Waking Up Early: A Crash Course for Software Engineers


What is The 5 AM Club?

  1. 20 minutes of intense exercise
  2. 20 minutes goal setting
  3. 20 minutes learning a new skill

Benefits of the 5 AM Club

  1. Achieve your career goals: in my own experience, I leveraged the 5 AM Club to achieve my career goals. In 2020, I was a humble Senior Front-end Engineer; a year later, I became a Lead Front-end Engineer and, one year after that, an Associate Director of Front-end Engineering. This was a choice I made, dedicated to my career. Luckily, good fortune came into play, but I used my early morning hours to go the extra mile at work, and it paid off.
  2. Balance your personal life: not everything in life is about work. Your health, relationships and family are just as important. I don’t have kids, but I have a committed relationship with my partner, two dogs to look after, and a house to run. You can use the early hours to spend time with your partner, exercise together, take the dogs for a walk, and plan travel/life goals.
  3. Learn a new skill: another great way to leverage the 5 AM Club is to spend time learning new skills. Whether that’s a new programming language, a new library or a tech stack, even dedicating an hour a day to learning something new that will help your career or personal life can take you very far and make you more valuable in your position.
  4. Increase productivity and efficiency: as I had focused on my career, waking up before everyone else allowed me to get a jump start on my day. I would deliver project requests or feedback before anyone had even woken up. Code reviews were done before my colleagues were awake, and I could solve difficult bugs in solitude. Trust me; this makes project managers love having you on their team and makes you stand out as an overachiever.
  5. Improve your health: you can also dedicate the early hours to improving your health. Coupled with intermittent fasting, you can get a head start on weight loss, exercise, planning meals or researching healthy alternatives. In my experience, it allows me to catch waves or run 10km without feeling the pressure of needing to be available on Slack.
  6. Start a side hustle: software engineers have a tremendous competitive edge over many would-be entrepreneurs — they can build and execute websites or applications for free! This makes starting a side hustle easy enough if you have a great idea. The other problem is time, which the 5 AM Club solves. Consistency is key; dedicating an hour or two a day to your side hustle can pay huge benefits in the long run.

Breaking Old Habits




Associate Director of Front-end Engineering at 10up.com | Writer | Traveller | Surfer

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Daine Mawer

Associate Director of Front-end Engineering at 10up.com | Writer | Traveller | Surfer