Alen Huskanović

@ahuskano

4 weeks to 5 AM — Successful Morning Routine

Source: Unsplash
Get your ass out of bed. Unless you want to end up fat, broke and old move that fucking but.

If you’re a morning person and that’s your lifestyle, awesome. If you’re not, it’s fine to start your day with 10 snoozes and a coffee face plant. Or maybe it’s not?

A few hours ago

It’s 4:50 AM, alarm on my iPhone rings, that woke me up, I turn it off and get up from the bed. I open the window, take a big breath, feeling the cold air outside, it’s still night. I am taking my iPhone, take a selfie. Upload the selfie into Slack channel “wake-up-bitch”.

I am going to the bathroom, to brush my teeth. I drink one glass of water and start preparing the coffee. A few minutes later two other selfies came.

What, who is that? It’s Zoran and Luka, the guys that along with me run the Async Labs on their backs.

You need inspiration

I am an entrepreneur, writer, software developer… all those jobs heavily rely on my productivity. It’s not the same if I feel like shit doing it or if I am refreshed and focused. It’s not the goal to be busy all the time, the goal is to have shit done in some reasonable time. If I am not productive, if I can’t focus on work I delay results. Then, for the same work I have to spend at least 50% more hours, but, if I am fully productive, the same work that would take me 10h I can do in less than 5h.

If I didn’t have a productive day, on the end of it, I will feel like shit. I am a looser, I could not do it, I am nothing…

Don’t play with your time, it’s limited and before every action that could take it from you, think twice, is it worth it?

Two years of struggling

Last two years, I am trying to become a morning person, struggling all the time. Feeling like shit every time when I fail. I failed a lot, I failed every time. I tried every fucking technic or advice that I found on the internet. Fuck your morning routing, fuck your evening routine, fuck you and your advice. I made my own routine and maybe, but just maybe, this time I will success.

I decide to learn

I wanted it so badly, if Elon Musk can do it, I can do it too. I will learn, I will find out what could work out and I will start doing it. Whatever is the price that I have to pay. I want it, I will do it, there is no other choice. I am willing to pay the price.

I read a few hundred articles about productivity, focus, routines, habits… Also, I took some time and read a few books on the same topics.

You have to really want it. Because once you do, nothing will be able to stop you from having it.

Why 5AM?

If you want to do something extraordinary work on it before 5AM.

But why 5 AM? It’s simple, you just woke up and you are still in good mood. Nothing bad could happen in that time. Also, there are no distractions, no one is on Facebook, no one will call you. You have quite some time to focus on something and to get shit done.

You could do it in the evening, but I found out that is hard to have a discipline in that time. In the morning nobody wants to hang out or go out for drinks and most importantly your mind is clear and you are FRESH. Remember, a clear mind is your most powerful tool.

After years of failures, I made a deal with Zoran and Luka. From January 3, 2017, we will wake up and work. We have four weeks to make a habit of waking up at 5 AM. Only four weeks, not more. The fifth week should be exactly 5 Am.

We made a deal, we are going all in

Set the alarm at 6 AM, you have 5 minutes to open the window, take a selfie and put it on a slack channel. That is the prove that you actually did it. You don’t want to be a failure? Don’t you?

If you put the selfie between 10 and 15 minutes after the alarm rings, you are getting a strike. When you have three strikes you must buy a coffee for other two guys. It’s the price that you have to pay if you you want to sleep longer. It’s important to notice that you need to wake up five times in a row to remove only one strike. Yea, you slept now pay for it. Fucking failure.

If you put the selfie after 6:15 AM you are getting three strikes immediately, a fucking scam. Buy us a coffee.

I failed, I was a failure and failed the fourth day… Prove below.

First caffe

With small steps we will do it

Every week we reduce the time for 15 minutes.

Week one: 6 AM

Week two: 5:45 AM

Week three: 5:30 AM

Week four: 5:15 AM

Week five: 5 AM

Week six: 4:45 AM

At the moment of writing this article, we are on our sixth week, BEFORE 5AM. We are ready and we are unstoppable.

Only three things matter

What did we learn from it? If you want to have your time in control, if you want to be productive, if you don’t want to feel like shit. You just need to have discipline with three things. Nothing else is important, just follow those basic rules:

Rule #1: Eat healthy

Rule #2: Live healthy

Rule #3: Go to sleep early

It’s simple, it’s the simplest way to do it right. Getting up early is not the point, the point is to get up early and don’t feel like shit throughout the day. Only with that positive attitude and right lifestyle, you will not give up.

