Sanil Sachar, co-founder and partner at Huddle, a co-working space and incubator, wakes up at 5.30am every day. He says it’s only after he has had his first sip of coffee, that his day really gets started.
Sachar, 26, says he started waking up early in 2017, when he was writing his book, Rebound. That year, he hit the dreaded “writer’s block" and was unhappy with most of what he was writing. He would often stay up till fairly late to write, but one day, on a whim, to break out of this writer’s block, he started waking up 30 minutes before his usual time of 6am. This worked as the sudden change in environment, filled him with a newfound energy, and he could write again. “Then it almost became a superstitious act of sorts, and I decided to wake up slightly earlier each time to continue the writing," he says.
This was a critical moment because Sachar ended up rewriting most of the book in the last 50 days before print, despite having toiled over it for past two years. “This experience taught me the importance of writing with a fresh mind, and completely changed the dynamic of how I write, besides changing my day’s timetable," he says.
The second reason was that around this time, Sachar was in a relationship. Waking up early also gave him a chance to do FaceTime with his partner. “Being able to make these calls made my mornings great," he says.
Sachar keeps this routine for most of the week barring Sundays. Though, even on Sundays, he wakes up early because his body clock is attuned to waking up early. He, however, lazes in bed for a little longer.
Waking up early gives Sachar time with himself. This way, he says, he is able to see the day beginning in front of him. “One of my favourite books Make Your Bed by admiral William H. McRaven mentions that in the navy you need to make your bed as the first task of the day, just so you can get the feeling of having accomplished a task. I identify with that, and when I do some concrete writing by getting up early, I feel more capable of doing lots more through the rest of the day," he says.
For Sachar, the preparation begins the night before. His clothes for the next day, from workout gear to work wear is all laid out before he goes to sleep. He also grinds coffee beans and keeps them ready in the French press by his bed. “I’ve learned this technique of preparing for the next day as then, I can create my daily to-do list and categorize their importance just as I wake up. After that, it’s just about working through all of them," he says.
His first task every day is an exercise that he likes to call “my minute". He starts writing, not typing on a phone or laptop but with a traditional old-fashioned pen, and continues writing whatever comes to mind for one minute. He looks at the watch to see when he starts and only stops when he feels a minute is up. “This exercise is a pivotal warm up for me. The point is to get the momentum going. It doesn’t matter if I’m doing it right or wrong. The completion of the task reminds me (every day) that we need to put in the effortand not focus on the outcome," he says.
Sachar admires people like Warren Buffet, who he says, are early risers too. Even Akshay Kumar, who I see more of a sportsperson than just an actor, posts about his early morning routine, and I really admire that," he says. Sachar saves articles from the day before to read in the morning, be it on Medium or news apps.
The waking hours
Waking up early, Sachar thinks, is a fantastic feeling. Just seeing the day turn to light and when most are asleep, you have the world just to yourself, before the traffic sounds begin to stream in. He plans to continue this routine, as he is writing his next book, and feels this early start helps him get some extra time free at the end of the day to unwind and zone out.
The Morning Diary traces leaders to see how they manage their time after waking up early.