When it comes up in conversation about my schedule, as it usually does, that I get up at 4 in the morning and jump right into writing until 6, I usually get the same response – Wow, that sucks! And it does, kind of. It’s not fun getting up at 4 in the morning. But it is fun getting things done efficiently and it only took me two days to realize that 4 am doesn’t suck. Don’t believe me? You don’t have to, but I’ll still share my personal experience.
A Still House
As any married mother out there can tell you, it’s never still around my house from 6am until about 11pm. The kids get up around 6, the school day begins for all of us and after I get them to bed, I have a husband sitting around who feels an incessant need to share all the tidbits about his day or come and read over my shoulder to see what I’m working on. It’s annoying even if I love the big lug. But all three of the men in my life are asleep right now. It’s early morning, the dogs and I are up, and that’s it. There are no distractions at all, and that’s how I like it to try and do something that requires creative thought.
Peace of Mind
When I worked at night, as I did for about five years, I would go through my entire day thinking about what I needed to work on that evening. I’d be looking for ways to simplify my evening by writing a bit during the day or balancing the writing with making dinner and that sort of nonsense. It was a lot of mental pressure. Since I only worked a few hours in the evening when I was already tired, I am now able to make it all fit plus some in the two hours I work in the morning when I’m fresh. And once I’ve finished my work in the mornings, I don’t have to think about it anymore.
I use a calendar to keep everything nicely organized and it’s a lot like a checklist. Once I finish the day’s assignments, I’m done! If I have extra time in the morning, I can use it productively on a different project. This never happened in the evening. When I finished early at night, I went and wasted time watching television and blowing off things I could be doing. Now I work, get it done, do a bit of the stuff I’ve been trying to do forever, and then go about my day free and clear. The peace of mind after years of worrying and planning for about twelve hours a day is incredible. I’m still not entirely used to being able to turn off writing at 6am, but I’m getting there.
I have to go to bed around 8:30 or 9 for this schedule to work. Not only am I actually getting around seven or sometimes even eight hours of sleep every night after years of six or so hours, I’m also able to enjoy about an hour of free time in the evenings. I put the boys to bed, take my night-time mom shower and then have some time to watch a show or read a book entirely guilt-free! I didn’t have to schedule time off to read it – I get to already since I worked that morning and finished up everything I needed to do. How awesome is that? Of course, if I goof and go to bed too late, I’m screwed for energy the next day, but that keeps me on schedule and it keeps me on track.
4am most definitely doesn’t suck.
And for the record, I couldn’t have done this any time before now in my life as a working mom – my kids still notice that I’m not in bed and they wake up and come looking for me around 4:30 or 5 AM often. I’m just lucky (finally) that they are old enough to shoo back to bed, tuck in with some milk and they actually go back to bed. Hallelujah!