There is no substance that could help you, the most crucial thing is to not feel like shit. And it’s only possible if it’s natural. You need to sleep, you need to have a healthy body and that’s it. We are emotional beings, if we don’t feel like it, we will not do it. You have to feel good while changing your habits. Emotions and attitude are crucial.

Maybe, just maybe it could work out….But I know for sure that if I don’t give it a go it is certain to never work out!

You have to stay consistency

Days are days, there is no difference between workdays and weekends, a day is a day, it belongs to you, not anyone else. It would be harder to apply this habit if you sleep till noon on the weekends. You must be consistent! You don’t need to wake up at 5 AM on the weekends but don’t sleep till noon. The best way is to get up around 8 AM.

At weekends we are allowed to sleep till 8 AM (selfie time is 5 min after that), but almost every time we don’t sleep till 8, we woke up before because now we are used to it.

Alcohol is not allowed

If we consider a rule #2 Live healthy, is alcohol healthy? No, believe me, I tested it. If you drink alcohol a day before (especially in the evening) you will struggle. You will fucking struggle the next morning. Don’t do it, if you get up in the morning, you will feel like shit -> your productivity will suffer. But if you drink alcohol the day before be the man and pay that coffee. It’s better than to feel like shit all day.

Exercise on regular basic

Two of us (Zoran and Luka) are attending the gym six times every week. For me it’s not the gym, I am attending dance classes. But, the point it’s here, do some physical activity, you have to do something that will help you to stay in form. Your body should be healthy, you must do something with it.

You don’t need to go to gym, you don’t need to attend dance classes. Find your way, but do something, it could be exercising at home. None cares, the point is here and it’s your choice.

Sleep cycle

Believe me or not, there are a phases of sleep time. I tried and I can definitely tell you that is quite difficult to wake someone in stage 3 sleep, but relatively easy in stage 1 or REM sleep. Every phase is around 90 minutes long. You know the moment when you woke up and felt like the train hits you? When you felt like shit? Probably you woke up from the phase 2 or phase 3.

Alarms are brutal, they wake us up at the wrong part of the sleep cycle. If you want to wake up at 5AM you have to fall asleep at one of these times:

  • 3:30AM
  • 2AM
  • 00:30AM
  • 11PM
  • 9:30PM

I tried it. If you want to have 6h of sleep time, go to bed around 10:45 PM. You will have 15min to fall asleep and you will wake up refreshed. If you miss that time, please don’t go to sleep till 00:15 AM. You will feel better in the morning with those 4 hours and 30 minutes than with 5 hours. Don’t miss your phase and opportunity to wake up refreshed.

In the beginning, it will be hard for you to find your ideal time but after a few days of testing, you will find it. For me, it’s 6 hours.

Source: How sleep works

Morning starts evening before

It’s hard to develop a morning practice if your night schedule changes drastically each day. But a little motivation and determination is all that is required. We are trying to go sleep every evening between 10 PM and 11 PM, but it’s hard to afford it every day.

Try to turn off all technology at least one hour before sleep time. Read the book, write something, go for a walk. Do whatever you want but don’t look at the screen. That means; no mobile phone, no laptop, no movies… I tested it, it really helps, if you can afford it turn it off.

A few days in a week I have some obligations in the evening and I came home around 11 PM. It takes me at least half an hour to set up everything and to go to bed. I struggle, I struggle the next morning. It’s fucking hard to get up in the morning. But I don’t want to be a failure, I am paying the price, I wake up.

Cold shower could help

I like it and I am using it for almost a year. There are many healthy benefits if you take a cold shower your blood will better run through your body. That shock of cold water will reset you, will help you to start the day better. After a cold shower, I feel 100% more energetic and my mind is ready to focus on something.

The truth is that it’s really hard to do it. it’s really hard to stick to it, especially during first few weeks. I will be honest with you. You will struggle, a few months after you start doing it, you will keep struggling. You will NEVER get used to it. Believe me, I still struggle.

After you take that cold shower, you will feel better, you will feel like there is nothing for the rest of the day that can stop you. You feel ready to seize the day to its fullest.

You have to feel good

Maybe these advices are not suitable for you but they are working for me. It’s important to find a routine that is a good fit for you. You have to feel good doing it, if you don’t feel like it, you will give up. You will quit like most of the people.

Read advices, filter them, try them, find what works for you and be consistent with it. You need to find a routine that you can stick with.

Anything is possible if you are willing to pay the price

One last thing…

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