Here’s a list of 101 things you can do when you wake up at 5am. I’ve tried to categorize them, so you can choose based on whatever mood you’re feeling that morning.
Try some out, and let me know what you like or don’t like! Personally, I’ve tried almost all of these things over the past 3 years of getting up at 5am. These activities have kept me busy, creative, productive, and enjoying my mornings.
*Note, a couple of the links within the list below are amazon affiliate links…
- Blog or Journal (If new to this, start by just writing about what you did yesterday. This helps with reflection, and also gives you things to read back and remember later on in life)
- Paint stuff. Small things like rocks, wood, ceramics, etc. make great gifts for people. Some of mine are in the pics below. I use Posca Pens which are a little expensive, but good quality and have lasted me years. Rocks are free, I just find mine on the beach or when I’m walking anywhere and see a cool rock, I pick it up!
- Draw stick figure doodles of you and your friends saving the day in elaborate, heroic, action scenes. Hang the little doodles on your friend’s fridge when you visit them. Fridge pics stay up for years and they’ll think of you every time they see it.
- Design a logo for a friend’s business
- Make a family tree. Next time you talk to your parents or grandparents, ask them to help fill in some missing boxes.
- Add all of your friends’ birthdays to your Outlook or Cell phone calendar so that you are reminded can send them a Happy Birthday message 1 day before everyone else does on Facebook.
- Write some hopeless romantic poems for your boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Write love letters. To your sig other, or write one to yourself! (sounds weird, but like Kanye says… you gotta cheer for yourself before anyone else will cheer for you)
- Cook a slow and delicious breakfast. If you have time, try and make your own bread.
- Prepare a candlelit breakfast for your spouse
- Build something; anything! Lego, model plane, house of cards, simple furniture, etc.
- Write some affirmation flashcards for daily motivation
- Make some candles. Easy to do, and great gifts for people! I use this wax and these wicks. Watch this video for beginners.
- Write about your dreams last night. Interpret them.
- Write a letter to your future self. Or past self. Or write your own obituary.
- Walk, jog, or run
- Ride, cycle or spin
- Go to a workout class or boot camp. Many places have free or cheap trials for new members!
- Stretch, yoga, or breath work
- Surf, swim, walk on the beach
- Exercise the dog, or have the dog exercise you!
- Drive to a fancy neighborhood and walk the streets and look at all the beautiful mansions
- Learn to moonwalk! Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, learn a few easy breakdance moves. (Don’t tell anyone about it, then one day when you’re at a wedding you can clear the floor and surprise everyone with your sweet sweet dance moves)
- Hike to up a hill, watch the sunrise over the city
- Try to do 1000 squats in 1 hour! (I did this once and loved it. Couldn’t walk for the next week, but loved it nonetheless)
PEACE & CALM:
- Read books (Only 20 mins of reading per day gets you though about 2 books per month! Try reading one for pleasure, like a fiction book or story, and one that challenges you a little mentally)
- Listen to music. Find old songs from your childhood, or maybe just put on some classical stuff for background relaxing music.
- Meditate –> there’s a free version of this app called Headspace which is great for beginners. Meditation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but don’t knock it before your try it!
- Sit in silence petting your dog or cat (sounds creepy, but it’s actually very therapeutic)
- Watch the sun rise, from home or at a park. This one’s my favorite activity and I’ve come to love sunrises more than sunsets!
- Do a puzzle. I participate in a few local puzzle swaps and can find used puzzles cheap on Craigslist.
- Take a bath with candles and bath salts.
- Watch a movie (careful here, mindless TV in the morning can make you more dull and less creative throughout the day)
- Study for school or work.
- Learn a new language. Download the free Duolingo App on your phone.
- Learn to play an instrument. Guitar is an easy one to pick up and there’s a TON of free online lessons like JustinGuitar for beginners.
- Read self-help books or autobiographies. I love that type of stuff!
- Brew your own beer! I started homebrewing in 2013 with this starter kit. Easy, fun, and delicious!
- Reflect on yesterday’s mistakes or triumphs. Need to apologize to anyone or correct a situation that didn’t end the way you like? Need to thank someone or celebrate a new milestone you hit?
- Repair your old favorite clothes. Patches on your jeans are back in, apparently?
- Learn how to invest in real estate. Start by listening to this podcast.
- Analyze a rental property. 1 per day for 30 days and you’ll become an expert.
- Cut your own hair! For short hair, use this thing. Not that hard, I’ve been doing it for years.
- Memorize lyrics to your favorite songs for future karaoke performances
- Research countries you want to visit.
- Plan your next vacation. I just found this awesome website for cheap flights… SecretFlying.
