Working at 5am every morning
Over the years of working as freelancer with minimal set schedule, I’ve had good chance to test and fine tune daily work routines that work for me.
When I was turning 30, I had serious age crisis. Until then, I had been working on nightclubs and cocktail bars, living in the night shift in general. Back then I was living in Thailand, where it was common to see middle aged expats spending their life in bars all day long, all year long. I remember thinking back then, what I wanted to be when about I’m about to turn 40. I’ve never had clear vision of my future, but I was sure it wasn’t anything like those guys.
I moved back to Finland in may 2011, and decided to get a proper day job in web development to get new direction to my future. At the beginning, I had hard time getting used to getting up early and going to office. Where in Phuket I usually went to bed at sunrise around 06:00, I was now supposed to be at work 10:00 the latest.
It wasn’t for long though before I got it working for me. I started forcing myself to wake up way to early, usually between 4:30 and 5am. This way I was tired enough in the evening, fell asleep easily and changed my rhythm completely. Also, giving myself slack and sleeping till 6am every now and then felt luxurious after those early mornings.
Over the years I’ve tried working in the morning, during the day, and in the evenings. I’ve found that during the day there’s too many other things to do. I prefer doing grocery shopping and other errands before 4pm, because shops are not too crowded. Evenings are more or less family time and dedicated to relaxing. I’ve tried working during evenings, but it seems to affect my sleep, if there’s too much work related things to think about close to bedtime.
Nowadays I have my alarm set to 05:05 every morning. I’ve found out that best time for me to get things done is before 9am. I tackle the hardest tasks first in the morning, right after going thru my everyday morning routines. I’m able to stay focused better in the morning, as I know that if I get work done then, I have rest of the free and can do whatever I want to.
This habit of early mornings came very handy in winter of 2013-2014, when we stayed in Thailand again, as I was working remotely for one company. We had a deal I’d work for them 20 hours a week, 4 hours a day. Thanks to time difference between Finland and Thailand, I was able to do all my assignments for each day before anybody started their days at offices in Finland. This gave me benefit of zero distractions and great energy boost for rest of the day.