Some of you may already be familiar with the concept of the 5am club and if you are one of those individuals please keep reading. For those of you that are not familiar with what the 5am club is, it is exactly what you are probably imagining. The 5am club is composed of all of us that wake up at 5am. The early birds. Some of us belong to the club because we have no choice and I completely understand what that is like, I was one of those people for a long time. It was actually the 4am club that I resentfully belonged to. However, there are many people, myself included these days, that choose to wake up before the sun rises and there is good reason for it.
When it comes to the 24 hours in each day, the sad but honest truth is that the vast majority of us do not do a very good job of maximizing them. How often have you heard someone say “oh, I don’t have time” or “I can’t fit that into my schedule”? I know that I hear it on a daily basis and in all honestly, I have been one to make that very same proclamation. The truth is that for most of us time is not the issue, our issue is time management. If you look at the majority of extremely successful people, they have not arrived at where they are by wasting time. Athletes who are at the top of their sport, executives of fortune 500 companies, academics who are leading their field towards new discoveries all have one thing in common. They all get up early…really early…like, 5am early. Furthermore, this habit is not a result of reaching the pinnacle of their profession, this is something that they did for years and years that eventually propelled them to top of the mountain.
So, with all of that being said, let me get to the point. How can getting up at 5am change your life? Well, let me tell you about how I was convinced that rising before the sun was something that could and has changed my life, significantly. I was sitting in the sauna one morning and I was listening to one of my personal motivators, Robin Sharma. Sharma is a life coach and a mentor to many of the worlds successful athletes and executives. He is a well of knowledge and inspiration. So, as I was listening to him, he started to talk about the 5am club and what he refers to as the 3 golden hours (the hours of 5am-8am) and his 20/20/20 rule.
The reason that Sharma refers to the hours of 5am-8am as the 3 golden hours is that they have the potential to be the most productive hours of our day. If you are able to program you mind and your body to get going at 5am there is potential for couple things to happen. First, you will almost assuredly be getting a jump on the competition. Secondly, you will provide yourself with the opportunity get more accomplished before 9am than most people get accomplished in an entire day. Seriously, think about it, most people get up as late as they possible can, roll out of bed, get dressed, maybe grab some coffee and a breakfast sandwich from some fast food joint, get to the office 5 minutes before 9, sit behind their desk or in meetings until 5pm, rush home just to sit on the couch and fall asleep in front of the TV. Unfortunately, that does not leave much time for self-improvement or for doing the things can ultimately make us happier, healthier and more excited about working towards all of the things we would really like to accomplish.
This brings me to the 20/20/20 rule. Sharma suggests that once you have committed to waking up at 5am, even if you have not made that commitment, you should spend the first 20 minutes of your day exercising, the following 20 minutes going over you schedule for the day and 20 more minutes self-educating. Spending the first 20 minutes of your day exercising can have a MASSIVE positive impact on your well-being but also helps to set a positive tone for the rest of the day to come. When you exercise, when you sweat, there is a cascade of chemical reactions that takes place internally such as the release of dopamine for example. As a result, almost immediately, your mood enhances and your energy levels increase and you will find yourself feeling more positive and a more optimistic about the day ahead and your ability to face it. After you finish with you exercise, spend the next 20 minutes looking at your schedule. Keeping schedule and reviewing it daily will not only help you maximize your day. You will begin to notice where in your day you have time to get more done. Additionally, by writing physically writing down that which needs to be done, it creates a stronger sense of importance for those tasks. Robin Sharma always says that the things that get scheduled are the things that get done and I can personally vouch for that statement. During the final 20 minutes of your first waking hour, educate yourself! This is probably the most important of all. Spending just 20 minutes each day listening to podcasts, listening to audio books, reading journal or scholarly articles can have a profound impact on your life. We all know that knowledge is power but it is also the leverage that we need to move ahead personally and professionally.
Although this was a very brief explanation of the 5am club, the 3 golden hours and the 20/20/20 rule, I hope that the information here inspires you spend a little time thinking about these things. If you are interested in more information I would highly recommend looking up Robin Sharma because I can tell you from personal experience that ever since I joined the 5am club my outlook on each day and on life in general has been more positive and more appreciative than ever.
By Vic M.
B.S. Exercise Science, NSCA-CSCS Certified