A while ago I wrote a post about becoming more awesome and living life well. My mission to become more awesome has been ticking along quietly. I haven’t won any Nobel prizes, written any books, or landed an awesome job. But I have made a simple and amazing life change about four weeks ago. I started getting up early.
Since having children, the thought of getting up early has seemed like an abomination. Why, why would I get up before they do, when I’ve also been up at midnight, 2.00, 4.30, and 5.30 tending to their needs? Well, let me tell you, I didn’t. Almost never. The only times I got up before they did were if they slept in after 7.30 or if I had transport to catch.
Recently, however, it dawned on me (pardon the pun) that getting up early would give me time to do some of the things that I long to do each day and never seem to have time to do. Read the Bible. Pray about the things my friends have asked me to pray about. Take a shower. (Note: I have been taking showers since having children, but at really odd times.) And my children are now pretty consistent at going to bed between 7 and 7.30 and waking between 6.30 and 7. So, why not join the 6am Club and fit those things in before the chaos begins.
This is not a new idea, but reading the book Shopping For Time put some flesh on the bones of the idea for me. With this book, I found I had to ignore the weird shopping metaphor to get to the meat of the authors’ ideas, which, it turned out, were all good ones. The authors of this book also have a blog, where they write about their own 5am Club. Now, there ain’t no way I’m joining the 5am Club. That’s just brutal. To get up at 5am I’d have to be in bed by 8pm, and that’s usually when I’m just getting dinner or getting home from running (did I mention? I started running too, also part of becoming more awesome!). So, 6am it is for me.
There are so many benefits to getting up early. Our brains work better in the mornings. We can plan the day ahead. Some people choose to use the extra time to exercise. Many successful people subscribe to the early riser way of life.
For me, it’s been a bit of a revelation. Instead of going from 0 to 60mph at the cry of the first-to-wake child, I now have time. Time to start the day by reading the Bible and praying (this is crucial… I actually struggle to believe it took me this long to work out how important this is). Time to look at the schedule for the day, plan things that ought to be done, and think of activities to enjoy with my children. Time to drink a peaceful, and hot, cup of tea before the rush begins. Time to shower! Ah!
And another great thing is, I don’t really feel more tired than I used to. In fact, I perhaps feel a little less tired. I frequently wake 10 minutes before my alarm even goes off. I never used to wake before my toddler alarm started shouting. I do go to bed earlier than I used to, so I get a little less free time, but the things I’m doing at that
time of day, when I’m sleepy and not at my best, really don’t matter anyway, so I’m OK with that. I can now make the most of my best time of day, rather than starting off late and ending up being shouty mummy as we rush out the door for the preschool run, late again.
If we were to have another baby, I would be heading straight for the exit of the 6am Club. But for now, it is a brilliant addition to my day. (I even do it at the weekends. It’s that good.)
Try it for yourself! If you need practical tips on how to do it, there are lots of articles online to help, like this one.