Everyday Feels Like Christmas

Tahoe-winterThe feeling is impossible to control. I just have to wake up by 6am every morning because life just feels too darn exciting! Do you remember the feeling during Christmas eve as a kid, where you were so excited you couldn’t sleep? You’d sneak down and wait in the middle of the night just to see if Santa was coming? While you waited, you also tried getting a sneak peak at your presents by pealing back each corner to see what you got! That was me. Forever mischievous and hopeful.

Somewhere in the middle of adolescence and adulthood, I lost that excitement. Perhaps it was the constant pressure of trying to do well in school so I could get a real job and not have to go back to McDonald’s. Anything was better than opening up McDonald’s at 6am for $3.25!

I recall dreading my 8am Calculus class during college. Surprise, surprise, I dropped the class and signed up for Golf III (advanced level baby) instead!  That was when I began to rekindle my excitement as a kid again. I was learning something I just loved, and couldn’t get enough.


As soon as I wake up, I can’t wait to check my e-mails to see what went on in the world. We sleep a quarter to a third of our lives away! Part of the reason why I’m looking to meet more people internationally is because they are up when the East Coast is sleeping.  As a result, I’ll get to interact more with people in the evenings during my free time.

There’s very little that makes me happier than building relationships. In fact, dare I say nothing makes me happier than the relationships we have with our family and friends? Money is nice, but money is even better when we can spend it on others to help make them happy.

Just the other day, I spent hours painting, caulking, and cleaning our rental apartment. I went out and bought a new shower head, fixed some fixtures, and even got the carpets professionally cleaned. All was worth it when my tenant came in and said, “Wow!” She was smiling from ear to ear, and commented on how sparkly everything looked. Now that’s gratifying! We got to talking about her life and her aspirations.


One of my stretch goals is to try and wake up the same time everybody wakes up on the East Coast (8am EST assumption = 5am PST), and go to bed three hours after them (assumption 12pm PST/3am EST). In essence, I’m trying to build in 3 more hours of time into my day.

Three hours more a day is 90 hours more a month to work on your projects, be them personal projects or work projects. Let’s say you can only stay awake for one more hour a day. Don’t you think you can still do amazing things with 30 extra hours a month? You bet your buns of steel you can!

There’s a large group of people out there who just love to sleep in, myself included! There’s something so special about hearing the alarm clock, and knowing it’s Saturday and you don’t have to get up. If you find something you just absolutely love to do everyday, you won’t need that alarm clock and will bounce right out of bed every single morning.


Practice waking up earlier for one hour a day, everyday for the next month. You might feel a little groggy in the beginning, but that will start to fade as you focus that extra hour on doing whatever it is you love. When you start seeing progress in your activity, you’ll discover that waking up early gets easier and easier until you just automatically get up!

Who knows, you might even move a mountain with just one hour extra a day once your life is over.

Have a fantastic Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Reflection 12/25/12: I wrote this post on 12/24/2010, a year and a half after launching this site. So much has happened in the past two years, but I’ve felt this way everyday since. I never thought I would be able to retire from corporate America just a year and a half later. 2010 was the year I was getting poached to join a new firm in a different city. The money they offered was tantalizing. Instead, I negotiated a counter offer with my existing firm because I wanted to hit the 10 year mark and finish my career with them in San Francisco. 

It’s amazing to find something you love to do. If it wasn’t for the 2008/2009 financial meltdown, I’d probably still be working in an industry that I no longer loved. It’s not the worst thing in the world to simply work for a paycheck, but it’s certainly nothing close to always waking up full of excitement. I encourage everyone to keep looking for that something which requires no alarm clock. Once you find it, figure out how to make it a part of your daily life. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can do!



Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

You can sign up to receive his articles via email or by RSS. Sam also sends out a private quarterly newsletter with information on where he's investing his money and more sensitive information.

Subscribe To Private Newsletter


  1. says

    I love blogging first thing in the morning..although the catholic guilt part of me says I should really be going down to the basement onto my trainer. I need a lot more sleep than my husband and it’s nice to be able to function on 5 hours.

    I did it for years in college while going to school full time and working. It felt like I spent 5 years in a hazy stupor. It definitely wasn’t ideal for me and I don’t want to go back there.

    It is scary how much time we waste though. I bet everyone has at least an hour a day that they could be doing something more productive with. This is a nice holiday post. Thanks

  2. says

    Sam, I looked back at this year and I realized that 2010 was a subpar year for me! I’m up enough (I have a short sleeping schedule too), but I don’t think I maximized my awake hours enough during the day!

