Four O’clock in the morning Day 139

Blog May 20, 2014

19 May 2014.

“Four in the morning”

The hour from night to day, 
The hour from side to side
The hour for those past thirty
Wislawa Szymborska

“It’s friend you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter"
Marlene Dietricht


Today I woke up at 4 in the morning and I am writing this at 5 o’clock in the morning. The sky is blue already, and there is no other sounds except a very occasional car sound and bird chirping.
I am sleepy, my eyes are still swollen, and I would give everything to get back  to my warm blanket. Instead I prepared a whole big cup of tea to make me awake. 

I am trying to do this because I realise I have a problem. I feel that my day is only 10 hours rather than 24 hours a day.

Consider this: In off day, I woke up at 11, drink my coffee with a lot of milk, having breakfast, showering before any activity, be it writing, studying dutch or making my portfolio, and by then, I started my day at 2 PM. Where at 3 PM I will have my lunch, and then at 5 PM I will cook for my dinner. This entails not only that I finish my day at usually around 1 o’clock at night, but also big probability that I will repeat my groggy morning, and the willingness to kill just anyone who are appear to my eyes before 10.  

Now that I have finished my portfolio and I can concentrate to write again, I decided to wake up early and sleep early. As early as riding my bunk bed at 10 PM, and rising up at 4 AM.

It is not an easy business for me to wake up early. I am not a morning person. I have a lot of complain in my whole life about my hog-like sleeping habit.

One of them, When I was living in Amsterdam Noord with 4 other housemates. I was setting my alarm clock at 6 o’clock in the morning intended to run in the morning. After it rang beside my ear, instead it wakes me, it awakes Alex, one of my roommate whose room is across the hall. He end up waking me to turn of that god damn alarm. 

It also happen in my first week in Islamic boarding school where I was living with 20 people in one room. I set my alarm at 2:00 to pray Tahajjud. It awakes everyone but me. Not a good start to make a friendship.

Why is 4 AM?, I am not sure. Back then when I was studying at Islamic Boarding school, I have to wake up around 3:45 everyday to pray Subuh. I thought if could do it when I was 11, I could do it now.

Also there is this mystical urban legend about 4 O’clock in the morning, a TED talk by Rives about obsession with 4 a.m where I got those awesome poem and quote above.

So i decide to do en experiment to wake up at 4 in the morning everyday for 7 days. Yes, only a week starting this monday. and we will see how this experiment goes. 

Day One

It feels weird when I am ready to sleep with my kindle in my bed at 9:30 PM not to mention that the sun still shining outside. 

My body tells my brain that according previous occurrence, it is not the time to sleep yet. My brain keep telling me 
“it’s useless to try to sleep this early, and you haven’t finish your homework and writing. Go back to work!“

“No, I have to sleep early” I said to my self

I keep staying at my bed, continuing reading A.J Jacobs and hoping to get sleepy soon. 2 hours later, my brain gave up and I slept.

Beside my bad, 5 alarm ready to blare at 3:00, 3:30, 3:45, 4:00, 4:30.

Not as plan, I woke up at 4:41. good enough, but not impressive I must say. I make my self big cup of tea and force my self to sit in my writing table and write.

To be honest, after mid day, I feel great. I feel that I have time to do everything that I need to do. I feel I have get back my my days in 24 hours. Although I feel that I still can improve those waking time. 

I did write a little bit. but I also procrastinate in various forms. I wander in the internet, reading things I did not plan, making my other full cup of tea, organising my table, looking for the right pen, looking for pencil and eraser, and little bit of nap, well, nearly an hour nap between 9:30 until 10:30. I also do some jog around Utrecht to add the procrastination list.

End of the day one

I felt a bit bad about those procrastination. But looking at it again now, I think I shouldn’t feel that bad. I did write my first draft of this piece. I end up lost and excited about new website I found,, finding new experiment for tomorrow (on how will I tame this procrastination), doing a research for tomorrow’s project (Pomodoro Technique), got books recommendations and downloaded it, watch couple of TED Talks and u99, I run for half an hour, I lift my kettle bell, I went to my dutch class, I had a nap.

At the end, what strikes me the most is that I feel that I reclaim back my 24 hours in a day, I feel less suffocated by limited time I have, I feel more in control of my time and the best thing, is the feeling after working for four hours, and it is still 9 o’clock in the morning and I am ready for my nap.

All that mentioned,  I still have couple of things that I can improve, such as how to be less procrastinate, and how to maintain this new waking system.

I guess It’s okay. I did not expect to master everything in one day, in one go. Besides anyone who can do that in monday and not being homeless and dead of hunger should be grateful.
and I do.

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