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Early to Rise: Share Your Success (and why I have a new crazy-early wake-up time!)

Welcome to the Early to Rise Challenge! Throughout the month of March, I’m challenging myself and my readers to make the most of their mornings. So every week day morning at 9 a.m. EST, I’m posting a short Early to Rise post. I’ll share a few of my thoughts on the day’s passage from Early to Rise, tell you what time I got up that morning, and encourage you to leave a comment to tell us what time you got up and how you’re doing on the challenge.

Share Your Success

Have you found success by participating in the Early to Rise challenge this month? If so, don’t keep a good thing to yourself!

Tell your friends, blog readers, neighbors, and co-workers about what you’re learning and the progress you’re making. Don’t make them feel guilty if they are not early risers, but DO inspire them to consider trying to make the most of their mornings.

I get so pumped by hearing about other peoples’ successes with early morning rising. It motivates me to keep at it — and it inspires me to aim higher and be more intentional in my early morning rising.

For instance, at the Killer Tribes Conference this past weekend, I had the privilege of spending a little time with Jessica from The Mom Creative. She’s an amazing woman who accomplishes a lot and does it well.

I asked her point-blank, “How do you do it?” Want to know her first answer? “I get up early.”

She told me how she accomplishes so much by being committed to going to bed early and getting up at 5 a.m. every morning and using the first hour and a half of her morning really intentionally to write, plan, and work on projects.

Hearing her success inspired me to continue to making early morning rising a priority in my life. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I opted to get up really early for the next three weeks to work on editing my book (more on that below).

Who are you going to tell about your early morning success today? Tell us in the comments.

What Time Did You Get Up This Morning?

I got up at around 3 a.m. this morning. And don’t worry, it’s not because I think 3 a.m. is a great time to wake up. It’s for a good cause, though.

You see, I got my editorial review back from my publisher this past weekend and I have until April 15 to make some fairly extensive edits. While I’m going to scale back in some areas, I don’t want to give up the good routine we have going in our life right now.

So Jesse and I sat down and worked out a plan together. He offered to take over the kids’ bedtime routine so I could go to bed really early (8 p.m.). Then, my plan is to get up at 3 a.m. most every morning for the next three weeks to give me a good two hours to work on book edits each morning. Short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits, right? 🙂

What time did you get up? Leave a comment and let us know!

Join in the Chatter!

Want to blog about this challenge? If you’re blogging through this challenge with me, be sure to leave your link to your direct post for today below. Plus, if you’d like to post your daily posts to the Early to Rise Group Board on my Pinterest page, just shoot me an email (moneysavingmom @ gmail dot com) and I’ll invite you.

Want to follow along on Twitter or Instagram? Each week day morning on my Facebook Page, my Twitter account, and my Instagram account, I’ll be posting a picture of my alarm clock as public accountability. I’d love to have you do the same or join in the discussion on Twitter and Instagram. Just follow hashtag #EarlytoRise to see what others are tweeting and Instagramming about this challenge!


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  • Marie Clement says:

    I somehow missed the March Early to Rise challenge, but I woke up this morning thinking I needed to start getting up earlier. The kids sometimes wake early and I miss out on some much needed quiet time in the morning. So, I plan on starting this challenge tomorrow to make sure I have the time to get my things accomplished (and have at least one cup of coffee!) before my kiddos get up and we start our day.

  • Wow! That’s early! Sounds like you have a a good plan. Can’t wait to read your new book.

    I got up at 5am today. My first day up early in two weeks. So glad to be getting well after this terrible sickness my family had. Some nights I didn’t get to sleep until after 3am because I couldn’t stop coughing!

    At least I can appreciate being well now, right?

  • T says:

    Wow….3 am. That’s great that you worked out a system to help you get the time you need to work on your projects. Won’t you be exhausted by the afternoon? I sure would. So glad you enjoyed your weekend. I can’t wait to read your new book. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      If I get around 7 hours of sleep every night (and a little more on the weekends), I usually function really well. But by 8 p.m. tonight, I can guarantee you that I’ll be ready for bed. 🙂

  • Shelly says:

    I love how you have made a plan to get extra time to work on book edits each morning. I also love to hear how your husband is so supportive of you. I have a great hubby like that too. I hope you have great success over the next 3 weeks in getting your edits done.

