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Thousands Swear By The “5 AM Club” Morning Routine: I Gave It A Go

Thousands swear by the morning routine in The 5 AM Club book. I gave it a go to see what all the fuss was about.
by Vanessa Gibbs | Apr 30 2024
Woman drinking coffee in urban cafe while looking outside, sunny reflections in window.

My morning routine has looked very different over the years. As a freelancer, I don’t have a set time I need to wake up. So, it’s easy to sleep in until 10 A.M. then pull my laptop into bed and start work the moment I open my eyes.

But, I also want to be the happiest, healthiest, most productive version of myself. So, I’ve also tried waking up early to go for a run, make a smoothie, and take a cold shower.

I’d yet to find the morning routine that worked for me until I saw The 5 AM Club being discussed on LinkedIn and decided to see what all the fuss was about.

Unlock A World Full of Possibilities With This Much Talked-About Morning Routine

The 5 AM Club is the bestselling book by Robin S. Sharma, a leadership coach, speaker, and advisor to the likes of NASA, Microsoft, and Nike.

The book is written as a fable, but the core message is Sharma’s advice to wake up at 5 A.M. and follow his 20/20/20 rule. That is: spend the first hour of your day doing 20 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of reflection, and 20 minutes of learning.

The routine is loved by thousands, and it’s said to transform your productivity, creativity, health, and happiness. I set my alarm for a painfully early 5 A.M. to see whether it’s worth the hype.

Get Everything You Need to Transform Your Mornings

On my first morning trying the routine, I wanted to know the details about what Sharma really had to say on the matter. I turned to the Blinkist app as the explainer of the book is only 22 minutes long. For my 20 minutes of learning, I dove into the very book that got me up so early in the first place.

Blinkist gathers the key ideas from nonfiction books and shares them in one bite-sized explainer you can read or listen to in about 15 minutes. Beyond The 5 AM Club, there are 6,500 titles in the app’s library across 27 categories like personal development, productivity, and psychology.

On my first morning, I got all the wisdom found in Sharma’s book and felt ready to apply it to my own life.

Here are three key ideas I learned from Blinkist’s explainer of The 5 AM Club.

1. You Need to Protect Your Limited Mental Capacity

We all have a limited mental capacity or cognitive bandwidth. And this can easily be taken up with work responsibilities, childcare duties, social media notifications, and all the errands we need to run.

We may have the best intentions to work out or read a chapter of a personal development book each day, but before we know it, our to-do lists have taken over and our cognitive bandwidth has been used up.

Getting up at 5 A.M., and focusing on the things that matter to us first thing without any distractions, stops this from happening.

2. Use Day Stacking to Improve One Skill by 1% Each Day

One hour a day doesn’t sound like much when you want to improve a skill, especially when you only spend 20 minutes of that hour reading and learning. But Sharma argues that a small amount of daily progress can add up.

This is what he calls “day stacking.”

If you aim to improve a skill by just 1% each day, over a year, these days will stack up and you’ll have improved by more than 300%.

“All change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.”
Robin S. Sharma.

3. Follow the 20/20/20 Rule

Waking up at 5 A.M. alone won’t transform your life. After all, you could just wake up and spend the extra time on social media or watching T.V. The 20/20/20 rule is what makes Sharma’s morning routine so powerful.

Sharma says you should spend 20 minutes on vigorous exercise, 20 minutes on reflection by meditating and journaling, and 20 minutes on growth by reading and learning.

He recommends this order, but, of course, you can customize the routine to suit your life and goals. The point is you get up early and spend an hour bettering yourself each day.

All this was learned on Blinkist in a matter of minutes. Here’s how the app works, and how you can add Blinkist to your morning routine as part of your 20 minutes of learning each day.

Level Up Your Mornings in 15 Minutes

Crafting the perfect morning routine? Building a new habit? Or want to see what the world’s most successful people do? It’s all been written about in books. But most of us don’t have the time to sit down and read through all of these books.

The Blinkist team gathers the most important messages from nonfiction books and shares them in bite-sized explainers.

These explainers take about 15 minutes to read or listen to, so they can fit into the busiest of schedules. And they can even be a part of your Sharma-recommended 20 minutes of reading and learning each morning. 5amclubtweet

Learn About Routines and Habits on the Go

Blinkist’s explainers are also available in audio form, so you can listen while making breakfast and getting ready in the morning, or listen and learn in other moments of your day, like on your commute, at the gym, or when running errands.

The team adds 70 new books each month, too, so if you make listening and learning with Blinkist part of your routine, there’ll always be something new to explore.

Beyond The 5 AM Club, you can dive into titles to transform your morning and everything else in your life. For example, Blinkist has explainers on James Clear’s Atomic Habits, which is all about habit formation, and Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans, which shares the routines of billionaires and top performers.

The app has helped so many add learning to their days that it’s been named a top 20 app for lifelong learning by none other than Apple.

Read or listen to Blinkist’s bite-sized explainers of 5,700 books.

30 Million Users Are Improving Their Mornings — and Lives

Blinkist has won awards from Google and the United Nations, and it’s been praised by The New York Times and The Guardian.

But — perhaps most impressively — it’s loved by 30 million users who turn to the app to learn new things and level up their lives.

Users have given the app 94,000 5-star ratings across app stores, too. And some of them have already made Blinkist a part of their mornings.


“I can’t put Blinkist down. An array of information and some truly excellent subjects with life-changing results!”
–5-star review
“Part of my morning routine is to read a few pages of a Blink. Learning and growing. It’s enjoyable.”
–5-star review


One of the World’s Best Apps for Building New Habits

Learn from these top books, and apply the learnings to your everyday life. You’ll be in good company if you do — 91% of Blinkist users say they’ve created better habits and 87% say they’ve made positive changes since using the app.


“As a productivity coach and one of a lifelong learner, I can’t tell you how happy I was to find Blinkist. If you enjoy nonfiction reading and are short on time, Blinkist will be your new favorite app.”
–Karen Trepte, HuffPost


Want to join The 5 A.M. Club? Check out Blinkist for yourself to learn more about the morning routine that thousands swear by in no time at all.

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