Why I get up at 5 AM

Before I switched jobs, I had trouble sleeping.  Constant stress kept me from having a good night’s sleep.  I’d usually wake up around 5, putter around on the computer, and then head to work around 7:30 or so.  On some occasions I would wake up at 3:30 or 4 AM and not be able to get back to sleep. But come the end of the day, or about an hour before it, I was just drained.

Now with my new job, I normally get up at 5 AM.  True, my morning routine takes a little bit longer because I have to put on a suit and pack a lunch, but it doesn’t take that much time.  By the end of the day, I’m fine.

What’s different?  My motivation. Instead of stress waking me up, it’s instead the desire to do things.  At my new job, I’m not tied to a non-compete. I can do things during my personal time that belongs to me.  I have a desire to do things.  Working on apps is a great side hobby for me.  There are no committees, no design document discussions, no build deadlines.  I’m the first and final authority.

For finding time, Amie suggested I get up at 5 AM like was suggested in Jon Acuff‘s Quitter book.  Now, if you read that book, that’s for transitioning to your dream job.  I’ll be upfront and say that I don’t plan and leaving my job to start my own app company.  I enjoy where I’m working.  But what I want to do is position myself to be able to advance to the positions I want to be in within my current company.  The positions where I can innovate and make a big difference for the industry. That does take work.  Of course, that’s not my sole motivation. If I sold enough apps to pay my cell phone bill, that’d be awesome. If I can provide apps that help people function more efficiently, that’s wonderful.

This morning Jon hosted an event called “5 Club”. Since I’m not in Tennessee, I attended online.  It was fun. I set some goals for myself for 2013.

  1. Gain a larger online following.  You’ll notice I’ve been writing on the blog with increased frequency.  One reason is that I’m hilarious (as least Amie and the girls think so) and it’s been a fun outlet.  Plus, with the apps, I have more to talk about and promote.  Now, talking to an audience of none isn’t as fun.  I didn’t say “no fun” because even if no one reads what I say, I sometimes still laugh at it.  But having some sort of audience is helpful for whatever I decide to do in the future.  It’s also great motivation to encourage myself to provide quality content, whether that’s blog posts, apps, or something to be named later.
  2. Write more apps. Every time I write an app and I do something new, that gives me more knowledge on how to do a particular task.  By doing this, I’m building a toolbox.  This allows me to build apps more quickly once I’ve done something the first time. Therefore, I gain momentum. Already, there have been a few occasions where I’ve been able to crank out a prototype app over the weekend or evening because of my previous work. It’s great to have someone be able to walk into your office, throw an idea at you, and be able to walk into their office the next morning and show them an app.  In 2013, I’m going to continue to write more apps and put them into Google Play.  Right now my backlog of ideas is 17 apps.  Will I make them all? Probably not. Some ideas might be incorporated elsewhere, but I will most definitely get more ideas.
  3. Fill in my skills gaps.  You notice how my apps are mostly simplistic graphics?  Well, there’s two reasons for that.  The first one is that my apps focus a lot on managing information.  Most of this information is text.  The second is that I’m really bad at graphics. Making the icons for my apps is sometimes a large majority of my time.  I’m also not that good at web design.  I used to be up to speed on web programming, but I didn’t do much after college for a long time.  My web skills stayed at the late 90’s/early 2000’s level.  For technology, that’s not good.  So also in 2013, I’m going to try to fill in those skill gaps. I don’t use them as an excuse to avoid doing things.  I will work around those issues if possible.  But rather than working around, I would like to just plow through them and conquer them.

So that’s what I’m trying to do for 2013.  What about you?

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