WORK & PRODUCTIVITY:
- Make a to-do list for the day. Learn and follow the GTD methodology (Getting Things Done), watch this quick 7 min video or check out the book by David Allen!
- Make a NOT to-do list for the day. (Write down 4-5 things that distract you, guilty pleasures, or bad habits that you are trying to kick. Write them down and refer back to them during the day to make sure you are NOT doing them. It really does work.)
- Plan ahead for your meetings. Write down objectives, questions or concerns to bring up in your meetings that day.
- Reply to your emails, clear your inbox, try moving forward with the Inbox Zero method!
- Tackle your hardest task first. Eat that frog!
- Write a thank you note, or compliment email (to a client, coworker, vendor, or business partner). Making someone else’s day will also make your day.
- Watch a TEDTalk on industry trends
- Listen to a Podcast that interest you. Revisionist History by Malcom Gladwell is a good one with interesting topics.
- Practice presenting in front of the mirror. Good for future public speeches and building confidence!
- Set up auto-filing of group emails to certain inboxes in outlook.
- Clean your desktop, folders and filing system.
- Scan paperwork in your office and try to go 100% digital.
- Write your 5 year, 10 year, or even you 200 year legacy plan!
- Update your resume
- Apply for some jobs. Either figure out a new side hustle hobby to make some extra cash, or look at dream jobs within your field of expertise.
- Connect with people on LinkedIn, ask old contacts for references or referrals. Don’t forget to write them a reference too! (the best way to get respect is to give respect!)
- Write a personal or career mission statement, and hang it above your office door so you see it every time you walk out of your office.
- Make, monitor, or asses your budgets. Some people think this is a boring activity… But your budget can be whatever you want it to be!
- Calculate your net worth or saving rate
- Rebalance your stock portfolio. But don’t do it willy nilly! Read up and talk to the experts first before making quick changes!
- Write a will. 💀 Sucks to think about, but we all die. Start by just jotting a few notes down, then talk to your family and friends slowly about it. When you’re ready, get it legalized!
- Update all your account beneficiaries. Retirement account, life insurance, bank accounts… Your money needs to fall into the right hands when something goes wrong!
- Apply for a new rewards credit card, or cancel old ones that you don’t need.
- Review or cancel subscription services. I recently ditched Amazon Prime, which is saving me a lot from buying useless crap online. Donate the money you save to charity instead!
- Coupon clipping or online bargain hunting can be fun in the mornings.
- Read personal finance blogs, how-to’s and best practices from successful investors.
AROUND THE HOUSE:
- Go through your closet, make a donation pile of clothes you no longer wear. (Put the bag in your car… because if you leave it in your closet it might never get to goodwill!)
- Ditch old crap around the house you don’t use anymore. Try getting rid of 5 items per day for 30 days.
- Give your dog a bath! My dog Cooper gets a bath every week or so – doing it first thing in the morning has my wife waking up to a fresh smelling puppy!
- Fix all your broken lightbulbs, or change to energy efficient ones
- Dust your windowsill and baseboards. Sounds boring, but only need to do it once and then you feel great afterwards!
- Do laundry, iron shirts, fold and sort your clothes (or better yet, clean and arrange your spouse’s messy closet – they will love it!)
- Sweep, mop, vacuum so your partner wakes up to a sparkling house
- Move your couch, bed, and large stuff to clean underneath. I find the weirdest stuff when I look under my furniture 😜
- Rearrange your furniture for a fresh new look
- Earthquake proof your house and things. Maybe even buy or update your emergency kit or ICE folder.
- Replace the photos or update the art hanging around your house. Just moving things around breaks routine – which is a good thing.
- Go grocery shopping (Yes, most Vons, Safeway, and other large stores are open at 5 or 6am)
- Clean your fridge and freezer. Reward yourself later in the day by filling it with BEER! 🍺
- Grow a garden
- Wash your car (yes you can do this at 5am, and although your neighbors might think you are weird – you will have a shinier car than them!)
- Volunteer, promote a good cause, mentor someone online.
- Unfollow, unsubscribe, or hide from news that doesn’t contribute positively to your life. Try the low information diet.
- Subscribe to things that motivate you and add value to your life!
- Meal prep for the week ahead
- Have sex 🙊
- Change and update all your passwords. Maybe get a password manager like LastPass, it’s free.
- Upload and sort your photo libraries. Email some old funny photos to friends from back in the day.
- Call people in other time zones
- Write a prisoner. I started this a few months ago and have 2 different inmate pen-pals.
- Listen to Air Traffic Control –> You can tune into any public airport tower in the US, try it online at this site, LiveATC. Kind of nerdy, but fun to listen to what’s happening when planes get permission to land.
So there you have it, enjoy!