Lessons I Learned from Joining the 5 AM Club

the 5am club Feb 12, 2021
Clock set to 5am

I’m a member of the 5 am Club. And have been since February 4, 2020.

But it took me nearly 55 years to join!

I heard quotes such as these over and over again:

  • “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.” ~ Richard Whately
  • “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” ~ Aristotle
  • “The opportunity that God sends does not wake up him who is asleep.” ~ Senegalese Proverb

But I still couldn’t get myself to get up before the sun.

Most of the world was still sleeping, but not everyone, as I’ll share in a moment, so why even bother? What’s the point?

THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

Okay, THE book that changed my life was the Bible.

But there have been plenty of others that did as well.

One of those was Robin Sharma’s bestselling book, The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life (affiliate link).

I won’t tell you that it was an easy experience after I joined this club because it was anything but.

The day I decided to join was February 3, 2020.

Going from one who went to bed around 11 pm and got up at 7 or 8 am to one who intentionally woke up at 5 am was, well, challenging.

That first night I knew I was in trouble as I went to bed — or attempted to anyway, at 9 pm.

“Ha!” my body said. “Who are you kidding? It’s not bedtime yet!”

Sleep eluded me that first night until, wait for it, 11 pm! Just like the night before.

But I still dragged my zombie-like body out of bed at 5 am the next day.

Ugh!

“Why am I doing this again?”

Mr. Sharma writes in his book that a habit takes 66 days to install:

  • the first 22 days are hard!
  • the second 22 days are messy!
  • the last 22 days are gorgeous!

Now that I’m at 369 days, I can’t imagine NOT getting up at 5 am.

And I’m proud to say that I’ve only missed one day, and that was due to a family emergency. I didn’t get to bed that day until 3 am but still got up at 8 am, which is pretty impressive for me.

MANY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ARE EARLY RISERS

In June 2020, I wrote the article, 15 Productivity Habits of Successful People. I learned that a trait of a lot of successful people is that they get up early.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook gets up at 3:45 am to get a head start on email.
  • Founder and CEO of the dtx company Tim Armstrong starts his day at 5:00 am
  • Chairman and CEO of VEON Ursula Burns rises at 5:15 am to do email and work out.
  • Former Chairman & CEO of GE Jeff Immelt rises at 5:30 am to work out.
  • Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5:30 am for a 6-mile run.
  • ‘Shark Tank’ investor Kevin O’Leary wakes up at 5:45 am and checks the Asian and European bond markets.
  • Virgin Group founder and chairman Richard Branson rises with the sun at around 5:45 am.
  • Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is at the office by 6 am.
  • Michelle Obama is working out by 4:30 am.

LESSONS I LEARNED FROM JOINING THE 5 AM CLUB

  1. It’s amazing how tranquil it is. Most of the world is still sound asleep. Not only do I arise at 5 am, but starting December 25, 2020, I began to go for my daily 30-minute run outside (regardless of the weather) no later than 5:15 am. Mr. Sharma shares in his book the importance of breaking a sweat first thing.
  2. I may look like a zombie as a start my run, but no one else is awake so, I don’t care.
  3. According to my birth certificate, I’m 55-years young, but I feel as if I’m in my mid-40s. Getting into the routine of waking up at 5 am and running by 5:15 am has really helped me feel healthier than I have in many years.
  4. Clarity! For much of 2020, after joining the 5 am club, I would wake up at 5 am and then read…but in a fog. I missed (ignored) the part in the book that said to move, then read. I would often run later in the day when the sun was awake, and it was warmer. But once I began to move, then read, I better understood what I was reading. And I could better plan my day too. Amazing.
  5. The early bird really does get the worm! My work hours start at 9 am. By that time, I’ve been awake for four hours and have done so much, including my run, reading, showering, walking the dog, having breakfast, posting on social media, and writing an article.
  6. My sleep has improved so much. My nighttime routine is to have all screens off by 8 pm and then read until 9 pm, but because by 8 pm, I’ve been up for 15 hours, I’m already fading. I get a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep, seven days a week. Lack of sleep is killing your productivity.

CONCLUSION

Getting up at 5 am isn’t a guarantee of any success.

After all, you could get up and then only spend four hours surfing social media or playing video games.

But most people who commit to waking up at 5 am tend to be go-getters.

Are you a member of the 5 am club? If so, for how long?

If not, why not? Have you tried it and didn’t like it? Does the thought of waking up so early scare you? Are you willing to try?

I hope you enjoyed this article. Thank you for reading it. 

Get Productivity Tips That I Only Share With Email Subscribers

Become a Mark Struczewski Insider and get productivity tips and exclusive content that I only share with email subscribers!

I guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.