    I was up at 6:05 this morning. I think I have fallen into a sleep routine as it was easier to get up today. I also have found it is so nice to be able to get some things done in my early morning time. I went from exercising just 1-2 times a week when my day slowed down a bit to exercise 5 days a week without missing a day this last few weeks. This is a change I have been wanting to accomplish but just couldn’t seem to consistently find the time in my day.

    • Crystal says:

      Go you! So excited to hear that you’re falling into a good routine!

      {And yes, I am SO blessed with a wonderfully supportive husband who cheerleads me on and shoulders a lot of the load because he so believes in what I’m doing!}

  • I was up with you this morning, but it wasn’t by choice. My youngest is cutting her two year molars and sleep has eluded us for the past few nights 🙂

    I can’t wait to hear more about your newest book project! I’ll offer up an editing prayer for you tomorrow if I’m up again that early.

  • Kim says:

    I have not been getting up early, because I still have wakeful nights with a toddler. However, I have started exercising each morning. Six days in a row doing P90X workouts! Yay, me! 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    I was up at 6:30am. My cold is finally letting up and I have been sleeping better! Also my toddler is sleeping better recently, too. He must have been having teething pains and just couldn’t express that that was the problem. Now if I could only resolve the multiple pregnancy related middle of the night bathroom trips!

    Crystal, you are so lucky to have such a loving and supportive husband! Mine is loving and supportive (don’t get me wrong), but our schedules just clash completely. While I’ve been working so hard to get up earlier and earlier (to help both him and myself), I still end up going to bed at the same time because he gets home so late. I don’t have anyone to help pick up the slack in the evenings so that I can go to bed earlier and I always wait for him to come home so that we can eat dinner together (otherwise I’d only see him for 15 mins a day). End result is me eating dinner at 9-9:30pm and then going straight to bed. I’m just having a hard time figuring out any change in our current schedule that could do anything to alleviate the problem.

    • Jessica says:

      I bet your husband really appreciates the fact that you wait to have dinner with him 😉 we all lead different lives. For you, it sounds like those evening hours are important for you and your husband!

    • I have a friend whose husband is a farmer and a lot of the time he doesn’t get home until 8:30 or 9 (then during planting and harvesting, he often goes back to work after dinner). I have been so impressed over the years that she has adjusted her and her children’s sleep schedule to work with his late schedule. They eat dinner as a family almost every night. So while her family doesn’t go to bed until 10:30 or 11 and they sleep until 8 or 9am, it works great for them.

      Her children are teens and young adults now and they have a super close family. I really think part of it was finding what worked for them and not comparing to what other families are doing.

      I’m kind of in the same boat now because one of my teenage sons is working at Walgreens and usually works the closing shift. So on those nights I don’t go to bed until 11:30 or 12 but I wouldn’t trade that time spent with him. Although sometimes I do “nap” on the couch during the news while I wait for him.

      All of that to say, maybe you need to not get up earlier and it be a source of discontent for you. Maybe you could rearrage you day schedule to accomplish all that you need to accomplish during this season. I know it’s hard, esp. with little ones, but you won’t ever regret spending that time with your husband – and he won’t, either.

  • I don’t know how this works, but getting up two hours early somehow just allows me to get a lot more done than staying up an extra two hours.

    5:00 am is my usual wake-up time, but every now and then I get up earlier, either just because I wake up by myself, or there’s something. I. just. want. done.

  • Amy says:

    I have been jealously reading about the early to morning challenge and wishing I could join in. Does anyone have any suggestions about what to do if your husband isn’t on board?
    I’ve explained how it would allow me to get so much done before the kids get up and get a great start on the day, but, if I get up before he starts to get ready for work, he gets very upset because he wants to “snuggle”, every day, no exceptions.
    I’ve even tried the opposite, and tried a stay up late program to get things done, but he doesn’t like it if I stay up after him.
    I homeschool our 3 kids and am always behind in everything.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated. ——Thanks

    • Amy,

      I’m sure that Crystal has great advice for you, but I’m wondering if you could just snuggle for a few minutes in the morning before getting up, or if you wake up first, if you could climb back into bed right before his normal wake-up time?

