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I have had more than a few patients ask me about my blog on waking up at 5am.  I had a good laugh when someone asked me if I still wake up at 5am and my answer was, “No, I wake up at 4am now”.

The reason is that I was not taking breaks with my 5am wake up.

That is a no-no.  I just kept going and going, pushing myself – which is a good thing – until you hit-a-wall and realize you are exhausted, and you did not take an appropriate break to re-energize. 

When I read Robin Sharma’s book – 5am Club – he mentioned the ‘twin cycles of elite performance’.  We can not continue to perform optimally, or to continue to be productive, if we are not taking breaks.

It took me some time to figure out that waking up at 5am and trying to get all this stuff done, and only having one day a week, on Sunday, to rest, was not working for me. And by rest, I mean get everything else done that I did not have time for during the week; like errands and groceries.

I realized looking back at waking up early that I started to procrastinate, and I was plateauing with my workouts. And one day while I was meditating and giving myself time to reflect and become more self-aware, I discovered the issue.

No one person has the perfect formula for what you need to do.  You must figure out what works for you.  And be flexible a little.  There are plenty of ways to be productive and there is great research on a range of topics to cover this subject.  But you must remember that it does entail trial and error.  So, try something for an allotted amount of time and then ‘tweek’ it as needed to see what works best for you.

The only constant in life is – change!

And I was struggling.  The feeling I discovered was that I was pushing myself, but it felt like struggle, not progress. Without a completely clear picture of why I was doing this I was going through the motions but had missed the mark with taking breaks and being more focused with my mind-set.

That is why I switched to 4am. 

I am currently studying functional medicine. I need time to study and provide service to patients at the clinic.  So, I started a new routine to wake up even earlier so I can study in the mornings and keep my weekends free to finally take a break – WITHOUT GUILT (that is a discussion for another time).

This longer break gives me time to re-energize, and I am back at it on Mondays.