm (she plays with her toys in her room until 8:30pm), and then I sit down and work until 9pm.
At 9pm, my boyfriend and I will start watching a boxset together. Currently it’s Criminal Minds!
- I quickly discovered after having my daughter, that I can only do certain things with her around. This changed everything for me in terms of my productivity.
I cannot do anything that requires any concentration with her around. I therefore can’t do any writing – whether that be for an article for my blog, an article for one of my clients, email newsletters etc.
So this kind of thing is reserved for when she is not around e.g. when she’s asleep.Things that I can do with her around, I do. These can include faffing around on social media (always faffing!), answering emails etc.Not only that – but the most important thing of all. I haven’t seen anyone else talk about this, so I feel like I really need to address it:
- Because when I allocate my time for working I solely focus on that, I make sure that everything else is done during the times that I haven’t time blocked it.
What I mean by that, is that everything else that can be done that’s not dedicated to my business is done when my daughter is there, or during the day.An example being – I rang and booked an appointment this morning before I walked in to work.
I rang my electric company when waiting for my daughter to finish school. After I picked my daughter up from school, we went and did the food shopping together.
When I am tidying/cleaning the house, I do it with my daughter there – something that I have been found to be really true, and that I am trying to stick to with my parenting – is that I don’t need to be her friend – I need to be her parent.
This is something that I have always struggled with, but it’s up to me to provide routine, rules and a safe, happy environment for her to thrive in.
She isn’t going to like it all – and that’s ok. That’s why I am happy to do things with her around such as the food shopping, cleaning and tidying up – and I get her to help me as well.
These are all normal things that need to be done, and this will help her in the future.
When I am working, I’m doing it for her. For us all as a family – making sure that we have enough money to get by, and also to show her that anything is possible if you work hard and believe that you can do it. I hope that I can lead by example.Just to clarify as well – I don’t spend the whole time rushing around doing errands and housework with her around! I pick my daughter up at 3:15pm and we are together until 7pm – we do lots of reading and playing games.
Something that you may have noticed in what I have been saying above, is that I have a plan for my time. This is what is most important when it comes to being productive and getting things done each day.
It’s very, very easy to get in a routine of going to work, coming home and cooking food, tidying up/cleaning and then sitting down exhausted on the sofa. And repeating this over and over.
If this hits home with you – then my advice to you is to decide what your goals are, and set yourself up for success with positive routines and habits that work best for you.
If that means waking up really early, give it a go. If that means doing something similar to what I am doing, give it a go. Work out what works best for you and run with that.
What can you do during the daytime or when your kids are around? Errands, phone calls, emails, housework, groceries etc. It’s not mean – it’s part of everyday life.
I remember my mum doing all of that when I was little, and it never bothered me (apart from when she was doing the hoovering when I was watching TV!).
Also, what can you do in the evening that will make the next day run more smoothly? Some things that you could do are:
- Packing your lunchbox
- Laying your clothes out for the following day
- Get your kids school uniform or usual clothes laid out (including shoes!)
- All of the washing up done/dishwasher loaded
- Check over your bank accounts and budget
- Check your diary/calendar to see what you have planned for that day and the rest of the week
- Decide what you want to have for breakfast. If you are feeling very prepared, you can get your breakfast stuff out ready e.g. cereal, bowl, spoon.
If you want to be more productive – you need to make a plan. Structuring your day may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but it will bring you a lot less stress and bring you closer to your goals.
Try out different schedules and work out what’s best for you – just make sure that you don’t compare yourself to anyone else and feel disheartened. We all have to do what is best for our lives, and our lives are all completely different.