#5amCoders is a challenge over on Twitter that aims to help you find out the benefits that rising early and being productive can give you. The point of the challenge isn't necessarily to wake up at exactly 5am or even to be writing code. Instead you attempt to rise early and try to be as productive as you can in whatever way is good for you!
I took this challenge very literally as a lot us did 😃.
Defining the target as being productive at 5am was a way for me to hold myself accountable. I had a specific target and I was going to stick to it from Monday to Friday. Every morning I set my alarms between 4:45am and 5:00am and managed to get up and be productive in my own way.
Now that the week is over I want to share my experiences with you. I saw a lot of benefits from the challenge to myself that goes beyond the code.
Also go and check out this awesome article by another participant in last week's #5amCoders What I learned from waking up at 5AM - [Nicole Analise Cox]
So let's find out what I learned from the challenge and how it could be helpful to you 👏.
What I learned
- The guilt from doing stuff non-code related was gone
- You have more free time
- Routine is important
- The community support is awesome!
- You have to get over the hump
- Waking up is not the problem. Going to sleep at the right time is!
- It is not for everyone
- Will I stick to it?
1. The guilt from doing stuff non-code related was gone
You might have felt this one yourself. Since learning to code I have been determined to learn as much as I can in the shortest possible time. The downside of this is that when I'm not coding I almost feel guilty about it. My thoughts would something like this 👇
Instead of watching this movie I could finish a certain part of my project.
And this is not a healthy way to live. This was the first and best thing I learned during this challenge. By waking up early and tackling the most difficult tasks first, I have all of my required work finished before I even eat breakfast 😃.
Between 5am and 8am I would finish my intensive coding tasks and for the rest of the day I would feel completely free to do whatever I pleased. It's and incredible feeling!
2. You have more free time
Because my required tasks were finished by breakfast I suddenly had a lot more free time on my hands. This allowed me to get back to some of my other hobbies and interests.
I have been learning to play guitar on and off for the last couple of years and this week I found myself playing more than I have been doing recently. On Wednesday I also spent the whole day outside hiking which I loved.
I could happily spend time doing other things I love thinking I had earned it.
It was also beneficial to my health. This challenge helped me get back into exercising after months of procrastination. The release I get from exercising helps keep my mental and physical health in a good place and it's likely I wouldn't have got back into it without the push from #5amCoders.
3. Routine is important
For a lot of people a routine is essential. It helps you stay consistent with your task which is massively important. #5amCoders gave me a clear and defined routine that I could hold myself accountable to. Mine looked something like this 👇
- 5am to 8am - Intensive code related tasks
- 8am to 10am - Workout & breakfast
- 10am onwards - Anything I wanted
I should note that I'm currently spending time at home with the family after returning home from travel. I'm not employed in a full time role otherwise this routine might look a little different 😅.
Check out this article that explains my story from the last two years and how I got into code - Monday motivation - How I got into code.
I could spend the rest of the day doing whatever I liked which included everything from relaxing with family and my girlfriend to writing for you and me here!
4. The community support is awesome!
Just check out this post here which includes a lot of the people taking part in #5amCoders last week 👇
It was awesome having so many in the same situation supporting each other. Sometimes we all need a little help from friends.
The major benefit of this is the sense of community accountability. By putting it out there for others to see you are reducing the possibility of changing your mind. If you're the only person you let in on the challenge it is really easy to talk yourself out of it.
If you share the fact you want to take part with others then you will might feel obliged to go further with it and the community will help you get there 🙂.
5. You have to get over the hump
My hump was on Wednesday. What I mean by this is that it was my most difficult day trying to wake up and be productive. It was the final hill I had to climb. This was the only day where I struggled to get out of bed. I have three alarms and on this day I woke up a minute before 5am on the very last alarm.
I must have turned the first two off 😅.
For that morning I struggled to get much work done because I found it hard to concentrate. Though after this day I definitely noticed a change. I was also not the only person who struggled on this day so I believe there is a turning point that you need to push through.
The next two mornings I was far less tired in the early part of the morning and my energy would last further into the day. I managed to be quite productive on both Thursday and Friday.
6. Waking up is not the problem. Going to sleep at the right time is!
For me the difficult part of the challenge is not waking up so early. I could set a few alarms and usually jump straight out of bed. However making sure you go to bed at the right time was the challenge because that affects how you will feel in the morning.
We have many distractions in modern day life. Everything from our mobile phones, laptops, computers and televisions. They all contribute to making your sleep more difficult than it otherwise would be. I found this out on Wednesday morning when I stayed up a little too long staring at screens the night before. This may have contributed to my hump day but I think it would have happened regardless.
By staying up to late you can still get yourself out of bed if you really want to but you'll feel terrible because of it. Concentration will be difficult and it makes the whole process less valuable to you.
For the most part I tried to tire myself out during the day mostly through exercise so that by 7pm I was already tired and by 9pm I was asleep 😴. I think it definitely helped me.
7. It is not for everyone
I'll admit that it is not suited to everyone. We are all different and what works for one might not work for another. It is up to you as an individual to try things out and make up your own mind.
I've seen many developers say they like coding at night. Some do it because their commitments leave them with no other choice. But if you are a morning person or would like to become one then consider giving it a go because it will do wonders for you and your productivity ✌.
8. Will I stick to it?
The magic question ✨
Because of all the benefits I've listed above it would be strange if I reverted back to my old ways right? For the last couple of months I have been waking up much later and usually don't get started with my work until the end of the morning.
I am definitely going to be sticking to an early routine that allows me to complete my intensive tasks early. However this week I'm going to try out a slightly later time so I can see how my body reacts.
This week I am going to be waking up for 6am which still allows me plenty of time to get work done early. Maybe I'll realize that I actually prefer the 5am start.
There's only one way to find out!
I hope you enjoyed the article. If you did consider leaving some likes ❤ or let me know about it in the comments 💬. You can also connect with me @Kieran6dev where I'm always active.
See you soon 👋