Written by Brendan O’Meara
There’s something to be said for waking—and WORKING—before the sun rises, before the world rises, before texts and emails start flinging in at you.
I wake at 5 a.m., but that’s not good enough. 4 a.m., as I see it, is the final frontier. I do my best work early in the morning and there’s something to be said for getting a good, solid two hours of work in before most of the world wakes up.
But how? I mean, you COULD just set the alarm one hour early and dive in blindly, cut yourself from that hour you’re used to sleeping. Or, with patience, you can ease into it. If you give it 12 weeks, three measly months, you can wake an hour earlier and find the extra time to _____________.
I’m in the middle of my plan to wake at 4 a.m. and while challenging, I find it relatively painless. Here’s how:
I was waking at 5 a.m. due to a day job. That was my baseline time. Yours could be 7, 6 a.m., whatever.
On Sunday night set your alarm clock (I use my phone), so that it automatically goes off at the same time every morning without any extra needed attention. If you normally wake at 6 a.m., set the alarm for 5:55 a.m.
Do NOT hit the snooze bar. Put your feet on the floor IMMEDIATELY.
For seven whole days, you wake at 5:55 a.m. Week 2, 5:50. Week 3, 5:45 and so on for 12 weeks, or 60 minutes.
But there’s a key, a real quandary once you have banked an extra 15 minutes. You need to have a plan for the time. If you don’t, you’ll either go back to bed, hit the snooze bar, or sit on the couch (which will cycle you back to the sleep you’re trying to avoid).
After 12 weeks, you will have seamlessly found an extra hour in your day to write, to paint, to knit, to read, to watch movies you never felt you had the time for, to WHATEVER. That’s up to you.
In a few days I’ll be cresting 4:30 for 4:25. It’s hard. It’s like adding 45 more pounds to the barbell for squats. You start to feel its gravity.
But what buoys you through is finding that extra time. It was there all along. All you needed to do was uncover it.
Then, if you ever want to sleep in, you’re original baseline time will feel late. Bonus.