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I promise you, I am the last person on the planet who should be giving you reasons to wake up at 5 a.m.
I slept 11 hours last night. I rarely rise before 10 a.m. My body is constantly in a state of panic as it gets its first bite of food somewhere around noon. I'm the worst person to give you this advice. Or maybe I'm the best. Maybe I have a beautiful list of things I would do to take over the world at 5 a.m., if only I finally succeeded at rising when my 15 alarms go off. So, here's that hopeful list for you. If one of us is going to take over the world, I sure hope it's you.
1. More Hours in the Day
Let's start with the basics. You waking up at 5 a.m. when you're used to waking up at 8 a.m. gives you an additional 3 hours of time. More time. Isn't that the thing we're always complaining about? If only I had more time. I would relax if I had more time. Well now you do! Sure, you have to adjust to this newfound cycle in your life, but you have just solved the meaning of life. We have plenty of time. We just have to carve it out for ourselves.
2. TV/Movie Planning
We always view TV and movie watching time as one of two things: Either it makes you a lazy couch potato, or you only deserve TV time if you put in a grueling day at work and you are allotting one hour of special TV time for yourself before bed. We have to tell ourselves this, or we would never get anything done. But now, you're a champion and waking up at 5 a.m. You have time to sit and watch a show before you start your day. Why deprive yourself of feeling great first thing in the morning? If you don't know where to start, watch "When Harry Met Sally" before sunrise. I promise you, you can't possibly have a bad day when you start it this way.
3. Morning Pages
The Morning Pages technique was introduced by author Julia Cameron in her book, "The Artist's Way." The book is a spiritual guide to seeking creativity in your everyday life. The force that holds the entire process together is the beloved Morning Pages. Simply put, the Morning Pages are three handwritten pages of free-thought first thing in the morning. This is an amazing exercise for you early birds! Not only does it give you an awesome activity, it is the best way to wipe your slate clean before starting the day. You get to write out all of those toxins holding you back and begin the day with a clear head. This activity alone is worth it. Buy yourself a new journal and get to writing.
4. 'You' Time
I don't have to tell you what 'you' time is. You know, because it's the thing that brings you happiness when you have a few minutes of spare time. For me, it's tweezing my upper lip as I listen to Disney music while I walk laps around the living room. It might also be flipping through an old magazine that I've never had time to read or sipping coffee staring blankly out over my patio. The point of 'you' time is to not be too productive. It's time to unwind and boldly enjoy the nothingness of the morning.
Obviously, waking up at the crack of dawn means that if you want to be super productive, you now have the opportunity. If this is the case, I highly recommend the Pomodoro Technique. The concept is simple. Grab a kitchen timer and think up a task you've been trying to complete. You set the timer for 20 minutes and work on the task. Then, you set the timer for a five minute break. Wash, rinse, and repeat this technique until you have completed four Pomodoros (20-minute work segments). Reward yourself with a 30-minute break. Then, start over. You will be shocked at how much you can get done in a limited amount of time when you cut out all of the distractions. I refurbished my desk on a Pomodoro. Enjoy.
Even if you wake up at 5 a.m. and are thinking to yourself that this is the single most ridiculous thing you have done with your life, poke your head out the window and watch the sunrise. There is something insanely fulfilling about knowing that you were awake before the planet had its cup of coffee. It sounds silly, but I promise you, it gives you a feeling like you can truly take on the day.
Whether you're the type of person who knocks out a to-do list without breaking a sweat or the type of person who needs to squeeze in a little time to relax, I hope this list helps you find your happiness.
Erika Jenko is a playwright and theme park junkie trying to navigate the magical world of adulting. Also, a YouTuber and blogger at www.subwaymouse.com.
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