What would you do with an extra hour in your day to focus on anything at all?
Getting up with sunrise might be a practice commonly associated with uber-successful billionaires, but Emily Davidson and the 5:30 Club are bringing a taste of the ‘hour of power’ to Canberra.
No matter how wet, cold or dark it might be outside, at least some of the crew will show up at the crack of dawn at Eighty/Twenty Food in Braddon to work on side projects, chat and bounce ideas off one another.
Some of the members are working on TikTok scripts, or a business plan for launching a creative hub for the BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of colour) community in Canberra. Others use the time to study for their Master’s or read – things which get relegated to the back of minds once life and work gets busy.
Emily launched the 5:30 Club in Canberra after learning about the Sydney group in January this year.
“Some mornings I work on planning yoga classes that I teach to kids, or work on my children’s book that I’ve been meaning to write for years,” she says.
“But, look, I’ll be the first to admit there are other days when we just simply chat.”
Other members of the group attest to this.
Yanina Clifton, an emergency department doctor who uses her time to work on launching a YouTube poetry channel, says the ideas they bounce off one another are equally as important as everything else.
“If you work in a job where you see the same people again and again, it’s so great to be able to make new connections,” she says.
“It’s also about meeting people you simply wouldn’t see otherwise in your daily life.”
Emily is also keen to dispel the notion that we’re programmed to be either morning people or night people.
She found that working from home during COVID-19, in 2020, she began to lose a bit of her motivation and productivity.
But even when she decided to try getting up early, nothing worked – whether that was setting an alarm that couldn’t turn off until she walked 20 steps, putting her clothes for the morning in a pile, or even asking other people to wake her.
She soon found the alarm clock turned off equally as well if you walked 10 steps to the alarm and then the other 10 steps back to bed.
Likewise, the pile of clothes remained there as she snoozed, and when people asked her if she wanted to get up, she’d just say ‘no thanks’.
However, the 5:30 Club provides some accountability.
“I know that every morning there are these fabulous humans waiting for me to talk to, and that gets me there on time,” says Emily.
Yanina says she also experienced this firsthand during three weeks off following an exam period when she couldn’t find work.
“If I wasn’t getting up and coming here, the temptation is really just to stay in bed until 11:00 am or even midday,” she says. “Once you start scrolling, it’s easy to stay like that.”
There were a couple of false starts, including a day when Yanina just couldn’t get up.
“The next day, I was running late and I expected all of these super productive people to judge me,” she says. “But I decided to rock up anyway and see what it was all about. Turns out, no-one judged me.”
The Canberra 5:30 Club actually meets at 6:00 am every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning at Eighty/Twenty Food in Braddon.
Everybody is welcome, and all you’ll need to do is look out for the girl with the pink llama on her table.