    So part of my goal for next year is to maximize and optimize all the things that deserve my attention!

    As a child I did all that you mention above too. In fact, I would even sneak and open 1 present that I thought might be an electronic game… Then I would play it when I though everybody was asleep! That was great until I got busted. :(

    • says

      Hahaha, nice. I never got busted b/c I never got much of any presents. I think I got a comb once, and some books another. Can’t do much playing with those bad boys! Oh yes, lots of t-shirts too.

      2010 was your year that you went debt free! That’s a pretty damn huge accomplishment if you ask me!

  3. says

    I have found that I am more excited to get out of the bed these days too. However, if I got only 5 hours of sleep, I would be sick every day of the year. My immune system needs a certain amount of sleep it appears. I shoot for 7 hours and that seems to work. I live on the east coast though, so I accommodate no one! :)

    I would love if I could shift ‘up’ an hour. I would love to get up at 5:30 and get all my exercising in and then blogging, and then start on my part time job. Maybe if I had a trainer like Sandy has….

    • says

      East coast time bias! haha… OK, I will make it my mission next year to make sure America follows the WEST COAST time! PST is the standard time, please be aware from now on. When I say going to bed at midnight, that means 3am for you!

      Gonna get me a trainer too.. a one and two and three and four and…

  4. says

    “Christmas” started for me 10 years ago when I started teaching. The key is passion, I love my job! I look forward to go to work, but it doesn’t stop there. I think of lessons on the weekends. Since I started my blog, I feel the same passion! I probably spend 25-40 hours a week on it. This is only my fourth month! Rather than spending more time, I am trying to get more efficient.

  5. says

    What time do you go to bed Sam? I know that our melatonin levels are highest between the hours of 10pm to 12am.. I’ve been bad at sleeping past midnight, but I don’t wake up as early as you.. 6:45 or so is my earliest. As people get older, they don’t sleep as well (LOL I am NOT calling you old!) or need as much sleep.

    I remember the good ol’ days when I was a teenager and slept for 11 hours easily.

    I’m going to try going to bed earlier and waking up earlier now :)

    Merry Christmas!!

    • says

      I go to bed around midnight to 1am, but sometimes like 4-5am if I’m working on something or playing poker :) What does high melatonin do for you?

      Thanks for calling me old. Appreciate it! haha. It’s OK, I refer to myself as an old man all the time in my posts.

      Have a good Xmas!

  6. says

    Super post, Sam, and I agree. I need more sleep than you (7 to 8 hours) but I never set alarm clocks and hop out of bed, provided I’m happy.

    It’s *always* a problem in relationships. I’ve never met a women who didn’t want to sleep 11 hours given the chance, and I assume women like me find most men the same.

    People who are happy going to bed but just as happy hopping out are rare. Those that can actually function in the first hour of the day are rarer still!

    Still, maybe it all adds up to say I should be a newspaper delivery boy. ;)

    • says

      Ha! I think delivery boy is a declining service thanks to the internet. That’s an interesting theory about one’s woman always wanting to sleep in more than the man. Maybe you are right… hmmmmmmmmm.

      Because I don’t use an alarm, I don’t have a snooze. So basically, as soon as I wake up, I’m ready to go!

      Happy holidays.

    • says

      Monevator, I can honestly say that I don’t even like the thought of sleeping for 11 hours a day. Granted I’m a guy, and each person is different obviously. the reason that I can’t imaging sleeping that long is because if I do sleep 8-9 hours overnight, I have to have a power nap at least 2 times throughout that day just because I feel extra tired.

      Hope you and your family had a great holiday!

  7. Charlie says

    Nice post. I’m a little better about getting up earlier this year over last. I admit I have to set an alarm though or I could easily sleep until 9, 9:30 on the weekends. I’m hoping that the older I get the less sleep my body will want!! Hey and great job with that song! That’s awesome

  8. says

    Ever since I started blogging/my training regimen of kickboxing/weights a few years ago, I absolutely love to wake up early. The gym is soo empty, Twitter is dead, everyone is sleeping and I get to to work away!If I’m ever extremely exhausted there’s nothing like a quick nap hour nap in the afternoon to boost your energy back up. I just feel while I’m sleeping I’m missing out on something.