      This may sound counter-productive, but maybe a quiet time mid-afternoon would help. Children can read, color, play quietly with legos or dolls, etc for about an hour. I used to feel behind and overwhelmed, but once I started having a quiet time after lunch (and using that hour to refresh myself instead of working), those overwhelmed feelings started to disappear, and my house is actually cleaner now than before!

      Also, I recommend diligently praying that God will soften your husbands heart towards your needs.

      I will pray for you!

    • Lynne says:

      Please know that I am not being critical in my tone when I ask this, but am asking respectfully and with some curiosity: why did you choose to go to bed at 8 pm and wake up at 3 am, as opposed to working in the evening if your husband will take over bedtime with the kids and waking up at your regular time? I am more of a night owl, so that’s the choice I would probably make, but I was curious about your thought process. Thank you!!

      • Crystal says:

        I am much, much more productive in the mornings — especially with a project like this that requires brain power and quiet. So I knew that going with the early-to-bed/early-to-rise schedule would be the more productive and efficient for me.

        I wish that I could find my groove to get a lot done in the evenings like some people can, but it’s so much better if I just go to bed and work on big projects when I’m fresh and invigorated in the mornings. 🙂

    • Alex says:

      I remember when I was in college and years before I could hop out of bed like a pop tart (or the old Full House-Wake up San Francisco). Now-I am always tired when I get up in the morning-I need at least 8 hours or I get run down feeling-I’ve experimented with different multi vitamins/diet to help with low iron.

      My husband is sweet and brings me a cup of coffee every morning 30 minutes before he has to leave for work. If our toddler gets up he usually will feed her breakfast for me.

    • Whitney says:

      I agree with Davonne about trying to get up early, then going back to bed for 10-15 minutes (however long he expects) so you have time together. Even if you didn’t have things to do, it’s just not practical/possible for two people to have identical sleep needs and schedules, especially if only one of you is dictating the schedule. You can also try going to bed at the same time as him, and then getting back up and getting work done in the evening if that works for you. My husband is a morning person, and I’m a night owl. He would prefer that we go to bed at the same time, but completely understands that I’m just not tired at the same time as him. I’ll often go to bed with him, then get back up after he falls asleep. I typically don’t even do anything else productive after that – I just need a little time to myself to decompress. When you spend all day taking care of other people, it can be exhausting not to have an hour alone each day. Good luck!

  • September says:

    Wow, that is crazy early! I’m sure you’ve considered this, but if your kids are on a reasonable bedtime schedule (my two are down for the count by 7:30 pm) isn’t it sometimes easier to work on projects in the evening? I have come a loooong way in terms of my morning routine (pre-kids I was NOT a morning person) but I’m much more naturally a night owl.

  • Victoria says:

    Hey you are going to be going the bed at the same time as me! except I rise at 5 am. My excuse it takes me over an hour to fall asleep once I hit the pillow. I have a routine, I do my gratitude journal, and then read my devotional, say my prayers and then if I am still away read a magazine until I fall asleep. Tips for going to bed that early…make sure you have black out curtains or blinds. White noise is great if the household is still up…I often use an app. on my itouch for that called “white noise”. Also try to not to eat a big meal to close to bed time, and no screens from 7 to 8. You probably know all of this but I do find these things really help for an early bedtime.

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks so much for the suggestions. I appreciate it as it definitely is going to take a little brain retraining… though after a few days, I doubt I’ll have too much trouble going to bed early since I’ll be plenty tired by then! However, I have to be disciplined about winding down early and not catching my second wind. So your tips were very helpful!

  • I think it’s fantastic that your husband is so on board and taking over bedtime for the next few weeks for you! I also admire your discipline at not only getting up at 3am, but also at going to sleep at 8:00pm. Can’t wait to hear what your next book is about!

  • Marie says:

    You are so disciplined! It’s great! I can’t wait to hear about your second book.
    I was able to wake at 5am, thanks to a little help from my husband, but didn’t get out of bed til 5:20. I am having a really hard time with the early to rise challenge. But my mornings are much smoother when I can get up early so I’d love to stick with it.
    I’m good for a week, then struggle, then good for a week! I’d love to get it more consistent. But even now I’m dragging so much and my two year old is so needy right now it’s draining.

