Wake up!

Written by  //  November 18, 2013  //  Daily Juice  //  12 Comments

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Hello. Or maybe I should say “Good morning”. You see I’m writing this at 4 am as part of a little experiment I’m doing to shake up my schedule. Goodness. 4 am. Am I mad?!

I’m definitely at my best in the morning. By night time my brain is a bit weary. I’ve been doing a lot of my writing at night time though because that’s when I’ve got time.

My mornings are usually super-busy. I have four children to get to school and preschool and…, well I think you can imagine the kind of chaos that entails. By the time I’ve got all my little darlings sorted and had my ‘tuning-in’ time, it’s about 9:30 am  – well into a normal work day – and the phone is ringing, the inbox is pinging. It’s busy, busy, busy.

Because of all this I was doing a lot of my tricky thinking-type work at night. But I am not a night person. And it was taking me a long time to do stuff that at the other end of the day I could have got done in half the time. And double-y better.

So that’s why I decided to change things around.

It’s taken quite a bit of organisation. As I said, mornings are hardly peaceful chez Bickerstaff. And without boring you too much with how I’ve rearranged household-y stuff; I do lunch boxes and finding lost clothes (“Where’s my shoe?”) the night before, I hide away to do my work so the kids can’t find me and I’ve roped my husband into doing breakfast.

The other end of the day is a bit different too. I go to bed a whisker after the older kids. 9 ish.

And I get up at 4 am!

I work through until 7:30 and they are the BEST 3.5 hours of my workday. I can’t tell you how TERRIFIC I feel when I down tools at 7:30am! Truly!  It’s feels totally-awesomely- good to start the (usual) day having already got important stuff done.

At 7:30 I throw my trackies on, bundle the kids into the car, do the drop off (which takes ages ‘cos we do different kids at different times) and then when I get home I even squeeze in a quick walk and then I’m back, ready for part 2 of the work day!

I thought you I’d tell you about this because you might want to try it too! It’s really not as bonkers as it sounds, it’s doable even with kid and it has HEAPS of benefits!

Here’s why getting up (super) early works for me:

1. Kills procrastination. Because I’ve got out of a nice warm bed to sit at a cold computer I’m not going to waste that time playing about on Facebook or my emails. I don’t even turn them on! The 3.5 hours I do in the early morning are totally about the important stuff!

2. No interruptions. No-one phones or calls round at 4 am!

3. Better thinking. I think that because my mind isn’t cluttered up with an email I’ve just read, a meeting I need to go to or a phone call that’s coming, my mind works SO much better in the wee hours of the morning. And of course it’s not tired like it is as night time.

4. More present with the kids. From 3 pm I’m on school pick-ups, sports drop offs, homework, dinner and baths etc. But because I’m not planning on switching to work-mode after the kids are in bed, I’m more relaxed about all this. I’m no longer thinking “how-quickly-can-I-get-this-done-‘cos-I’ve-got-work-to-do”!

5. Productive. I just get more done. In the 3.5 hours from 4 am I get more work done than I would in 8 hours later in the day. Simple as that.

6. Sleeping better. When I wrote at night I would pretty well go straight from my computer to bed. But although I was tired I found it difficult to sleep. My brain was still buzzing. Now because I finish work so early (3 pm) my brain is very much in OFF mode by bedtime. I’m sleeping super-well.

7. Happier. I’m getting more of everything I want to do done! It’s making me feel much more peaceful. So I’m kinda peaceful and busy at the same time. Does that make sense?!

If you’re thinking about getting up early but need a wee bit more persuasion here are a few articles I read before I made the change!

This one by Gretchen Rubin
This one from Forbes
And this one from Fortune mag
And this one for getting into morning mode

Do you like getting up early? Fancy changing your routine too? Tell us in the comments!


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12 Comments on "Wake up!"

