I have been a fan of Robin Sharma’s book, The Monk who sold his Ferrari, as it came into my life when I needed guidance to shape my career. I would credit the book for uplifting my life in my early twenties. The book imparted many good habits which I am and still trying to cultivate in my life. 

When Robin published another book, The 5 am club, in 2018, I was excited to get my hands on it. There were many pieces of advice dished out in the book which I tried to implement in my life. However, I could not keep up with them after 6 weeks. I would like to share with you the challenges I faced trying to wake up at 5 am every day. 

Challenges of waking up at 5 am every day

1. Travelling frequently across timezones

It was hard to implement the 5 am club advice when I was travelling frequently across timezones. I found that my body became very confused. When I travelled from the UK to Singapore with an eight hours time difference, I found myself waking up at 2 am in the night fighting my hunger pangs. I eventually relented and ended up snacking at 4 am. 

Personally, I found that for every hour of a time difference between two destinations, it would take me an average of 2 to 3 days to adjust my body to the new time zone.

I have decided that the goal to wake up at 5 am is not practical for a frequent traveller. Instead, I recommend aiming for 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day and not consuming caffeinated drinks which will disrupt your sleep cycle. 

2. Working later than planned and sleeping beyond 9.30 pm

Another reason that I could not keep up with my goal of waking up at 5 am was not being in total control of my sleep schedule due to work commitments. It was a choice between forgoing the income or insisting to sleep by 9.30 pm. I chose the former as I needed money badly then. 

Hopefully, in the near future, I can be in greater control over my sleep schedule when I am financially independent. 

3. Failing to sleep by 9.30 pm due to emotional troubles

Lastly, another reason that hindered me from waking up at 5 am was not being able to sleep by 9.30 pm because of emotional troubles. This issue can be overcome if I were to be more discipline in my life. I find that if I meditate for 5 to 10 minutes every morning, exercise, eat home-cooked food, and write in my diary regularly, I would not be plagued by my thoughts at night which keeps me awake. 

Living a disciplined lifestyle is very important to achieve mental peace and happiness. Thankfully, I believe that this is entirely within the control of an individual to implement if one is aware of the benefits. 


I used to like waking up early. I tended to wake up early when I was staying with my parents as my dad is an early riser. While living in Singapore, I would also wake up really early once or twice a week to exercise. I wanted to avoid the scorching sun which would be beating down on you by 8 am.  I would wake up at 5.30 to 6 am so that I could reach the park by 6.30 or 7 am to exercise. 

However, after I moved to Manchester, I realised that I can no longer rise with the sun as the sun rises at drastically different times in different seasons of the year. It took me one year to learn about the rhythmic cycle of day and night time in Manchester. I am the least productive during winter as day time only lasts for 8 hours. Therefore, I have decided that I would need to escape winter to remain productive. I tested this hypothesis in 2022 and my personal experience told me that I was right. It was the cold, gloomy weather in Manchester that was making me depressed and hide in my bed most of the time. Had I not moved to Manchester, I would never have appreciated the warm and sunny climate in South East Asia. 

In 2023, the second year that I would be living in Manchester, I hope to find an optimal routine to help me become the most productive in the year. I would share my findings in due time. 

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