  • K Quinn says:

    Wow Crystal! I know days my sister has gone to bed at that time (she has since changed her ways). That’s wonderful of your husband. I woke up at 6:30 this morning. I’ve gotten quite a bit done but I did miss my workout. I’ll fit that in later in the day. Oh well.

  • Melissa says:

    Up at 5:05am. I also find that I’m more productive in the morning than in the evenings. My success from this challenge has been in being more intential with my time in the morning before I leave the house for work. Most days of this challenge I have been successful in completing the 5 things that really do set my day up right. It has made my evenings upon returning home more relaxed and pleasant.

  • Shannon says:

    This is such a disciplined approach to finishing your book edits and I commend you for it. I know what you mean when you say that your body will naturally be ready for bed at 8p.m. once you regularly wake at 3a.m. Since rising at 5a.m. during this challenge, my body clock is ready for wind down at 8p.m. and I’m usually asleep by 9p.m. so I feel lucky that I just simply have to listen to my body in the evenings in order to get the 8 hours it needs to be productive. I am looking forward to your next book. I hope it includes tips on investing because that is what I am prayerfully working on in our plan 😉

  • Jen Krausz says:

    More power to you! Every time I have tried to get up earlier than I need to for work and getting kids to school, I end up going back to bed. I am just not coherent enough at that time and rationalize my way back to bed. Luckily I have a 2 hour window between when I get home from teaching and when the kids come home.

  • Brooke says:

    Woke up at 7:15 – not as early as I’d like, but early enough to fix coffee, get ready and write a note for my honey and stick it in his pocket for work 🙂
    I plan on telling more people about this challenge and I going to do start it again for next month as well to get better at it!

  • Kate says:

    Oh my! You might need a nap! I don’t know what time I got up today, we were still in our cabin. I can’t wait for your book! Good luck!!


  • Ellen says:

    It is funny how different bodies work differently. I speak and teach regularly for our women’s ministry at our church and I have found that the morning is NOT the time my brain turns on for “academic” type work. I can get up in the earlies to get laundry done, do rote paperwork, etc, but not for writing. If I had your deadline, I’d be vastly more efficient writing from 8-11pm and waking at 6am.

    I definitely believe in the value of early mornings… but I believe in the value of “know thyself” as well! 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    Ha, it’s funny, if I have a big project, I may see 3am, but I’m getting there from the other direction. It’s just not a time I can get UP for. I’ve done it for flights and I feel tired and almost hung over the whole day.

  • lyss says:

    Thank you for admitting that that is CRAZY! : ) Well, not as crazy as it would be if you got up that early after staying up till midnight and tried to live on coffee instead of sleep….THAT would truly be crazy! At least you’re getting your sleep, albeit at differing times than most of us. ; )
    I have a long way to go in this early-to-rise thing, but I have come a long way. I do get up much earlier than I used to. Working toward getting up at 7 consistently…not there yet, though! It’s just hard when your husband is a night owl! And while always going to bed at 8 or even 9 might work for some, it doesn’t work with us with our church schedule. (I’m guessing you don’t have Sun or Wed evening church?)

  • Monica says:

    Whew! That’s early……like the middle of the night! 🙂 But I think it’s so great that you have a plan in place and it sounds like it should work well. Best of luck to you.

  • Susan says:

    I’ve learned so much from this challenge, most importantly that I CAN get up early, when I had convinced myself I just couldn’t. I love getting up early, but I don’t think I could handle 3 am, Crystal! My hat’s off to you!

  • Susan says:

    Regular morning wakeup goal is 6:30 AM. but on Monday that changes to 5:30 AM, due to early Monday commitment. Today, the phone alarm went off at 5:30 AM. In a deep sleep, I pushed the “snooze” button, but then woke again and got up just before the delayed alarm went off at 5:40 AM. Was glad that I did, since I had a long list of “to-do’s” to accomplish before leaving the house early (as I do every Monday AM). Goal for tonight is to get to bed by 9:30 PM.

  • Mackenzie says:

    I’ve always wondered how Jessica gets it all done. Thanks for asking her!

  • Katie says:

    6:09. I’m back after four modem-less days!

