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5am – actually 4.45am is the time that my alarm goes off each wake day morning. Not because I have somewhere important or exciting to go to. Actually, correction; I do have somewhere exciting to go to – my kitchen table to start a new day of business. I love that time of the morning when it’s dark and most people are sleeping. I get a lot done and it is a great start to the day. I plan my diary in such a way that I don’t have anywhere to go to until at least 8.30am. I no longer schedule breakfast meetings – not because they are too early, but if I’m going to be scheduling an early meeting, the last thing I want to do is waste time by ordering food and eating during it.

I often get asked why I wake up so early. But why not? I love my job, I absolutely love what I do – and if I can create more time in the day to do it, then why would I not? I’ve trained myself to wake up at that time each morning that I often wake before my alarm goes off. It’s got a lot easier but it’s not always been that way. I now like the idea of doing two and a half hours work before I actually get to the office. Often, that time is worth more than two and a half hour because there are no interruptions or no calls disturbing me, so I get more done.

Waking up and making it productive doesn’t happen just by setting my alarm clock and making sure I’m out of bed. I make sure I get enough hours of sleep. When I talk about enough hours, often that’s about 5 hours. That’s enough for me – but I understand it’s not enough for everyone. I do believe sleep is important, but I just don’t find it easy to sleep and sleep and sleep – my mind is forever ticking. The night before, I write a to-do list specifically for the hours between 5am and 7.30am. This is so I know what to do when I hit my kitchen table in the morning. I’ll be honest, my mind isn’t always ticking as it usually is once I’ve had my first cup of caffeine. So when I have a to-do list, I find it easier to start working by following the list I’ve prepared. I also love the feeling of being awake and working whilst everyone else is sleeping. It’s such a lovely and peaceful time of day. Now between these hours I don’t always do actual work, I do some self-development work too and often that can be reading a book, watching a TED video, writing in a diary and even exercise. I always have a mixture of activities to do at the time and split it between personal stuff and actual work. I always time these activities just to make sure I don’t get carried away with them!

By just getting up at 5am, and doing two and a half hours of work a day, this equates to a day and a half of an average working day – without including weekends! I cram in a few more hours when I get home and at weekends too. I’ve got a long list of things I want to achieve and I won’t achieve it by just working from 9 – 5. It takes a lot of practice but it will soon become a habit and what’s more, you will start to enjoy that time.

Tips to get up at 5am;

- If you don’t usually wake up until 7am, then don’t put your alarm on for 5am – you’re setting yourself up for a failure. Start by going to be half an hour earlier and waking up half an hour earlier. Does this for a whole week and then for the next week adjust it by another half an hour.

- If you can put a motivating quote or note to appear when you’re alarm goes off, or even a post-it not on your phone that motivates you getting up earlier – it may just help! I used to do that in the early days.

- Have something to wake up for; Plan to work on something exciting, read a book you’ve always wanted to read or whatever it is you want to do before you start your normal working day. If you wake up tired with no idea what you’re waking up for then it’s not going to be productive. Having a to-do list or a checklist usually helps.

- If you have a lot on your mind, you may find it helps writing it down and that way, it is there for when you wake up and won’t keep you awake.

- If you find it difficult to drift off to sleep at an earlier time then it may help by playing an audio book. I feel an audio book helps me drift into sleep a lot quicker and easier and it’s like someone reading you a bedtime story. The beauty of it is that you have a timer so can have it only playing for a certain length of time.

If you need to fit more hours into your day then waking up makes sense. Just remember, take it slowly and it takes practice for it to become a habit! Let me know how you get on or drop me a line if you want to know more about it!

mayahNTA

Forget January being the most depressing month of the year, in showbiz world January is awards season. One of the biggest awards ceremonies of the year is the National Television Awards. So, I thought it would be a good idea to take some friends to the ceremony and not to be working but going there to enjoy the evening. I cannot think of a better way to rid any January blues, if there ever were any. It would be the first outing of the year and a glam one at that!

There were five of us going, and we started our day mid-morning by getting a train to London. My train journeys to London usually involve a lot of work for the two hours. This train journey consisted of no work but a lot of laughs – the two hours just flew. I never had such a laugh getting a cab but then I didn’t often travel with four other girls. When I got to the hotel, I had a meeting scheduled but that was fun too and made it into a lunch meeting! Straight after the meeting, we all got ready together and that’s always fun too. With five girls together, hair and make-up were taken care of. Usually the best part of the evening is the getting ready than the actual event. The cab journey in the London traffic was even fun, it helped we had a friendly and chatty driver.

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The awards were great – we had fab seats, and it was just a great atmosphere on the night. One thing I had about large venues and their seating arrangements is the actual seats and not getting enough leg room. As our seat were at the front of the row, we had more than plenty of leg room – wearing heels, we appreciated this. The show lasted for two and a half hours and throughout the evening, there was a fantastic atmosphere.

The worst part of the night was the fact that it was raining and our taxi driver couldn’t locate where we were, because he didn’t know where he was! So we were going around in circles trying to locate him, in the rain. So can you imagine five girls with no coats, in the rain – our glad rags and hair were soaked and we weren’t the best impressed.

The National Television Awards are open to the public too – if you’ve not been, it is definitely worth going to. It’s held at the O2 Arena, so wherever you’re sitting, you’re probably sure of getting a great view. Not many awards shows are ticketed, so if you can get to the O2 for next year, you’ll be in for a great treat!

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Goodbye January

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Oh January, what a month you have been; a mixture of good and bad!

We’re so drilled into thinking January is the most depressing month of the year. I wasn’t depressed this month – I was excited! Excited for the year ahead – I still am.

I woke up on the first day of the year in a hotel spa – not a bad way to start 2014! The only thing I had booked for the day was a 2 hour massage. It did me so much good being away on my own, doing the things I wanted and just stepping away from my life for a bit. I did a lot of reading, planning and thinking. 2013 hadn’t ended the way I wanted it but I was determined to start 2014 my way.

The first thing I did as soon as I got back – before I even got home was to see my friend Sharon. We had a great coffee catch up and planning the year ahead. It was definitely going to be a year of spending time with good friends, that’s for sure!

Sadly, as a family we did receive some bad news. My mum’s cousin had passed away, so that was a very sad time for the family because of how young he was and the circumstances surrounding his death.

The most exciting thing I had planned for January was going to the National Television Awards with some friends. I made sure it wasn’t going to be a work thing, but more of a social thing to take some friends along to. We had great seats and had such a brilliant time.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions but one thing I was adamant of doing this year is seeing my friends more and making time for them. Apart from the National TV Awards, I’m pleased to say I managed to meet 3 of my friends for dinner this week. I also got to schedule dinner and movies with my uncle (who is like a dad to me) – the movies didn’t happen because he was too tired. I also got to meet a Twitter friend too. I love meeting people from Twitter as I feel there are so many wonderful people I follow on Twitter and it’s actually good to meet them in the real world!

On the last day of the month, I am going to see my friend Kate to bid her goodbye as she leaves for her new life in Australia. I’m going with my friend Lizzie, so despite being exhausted, I am looking forward to ending the month with good friends!

What else I did this month:
• I bought a car
• A lot of business planning
• Booked myself onto something I find difficult and scary
• Bumped into an old friend on the way to work and she is now helping me with a personal endeavour
• Failed at something I wanted to achieve for a while but picked myself back up and facing it again in February

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