“There is nothing like waking up early in the morning, taking time to enjoy the day before heading off to your chaotic workplace and feel energized throughout the entire day.”
The 5am Club by Michael Lombardi is a short, simple book about how to take advantage of your most productive time of the day, and how to prepare effectively both mentally and physically, to be ready for whatever the day throws your way.
Starting your day early gives you a leg up on others and gives you time to prepare yourself for your day before you are immersed in it. That quiet time early in the morning is a time to prepare you, body and mind, for a good start. That good start, in turn, gives you the chance to focus on positivity and ensure your day goes the best way possible.
It’s not as easy as setting your alarm for 5am, though. You need to manage your sleep effectively so that getting up so early does not take its toll on you. You need to manage your health, including food and drink intake to keep your body properly fuelled. And in addition, you need to minimize distraction in order to ensure a calm start to your day.
Start Your Day Off on the Right Foot
"Beginning your day right is indispensable for accomplishing your goals."
A good, healthy, happy start to your day leads to a good, healthy, happy day. You have within your control the ability to set the tone for your day. You can make it positive or negative, based on how you start.
The snooze bar is your enemy. You have to get up right away if you are going to get up refreshed. The snooze button allows you to drowse in bed, not accomplishing anything more than allowing your body to start into another sleep cycle. Ten minutes later, you are feeling even more tired when the alarm goes off for the second time.
As soon as you get up you have to hydrate your body Give yourself an hour, however, before you eat. Your body slows when it is digesting food and you don’t want to start your day sluggish. Take care of your physical needs right away – ablutions, exercise, whatever you need to get your energy flowing.
Now that you are up and energized, it’s time to work on your goals. Don’t waste time on trivial activities like emails or social media (unless some aspect of it is critical to your goal work – even then, don’t get sucked into trivialities). Prioritize, evaluate and work on achieving your goals. So early in the day, you won’t be distracted by mundane aspects of work and life; you can dedicate yourself completely to the task at hand.
This is also a time for emotional enrichment. Take time to enjoy the fresh morning air, listen to the birds singing, and watch the sun rise. Find enjoyment in nature, it is incredibly refreshing and renewing. Feel the joy of nature.
All of these are suggestions about how to start your day the best way possible. That good start will frame the rest of your day.
Physical Wellbeing is Key
"Along with your diet and exercise, you should allocate sufficient time for sound sleep in a day."
You don’t expect your car to work well if you don’t keep it tuned up. The same applies to your body. Without maintenance and the right fuel, your body will not be able to do what you ask of it. Getting up early will be impossible. Working effectively throughout the day will be very difficult. Getting a good night’s sleep will not happen regularly. Thus begins a downward spiral that ensures it is even harder to keep your body maintained and properly fuelled in the future.
Routine is valuable in keeping maintenance up. Listen to your body, pay attention to when it feels hungry, pay attention to how it acts during and after a meal (can you concentrate while eating? Do you feel sluggish after a meal? How do different foods affect you?). Set up your day to eat at times of maximum hunger and ensure you do not book critical things at times of low energy.
Exercise is valuable to a healthy body. Again, listen to your body and do exercises that are suitable. Do exercises earlier in the day because exercise releases hormones in your body that make you feel energized and alert. If you do this just before bed, sleep will not come easily.
Organization is Important
"Our minds are freshest when we first wake up. By choosing to get things done at this magic hour in the morning you free yourself from the distractions of cell phones, friends, family, co-workers, and stress."
You don’t want to waste your most productive time of day on trivial activities that could have been handled when you are not at peak performance. Peak time is for peak performance activities.
So, how do we avoid getting dragged into mundane or stressful tasks when we want to focus on really important work? Eliminate the trivial work by getting it out of the way the night before. Get lunches prepped, get the kids school books organized and waiting by the door, have your own bag ready by the door, ensure keys and other items like glasses, etc. are all stored in the same location every time. Now, your morning won’t be filled with distractions that can waste time and cause you to feel stressed.
Spend time during spare moments to create to-do lists and other memory triggers so that you won’t feel worried about them while trying to sleep or when you are at peak performance. Use those lists to reassure yourself that you don’t need to stress the next morning. You can also use your goal lists in order to be productive during your magic hour in the morning.
“Begin your day with a smile. Literally. By smiling first thing in the morning it stimulates the brain’s reward mechanisms that are reinforced by a positive feedback loop.” (Page 2)
There is time, early each morning, when we can accomplish great things. We can maintain our bodies and souls, we can isolate ourselves from distraction, and we can work on our most important activities; our goals and growth activities. In order to take advantage of this hour of power, we need to remove distractions, ensure we provide our bodies the right food and drink at the right time, and we get sufficient sleep to ensure our bodies will operate at peak performance.