  • Andrea says:

    I would love to be doing the early to rise challenge….but I have a 1 year old who thinks sleep is the enemy. I can NOT get this child to sleep at night. I have tried everything. I do a nice warm bath before bed, night time lotion, the house is quiet and dark, etc. I’ve tried giving her warm milk, food, and the opposite…no food and drink. I pick up all her toys and there is nothing to do but she will just wander around talking to herself. I have 3 other children ranging in age from 12 to 3 and they are all in bed by 10. The 3 year old goes to bed at 8. She keeps me up most nights until almost 3 a.m. I find myself sleeping until 10 and sometimes 11. My husband works nights and he helps when he can. He gets home at 6:30 a.m. and makes sure the kids are set for school. They get themselves up and ready thank God. I don’t really know what to do. Do you think that if I got up at 5 and woke her up at 6:30 or so, it would help reset her clock? Last night she actually went down at 11 and I laid in bed without being able to sleep because I’m so used to being up until 3. Suggestions??

  • Joy says:

    I love most of your series, this one I usually skip though! This one is hard for me. In the season I am in I stay up late to spend time with my husband. It’s the only time we get to connect and since he has an extremely rough job, I’m the one he confides in and shares about what has happened each day. It is very difficult for me to find a balance between being a good wife and a good mom. Each day at 7 when the alarm goes off it is soo difficult to get up. There are days when I don’t get a lot accomplished. But each day I get to play with my kids and spend time with my husband. And for me in this season with 3 young kids, its enough.

    • Crystal says:

      It sounds to me like you have your priorities in order. Keep it up and don’t be discouraged, okay? You’re focusing on what’s going to matter in 25 years — and you’re not going to regret that!

  • Jessica says:

    I’ve been getting up usually around 4:20 am every morning to take my dogs out. We breed & I have 6 dogs at this time. I decided to get up extra earlier to start working out. I don’t seem to have enough time during the day with kids & work and I go to bed at 8:30 pm. The last 2 weeks I’ve been getting up at 3:30 in order to get myself on the treadmill. I’ve decided to make it a goal to lose these 20 lbs officially this year and eat better. I have lost 4 lbs so far, but I am striving to keep it off and just do what I have to do in order to get this done.

  • Bri McKoy says:

    I so needed this post today! I have so much going on in my life and I was getting discouraged thinking I needed to let go of my passions vs. my responsibilities. But I think I just need to be more disciplined with my time and waking up early 🙂 Thanks so much, Crystal!

  • Girl, our time spent together was my favorite of the whole weekend. SO inspired by your 3 am editing time. Cheering you on! xoxo

    • Crystal says:

      You are so sweet! I just wish we could have had hours more!

      I’ll have to come crash one of your lunches with Angie in Nashville sometime. 🙂

  • Dana says:

    I’m definitely a bit of an early riser and a night owl too. I wake up at 5:30 on school days to get my older daughter off to school and me to work. I maintain getting more tasks accomplished in evening hours, most nights. Some nights I just crash. I also work out in the evening so that may give me bursts of energy. If I needed to wake up earlier than I already am to get work around the house done or anything else for that matter, that would be very short lived.
    I think it’s great that your husband is so supportive, you do a lot with take care of kids, your home, homeschooling, working and life!

  • Liz says:

    Crystal, congrats on getting up so early! My husband sometimes has to get up at around that time for work (normally he has to get up at 4:45, but sometimes earlier), so I have some feeling of how difficult it can be, but if you’re most productive in the morning, that’s the way to go!

    I’ve also been inspired by your wake-up challenge. Due to the fact that I’m a homeschooling mom of 5 littles and am currently expecting, my wake up time is much later (6:30), but I find that I’m able to get my exercise and a shower in before my other kids are asking for breakfast, which makes SUCH a difference in my energy levels and my outlook on the day.

    May God bless you and bless your editing effort!

  • Cassandra says:

    I get up at 4:00am. I fine that I can get more done in the morning then trying to stay up late. My family does not get up till 6:00am. I have 2 hours to clean, do 2 loads of laundry and make breakfast and lunches get ready for work and do what ever else need to be done. With working 2 jobs it helps me to get thing done in the morning. I feel like I accomplished a lot and I come home to a clean house. Now if I could just get in some freeze cooking I would be set. The lord will so me the way when I am ready.

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