My ultra productive morning routine
And why it probably won’t work for you
My morning isn’t your typical morning.
Unlike the 5am early risers, I do something a little different — I wake up at the dedicated hour of 7am to the chirping sound of my toddler in the next room. Some times it would be a cry. Some days, on a bad day, it would be a book banging against the door as she tries to bust out by herself.
Waking up at 7am is only for the dedicated and I am one of them.
The next hour is followed by a series of routines — brush teeth, change the toddler, feed the toddler, make sure the toddler’s bag is packed, get the toddler into the car (remember to bring a bribe if she’s not in the mood for beating the morning traffic), make it to daycare on time then return home.
By the time it’s 10am, I’ve done nothing in particular except, perhaps, successfully set the child up for a good and happy day with her friends.
Perhaps, if I had woken up at 5am, it would have been different. Maybe I would have meditated for an hour, had my shower, did some yoga, drank my green juice and entered a state of zen whilst I cleared my email and finished writing another chapter of my book.
Perhaps, I would have achieved and completed so much more — only if I woke up at 5am.
In truth, I did give it a go for about a month. It went so smashingly well that my partner commented on how grumpy I’ve become. My shortened fuse also derailed the toddler creature as she teradactyl screeched out all her replies instead of toddler babble out her negotiations.
She didn’t use to do that, not until my 5am stints.
The more I tried to be productive in her presence, the more her crazy, high pitched dinosaur (now with added arm movements) became. It was cute at first until it wasn’t. Some days I wonder if it’s just a phase or that she’s smart enough to realize that mommy’s gone a bit bonkers by waking up before everyone does.
Not that I got much done anyway when I did wake up at 5am.
In fact, I probably got much less done — because at 5am, I’m still half asleep and by the time I do feel awake enough to do anything in particular, the world is already awake and the toddler creature needs my undivided attention.
There is a lot of advice circulating around the Internet about how you should conduct your day — mostly the proverbial wake up at 5am speal— popularized by some navy seal. Most of them are aimed at single, 20-somethings with no kids. I’ve yet to see a parent try the experiment. In fact, I’d like to see a parent with a toddler or two give it a shot and see how it goes.
I’m not a navy seal. My life is currently dictated by the schedules of another human and she does her own thing — spaghetti as a headpiece and all. Sure, I could just ‘talk’ to her, explain the ways of the world and why mommy needs her to just sit in a corner and play nicely with her toys, but that’s not how toddlers operate.
In all honesty, the toddler creature isn’t all that bad. She’s capable of entertaining herself but her littleness is only temporary. In the past year, she’s already double in size. In the early days, I thought I could do it all and be the exception to the rule — that I would able to be ultra-productive and live that veneer whitewashed walls with a few pot plants and forever tidy house kind of life.
But that’s not my reality. Maybe when the child is older. Maybe when I’m mentally strong enough to go to bed at 9pm and wake up at 5am.
For now, my current routine is working and trying to change it so it conforms to Internet standards of productiveness will only ruin the fine balance I’ve discovered for myself.
Having enough sleep and getting in those recharge hours is much more important than some arbitrary wake-up hour. Sleep deprivation only works against whatever productivity gains you think you’ve achieved.
And that’s why my routine won’t work for you — partly because there’s a high chance that you also don’t have a 1-ish toddler to assist you. Having kids won’t ruin your productivity — it will only uncover your ability to adapt and determine what’s best for you mentally and physically.
Personally I choose sanity over whatever benefits waking up at 5am is supposed to bring me. Maybe I should have done my bed before I tried to do a wake up yoga session. Maybe I should have stocked up on mocha chai lattes instead of running on 3 cups of instant coffee. Maybe I just did 5am wake-ups wrong and that’s why it didn’t work out.
Read the productivity advice from others with a side of caution. There is no one hour fits all wake-up time because everyone’s life requirements are different. So figure out what works for you or make the hours you do have to yourself as productive as possible.