Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Early Bird Gets the Coffee and the Last of the Half-and-Half

About a month ago, when I had a lot of things to do during a busy week with company coming for the weekend, I set my alarm for five a.m. in order to get up extra-early and work. I have a freelance writing job that helps pay the bills and, even more important in some ways, allows me to provide little "extras" to myself without feeling horribly guilty and conflicted. When you're a stay-at-home mom and not contributing any income to the household, it can be hard to pay for salon appointments and almond milk and the occasional book or magazine or new scarf without feeling like a bad person. Now that I'm making some money, I can do these things with only minimal dismay. I mean, of course I should really be putting all that money toward my egregious graduate school loans or ailing retirement account, but you know how it is. A girl needs to live, too.

At any rate, I got up at five to write. There isn't always time to write during the day, not even when Genevieve naps or is at nursery school. Those chunks of time are blazingly brief, and there are always a lot of other things to do during that time too--the errands and cooking and laundry, the other professional stuff like book publicity tasks and working on my proposal. I try to write in the evenings, after the girls are in bed, but that isn't always enough. The first morning I got up at five, I whipped through a ton of work in an hour. The house was silent, there were few distractions, I was on a self-imposed deadline. It worked.

Since that day, I've been getting up at five every day. Even though this means I need to go to bed earlier at night (I'm talking really early), I can't imagine giving up my early-a.m. hour now. Usually I get some freelance writing done. Sometimes I write here, or take care of other writing business. And sometimes (though not often) I just sit and drink my coffee and scroll through my e-mail and Facebook.

I think it's important for moms to have their five a.m. hour. It doesn't actually have to be at five a.m., but a slot of time for focused concentration or preparation can be really valuable. That hour will rarely feel long enough--there's always more to do--but it's still a good thing.

Do you ever get up super-early just to plow through your to-do list? Do you notice you're more productive at five a.m. with no kids at your elbow than later in the day when a million other things are going on?


Ellen said...

I get up at the crack of dawn to run. Then I don't have to feel bad for trying to squeeze it in before my 17 month old daughter goes to sleep. I can come home and take her to the park and not have my brain nagging me "you must run!"

Mom and Kiddo said...

I always get up at 5! If I lie in bed, I can't get back to sleep while hubby is snorin' away, so I might as well get up and use the time. It's pretty much my favorite time of the day.

Donna said...

I've tried getting up early to be productive, but my son always wakes up thereby rendering productivity impossible. Admit I'm a little jealous that you can do this!