  1. Stacey November 19, 2013 at 3:57 am · Reply

    I do, but I don’t get up near as early as you do. 🙂 My day looks different than yours though, and 6am works best for me and my agenda. And I agree, the morning time is the tops for getting things done. 🙂

    • Julia Bickerstaff November 19, 2013 at 8:23 am · Reply

      I think 6am is much wiser Stacey! 4 am for me just ‘cos it’s what works right now. zzzzzz

  2. Kristy November 19, 2013 at 7:17 am · Reply

    I agree! Before I had my baby a couple of weeks ago I would wake up at 4am and work (or go to the gym). I totally agree that the few hours of my work time in the morning is the equivalent to double the hours of work during the day and probably triple what I can produce at night. It is incredible. My brain fires on all cylinders first thing in the morning. Thanks for confirming this strategy.

    • Julia Bickerstaff November 19, 2013 at 8:22 am · Reply

      Congrats on your baby Kristy! Hope he/she is a sleeper! I like doing the gym thing early too – feels so good!

  3. Emilia December 1, 2013 at 9:04 am · Reply

    Ok I am not a mum and don’t have the insane schedule most mums have with getting kids ready in the morning and school drop offs and school pick ups etc (hats off to you all). But I completely agree with the early morning being prime for doing your best work. I am usually up at 5:30 a.m. (have always been a morning person) and I hammer through stuff for 2 hours when the house is nice and quiet. I then do my exercise for the day around 7:30 a.m. and then some domestic chores (which I never really like but gotta do!). By 9:30/10 a.m. I am back at the desk hammering away at work again. I am usually in bed by 10:30 p.m. and lately have been trying to stay off the computer and phone etc 2 hours before going to bed so that my brain has had time to calm down when I get to bed. It’s working very well as I am getting a much better night’s sleep and not waking up at 3 a.m. with my mind buzzing at million miles an hour. That’s my general routine.

    • Julia Bickerstaff December 1, 2013 at 8:59 pm · Reply

      Emilia I LOVE the *stay-off-computer* at night thing. It TOTALLY works. Hard to do sometimes! xx

  4. Alison February 12, 2014 at 9:44 am · Reply

    Reading this article was spooky… I did exactly this routine this morning. My husband is up at 4am to go to work and I find from when he goes until when the kids wake up (6 – 7am) I never really properly go back to sleep anyway. Last night I chose to watch MKR rather than work (first time I’ve ever made that decision), and when the show finished I read a great book (Walking on Trampolines) until 9.30pm. It was the earliest I’ve gone to bed in forever… and like you described, because I hadn’t been pumping out words on the page immediately before I went to bed, I went straight to sleep and had the best sleep in YEARS. So when my husband got up this morning, and I found myself to be genuinely rested and awake, I suddenly had the bright idea to get up and tackle a few things that had to be done today. My son woke at 6.30am but I can’t tell you how happy I was to be already underway with my work and have a few big items ticked off. Fast forward through breakfast and drop offs and here we are at 9.30am ready for round two. I’m absolutely going to do the same thing again tonight and tomorrow morning.

    • Julia Bickerstaff February 12, 2014 at 10:02 am · Reply

      It really does feel GOOD doesn’t it Alison! And I love having real downtime in the evening – such a treat!

  5. Sarah February 12, 2014 at 9:53 am · Reply

    Seems so obvious now you’ve pointed it out!
    I might think about trying this out myself…
    I find my best working time is 4-7pm – not a chance I can opt out of kid-wrangling then. After 7pm all I want to do is switch off and sleep.
    Food for thought Julia, thanks!

    • Julia Bickerstaff February 12, 2014 at 10:01 am · Reply

      Sarah I would LOVE to get out of kid wrangling too!

  6. Alison Barton April 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm · Reply

    I am a morning person but at the moment live with a night owl and I find this is hindering my getting up in the morning. I am totally useless in the afternoon when I’ve had my lunch, there is no point in me sitting at my desk as I get nothing done I’m better off doing something more active. I can’t wait to move in with my partner who gets up at 6am for work every morning as I know I’ll get up at the same time and crack on with work! I’m really excited about chaning my daily routine and being more productive as it gets me down when I feel I haven’t done as much as I could have!
    Here’s to 6am starts – hurrah!

    • Julia Bickerstaff April 17, 2014 at 8:55 pm · Reply

      Oh Alison I’ve been there with the night owl and it’s so HARD! And I’m like you in the afternoon! Hope it’s not too long before you get to do the 6 am thing! x

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