The Importance of Self-Care
When I was first preparing to transition to my new life as a stay-at-home dad, there was a movement happening within the writing circles that I followed. I wanted to see what other writers were doing and hoped to pick up some tips and tricks from them. I wanted learn how to write better. One of the authors that I followed was Jon Acuff. At that time, he was talking in detail about the right way to handle your side project. One of his biggest takeaways was that you should should be selfish at 5am.
Acuff correctly assumed that the 5 o’clock hour was a ripe opportunity to have time just for yourself. Most of your family is sleeping and you probably don’t need to start getting ready for work until 6:00am. By being selfish, he was encouraging his readers to get up a a little bit earlier than normal and work on something that they were passionate about. During those 30 or 60, you could work on whatever that thing was.
His point was two-fold. First, by opening up this time in your schedule, you really did have the time to chase your dream. Second, it’s natural to think that if you can’t do something full time, you shouldn’t do it at all. That idea was blown out of the water by this technique because writing for 30 minutes each morning, over long periods of time, could produce plenty of content for a blog or perhaps the first draft of a manuscript.
Seven years later, I’m still participating in the 5 Club, even though it doesn’t get much attention anymore. The app has long since been removed from the App Store and I haven’t heard Jon talk about this idea on his blog in years. For me, it was transformative idea.
Waking up at 5:00am is not fun. Neither is 6:00am or even 7:00am. Waking up is a daily challenge. Switching from a dormant state to an active one is a big jump for your body. After waking up at the new time consistently for two weeks, it becomes more natural. Opening up that time has been critical to my success and stability as a stay-at-home dad.