What I Learned By Waking Up Every Day at 10:15 a.m.
For years, I woke up around 8 AM, just like millions of people. But in 2016, I gave myself a new challenge. It would turn out to be one of the most insane life hacks I’ve ever done: Waking up every day at 10:15 AM. “Bullshit,” you say. No, it’s true—I did. And I’m here to tell you and everyone else on Thought Catalog what I learned.
1. The world is a different kind of place. The first thing I noticed in waking up at 10:15 AM is how different the world is. The normal haze of sleep-deprived confusion that trailed me like a hound dog was gone. I could see colors, smell smells, and taste tastes. Gravity felt somehow less pernicious.
2. No alarm! Instead of setting an alarm, I just woke up in the natural way—by waiting until the third or fourth time someone sent me a text message saying “where are you?”
3. Some people will think you’re crazy. Not everyone will be supportive. When I first announced on Facebook that I would be waking up at 10:15 AM, some people balked. People asked a lot of questions about my motivation or my mental health status. Some said they would pray for me. My friend Devin said, “Who the hell do you think you are? This isn’t summer vacation, and you aren’t 14 years old.” My son Jeremy, who is 14 years old said, “How will I get to school?” Haters like this will try to throw you off, but you need to stay strong and true to your path.
4. I don’t need as much sleep as I thought. This one shocked me, frankly. I’ve always been the guy who preaches about the importance of sleep. I used to get six solid hours, but I’ve realized that I only need eight to nine hours, and I feel just fine.
5. Some people will fire you. My boss Douglas was confused for almost six weeks about why I was never at my desk before 11 AM. Yet another example of “not everyone gets it.”
6. Eliminate the obstacles. People like to say that doing something like this is “impossible.” But the truth is that most people are lazy and just conform to society’s expectations. If you really want to achieve something big, get creative. Turn off your alarm clock, buy blackout curtains, and insert earplugs. You may find a new reserve of willpower like I did. Next thing I knew, I was turning down social invitations from people I didn’t want to see, impulse buying full-price hardcover books I wanted to read, and blogging in the late morning rather than after dinner.
7. Some of your children will be taken away. Jeremy lives exclusively with his mother now.
8. You need a lot of self-love. It takes a lot of wisdom and self-love to wake up every day at 10:15 AM. Did you know that many people hate themselves? Sadly, people who go through life hating themselves will never have what it takes to wake up every day at 10:15 AM.
9. Nothing actually bad happened. My biggest fear of waking up at 10:15 AM was that I would miss out on 9 AM meetings, driving Jeremy to school, and morning news shows that provide no knowledge of any lasting value. Sure, I missed these things at first, but ultimately, I adapted.
10. It takes commitment. Waking up at 10:15 AM made me rethink why I do what I do. I realized that I was blindly committed to a destructive lifestyle of staying up late, setting my alarm for 8 AM, and walking through the day like a zombie. And not a fast, cool 28 Days Later zombie; no, a slow Romero zombie. But by consciously choosing to wake up every single day at 10:15 AM, I tested my human limits as well as the boundaries of what society considers acceptable, non-felonious behavior. It takes a lot of integrity to wake up every day at 10:15 AM.
11. I was tired. Throughout this experiment, people often asked me, “why are you doing this?” I didn’t answer them, because, in truth, I didn’t really know myself. But now I do: I was tired. Very, very tired. Dead dog tired, like a walking corpse shell of a man. It turns out that being tired is like going around your whole life wearing shoes with lead weights in them. Well, now that I’ve taken the weights off, I couldn’t feel better.