I don’t quite stick to the 20/20/20 ethos; I find it too rigid for me. If I get caught up in reading a brilliant book, for example, I’m loath to put it down and head to my next 20-minute activity. I tend to go with the flow of what feels good each morning. However, I do make sure that I get in at least 20 minutes of movement (this can be anything from a gentle, intuitive stretch to a HIIT class), 20 minutes of something nourishing that is unrelated to my job, and some time planning out my day.

So what has it changed? Well, everything. No, seriously, it has changed everything, and I say that as someone who was a hard cynic just over eight weeks ago. My sex life is better, for one. Suddenly I have time to “do bits” in the morning, when I’m not too tired, feeling bloated from dinner, or busy googling “what if he had picked the red card” after binge-watching the entirety of Squid Game. In fact, we’re full of life, without the tick-tocking of time weighing down on us (because you have lots of it when you wake up at 5 a.m.; who knew?).

My day-to-day motivation around work has gone up too. I find myself bursting with ideas, able to flow more freely through my tasks and excited by the projects I take on again. I’m also less stressed. I now have time to plan out my to-do list ahead of my shift or spend 30 minutes getting on top of an assignment I would have found overwhelming if trying to navigate it alongside the constant ping of Slack, ding of emails, and the often all-encompassing expectations of my colleagues.

I feel a greater sense of achievement and satisfaction at the end of the day, and that niggling guilt that accompanied evening downtime has mellowed to an almost unnoticeable level for the first time in my life. I mean, can you imagine watching Netflix without a lurking sense that you’re failing at life? It’s game changing.

All this might seem predictable, but joining the 5 a.m. club has also had many surprising benefits: My friendships have improved, and not because I’m making plans for 6 a.m. I spend some time replying to WhatsApp messages each morning when I know people won’t reply so I can just get rid of all the notifications without more popping up.

Add to this the fact that there is something really confidence boosting about sticking to a habit, feeling in control of your time, and achieving 10 things (or fewer, depending on the day, it doesn’t really matter) before anyone else is even up, and you’ve got yourself a pretty potent recipe for a good life. Sure, there are still things that go wrong in my day, moments where I feel at breaking point, and things I run out of time to do, but there is also the reassurance that in just a few short hours, I’ll have the chance to catch-up, to reset again, and to experience a renewed sense of calm.

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