The Early Bird Challenge | Was it Worth it?

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You might remember from here and here that I’ve been taking part in The Early Bird Challenge throughout October (yep, 31 days of being up before 7am) to see just how waking up earlier affects me.

The team at Free Office Finders maintain that waking up just 1hour earlier can contribute to a greater feeling of satisfaction and happiness in life – especially when that time is well spent doing something for yourself. I put this theory to the test and here’s what happened!

 FullSizeRenderA lovely 5am sunrise. Best enjoyed in the back yard with a hot coffee.

You might remember in my halfway point roundup I explained just what I was spending that time on – and I’ve only added more activities into the mix since then. For 30 days I’ve worked on knitting, language, writing, catching up with family & old friends, some crafting and breakfast dates. To stop myself from getting complacent I came up with a plan of how to spice up my mornings – I wrote down a heap of activities I want to dedicate more time to and put all of them into a hat (some of them a couple of times, like Languages, which I wanted to work on more than once). Each morning when I got up I’d pull an activity out of the hat while my coffee was brewing.

I love surprising myself, and this mild form of semi-surprise was a good boost for me to start the day – I was even looking forward to climbing out of bed most mornings when my alarm clanged at 5am!

 IMG_4098One of the first out of the hat – Cronuts!

I have to admit that it was somewhat of a struggle to keep getting up so early every morning – especially before the clocks went back and the mornings were very dark. We also had a few late nights, and I was pretty bug eyed for the first 15 minutes or so on these mornings. Thankfully I don’t normally take long to wake up, and I was blessed with the gift of being a morning person by my mum.

31 days after starting  my challenge I feel like I’ve achieved so much that might have taken me years to do normally. I managed to write an extra 3,000 words of a book I’m working on, I completed an Absolute Beginners Russian language course online (it was a short one) and started an Intermediate German course (for work). I read a book about ancient civilisations. I finished my first ever knitting project (a scarf) and made a start on a second (christmas decorations). I made an Advent Calendar. I cleared out & curated my dressing room. I experimented with making a Jian Bing (a traditional chinese breakfast crepe that we loved when we were in Shanghai) – and succeeded. I exercised and meditated. I wrote to a new penpal, I wrote to an old penpal. I reminisced with my Brother (also an early bird) and mum (Queen of the early birds) and even headed out to breakfast at one of the pillars of Manchester culture (koffee pot).

IMG_4341 IMG_4342Smoked salmon & sourdough toast at Koffee Pot. Every morning, please.

In terms of personal satisfaction this was all wonderfully uplifting. I went into work feeling powerful and prepared. I had a more positive attitude than ever, and found myself whizzing through work much faster than normal. However, I did notice an afternoon slump at the beginning of the month, but I just started to go to bed earlier wherever possible, and it faded.
As a direct result of the improved concentration and positivity at work, I felt better when I got home – like my day had meant something. I was ready to carry on going – so many nights I’ve fit in going for a run, heading out to dinner, working on more projects or visiting friends, where previously I’d been so sluggish by the end of the day I’d just want to curl up and watch television. I used to actively avoid doing anything after work, but now I’m looking for more and more to do.
Plus despite being very much a pack animal, I do enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. I like an hour to myself at some point to just be, not be bothered, and do what I want. Getting up so much earlier gave me a very nice window of opportunity for this, and its been lovely.

 IMG_4339New lounge art – an hour or two well spent.

So, do I recommend waking up earlier?
I can’t recommend it enough – but perhaps not every day. I can’t lie and say its easy. Getting up super early every day has been quite a challenge for me, even as an early bird, but the pros far outweigh the 15 seconds of grumpiness whilst you hobble from bed to bathroom. It’s a difficult adjustment to make over the first few days, especially over winter, but its one that I can’t imagine anybody regretting. Even if you only make a point of doing it once or twice a week to start with, I’d massively recommend giving it a go. The guys at Free Office Finder have a new convert to early bird living – and I’ve been telling just about everybody I know about the wonderful things that can happen in that overlooked first hour.

Will you be giving it a go?

Let me know how you fare – I’ll probably be awake!

 Kitty

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Early Bird Challenge | Was it Worth it?

  1. I get up about 5.30 each morning, it’s fairly natural to me now. I go to the gym before work almost every day and it’s a great feeling to have got that work out or a swim out of the way, so you can spend the evening socialising. I don’t find it hard to get up early, I’ve always been a bit of an early bird, so I guess that’s quite lucky.

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