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I published this post on my blog (http://www.backyardlifeblog.com) and thought it would be appropriate to repost here.  What are your thoughts?

Being selfish at 5am is an important concept to those hustling on their dream.  Selfishness always sounds negative, but hear me out on this one.

What does it mean to be selfish at 5am?

Get up early every day to put in focused time to get things done.  Most people have more energy at the beginning on the day than at the end — me included.  I struggle to stay focused long enough to write a good blog post after a day at work.  Every once in a while, I flake out completely and miss posting.

Drive while your tank is full

Do your creative work when you have the most creative energy.  It takes energy to create.  It should be exhausting or you are not digging deep enough.

No interruptions

When is the last time a friend knocked on your door at 5am to “watch the big game?”  It doesn’t happen.  If you try to be creative in the evenings, you just opened yourself up to all kinds of interruption possibilities.  Every time your get stopped, it takes even more time to get back on track.

5 days is easier than 3 days

Consistency is king.  It is easier to go to the gym to work out 5 days a week than it is to go 3 days a week.  When you have a daily routine, your body is more efficient at getting started on what you are doing.  When you consistently hustle at the beginning of your day, you will produce more, higher quality work.

You’ll get better creative results spending 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week creating than spending 8 hours on Saturday.

Positive side effects

I have recognized over the last couple of months that I have a reflexive action to check email/twitter/facebook about every 15 minutes when I’m just hanging out.  There’s nothing to be gained from that.  Nothing is so time-sensitive that I need to respond within 15 minutes.  On a few occasions, I’ve told myself that I don’t want to check my email as I’m doing it.  Yes, I have a problem.

I’ve also been telling myself that I can put a good post together quickly and at the last minute.  I just need to take the time and it will be fine.  The quality suffers when I do that.

So why does working at 5am help?  I am getting things done before the last minute so there is no pressure to produce.  Since I know I’ve put the time in already, I can spend time with [my wife] Liz without thinking about what I need to get done.  The computer is put away and I am present.

I feel like I have more time because the blocks of time I know I’m going to have are being put in the right order.  When the sequence is correct, you stop fighting against time.  I’ve literally added 45 minutes to my day.  I’ve added more than that by working with the flow rather than against it.

Want some help and encouragement to get up earlier? Subscribe to Andy Traub and Andy Andrews Early to Rise Challenge.

Is it time for you to be selfish at 5am?  What are your challenges?

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Comment by Raun Lauterbach on October 24, 2012 at 5:16pm

Mark -- The concept, as Jon Acuff explained it, is more about finding the time that you have the most creative energy and make that your time to be creative and productive.  Reduce interruptions and get stuff done.  Would you rather spend an hour being focused and productive or 3 hours being less focused to get the same amount done?  I can think of better ways to spend those extra 2 hours.

Comment by Mark J Cundiff on October 23, 2012 at 7:21pm

Great post! Lots to consider, I for one am not a morning person, but I am considering how I might apply some of the lessons you have listed. Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Raun Lauterbach on October 23, 2012 at 4:17pm

3:50 isn't going to work for me.  Any time in the morning that starts with 4 or less scares me.  I'm glad you have a plan and it's working for you.  It amazes me how discipline in one venture creates discipline in others.

Comment by Ann Musico on October 23, 2012 at 10:30am

That's my bedtime too and that's awesome about the swimming - and so nice of you to acknowledge your mom!  As a mom I appreciate that!

Comment by Jeremy H on October 23, 2012 at 9:24am


The kids go go to bed a 8, and I read until 8:30. Lights out. 

I was thinking... swimming has a lot to do with it. I'm a masters swimmer on this team, www.indyaquaticmasters.com (I made this site for the team.) Early practices start at 5:15am. Before the kids were born, I used to swim almost every morning. When the kids came along, swimming became less of a priority and I quit going.... but kept getting up early.

Swimming now happens at lunch.

Swimming has been a huge part of my life from age 12 and has really helped with a healthy lifestyle and self discipline.

Mom made me join the team at 12. Thanks Mom! hehe 

Comment by Ann Musico on October 23, 2012 at 9:05am

Wow Jeremy - I get up at 4 but I don't focus on "work" per se - you are a dynamo!!  What time do you go to bed?

Comment by Jeremy H on October 23, 2012 at 8:51am

5am is too late... that's sleeping in! 

I also have a full time job + kids and family. Morning is the absolute best time to work for me. I wake up at 3:50am and do my damage from 4am-6:30am everyday... weekends included.

I don't check or turn on email. People would think I'm crazy sending out emails at 4am. FB time is under 5 mins.

One side benefits of working so early... it's mid-day in India for outsourced correspondence. 

Focus, publish, work on building my media empire until the kids get up... that's my deal.


Comment by Raun Lauterbach on October 18, 2012 at 3:16pm

Very cool, Jeff.  When I actually am deliberate, it amazes me just how much time I have rather than being up against the clock.

Comment by Jeff David on October 18, 2012 at 8:42am

Great Post Raun, I love it! Until I became deliberate with my time, I got nothing done. Some days it can still be a struggle for me to not constantly check my e-mail, texts, etc. When I am deliberate, I can conquer the world.

Comment by Raun Lauterbach on October 17, 2012 at 3:20pm

Dan -- Thanks!  The phrase "selfish at 5am" was borrowed from Jon Acuff.  He discussed it at length at the last Quitter Conference and it really struck a chord with me.  It really is about prioritization and getting most out of the time you have to produce.

Ann -- I think of myself as a "day person" rather than a morning person or a night owl.  I like to get up when the sun comes up and go to bed when the sun sets.  Does that actually happen regularly?  Not a chance.  When I wake up, I'm awake so it makes the most sense to dig in rather than wait for the rest of the world to wake up.  :)  Congrats on 30 years, by the way!

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