    The only time I enjoy sleeping in is after a night of heavy drinking. With my birthday coming up on Sunday don’t expect to see me up early Monday morning lol!

    • says

      Good work MD! That’s sweet you have the blogging and exercise training regimen tied together. That will go a long way towards balance and sanity!

      Last time I drank heavily was…. I can’t remember! haha.

      Hope you have a good birthday!

  9. says

    I’m trying to get in the habit of waking up, then going to the gym for an hour a few times a week — it hasn’t been working, but I’m going to keep trying. Part of it, is I’m a bit of a night owl, for no real reason — when work starts back up for the new year, I’ll try to get into this routine for good.

  10. Patrick says

    You would have loved the military Sam, you get up early everyday! For ten years I was up every morning before 6am to exercise and besides hating getting up I always felt great after the work out.

    Now that I am a civilian I don’t get up as early, but I still get up early enough to get in a quick work out before having breakfast with the kids and seeing them off to school. I agree that everyone has time they could use more efficiently and if we could tap just a portion of that time there is no telling to what amazing things we might accomplish.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    • says

      Dear Patrick, I think I would not love the military :) I believe if I was forced to get up by 6am, my instincts would automatically kick in to NOT want to wake up then! lol.

      That’s great you are still waking up early enough to exercise before sending the kids off to school!

      Merry Christmas!

  11. says

    Sam, you have the winning edge – that desire to get up early and go to bed late because life and what you are doing excites you so much. After all I’ve studied, this one factor is one of the main separator’s between contenders and pretenders.

    • says

      Thanks Jeremy. You too man. I like the thoughts that have been swirling around in your head that you’ve put down on your blog. You should definitely do several more guest posts on other sites to get your name out there. I think others will really enjoy what you have to say!

  12. says

    I love to get up early in the morning! It seems I am able to get so much more done in the first few hours of the day and I love the peace and quiet too. ( Luckily, no rabbits to disturb me ) Great post, definitely generates a level of excitement and enthusiasm about what to do with an extra hour a day.

  13. says

    early to bed, early to rise, keeps a man healthy, wealthy, and wise . . . “Napoleon Hill” I believe?

    My body clock is set to be up by 6am, no matter what time i go to bed. sometimes i feel the fatigue the next day but most days i do not. i attribute it to conditioning/exercise and diet.

    here is another fact (maybe self proclaimed) by drill sergeants in the army: a soldier gets more done by noon than most people do in an entire day. a solider is usually up by 4am

    • says

      It’s funny you should say this last line Sunil. In my quest to work a maximum of 4 hours a day now and stop by 12noon, I’ve found myself cheating and starting work earlier and earlier but finishing at noon as well b/c I just can’t help it!

      Happy Holidays!

  14. says

    I screwed my sleep pattern recently but after my friend is gone (she is visiting for a week next week) I plan to really hammer down on the routine and start getting my 40mins-1.5hours exercise a day in before 9:30 every morning rather than at random times like I am now. There is nothing better than coming to 3 in the afternoon and realising everything planned (work wise) is done for the day but that hasn’t been me in recent weeks….. I will get back though.

    You should read Tim Ferris 4 hour work week and 4 hour body, I think you would appreciate his approach to efficiency.

  15. says

    Merry Christmas, Sam! Indeed, life becomes a fun play once you start having power to say ‘No’ to things you don’t like to do; I am still working but I have that power, so I decide what I want to do instead of allowing my circumstances to force me doing things I hate.

    My pal Jim Collins often talks about ‘FU money'; even if you are not retired, having a good stash of money can do wonders. You won’t need alarm clock ever again!

  16. says

    Sorry Sam, I prefer to wake up at 4:30-5am EST and go to bed around 11-11:30pm.
    I used to be able to get by on only 4 hours of sleep each night, but now it’s got to be 5-6 hours a night that I need to sleep.

    Of course if I started exercising again (which would be the first time in about 6-7 years), I might be able to handle only 4-5 hours of sleep each night.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

      • says

        Yep, entirely natural. I set the alarm every day, but about 9 out of 10 business days I wake up before the alarm goes off.

        Yes, I should be exercising more than I do, and thanks for the concern. :-)

        Even with the lack of exercise, I still maintain my weight at or below 170lbs (which isn’t bad for a person who is just about 6′ tall.

        I’m seriously considering starting to workout at a local gym with the start of the New Year, once I find out what the cost is and if they will be open early enough for me to get to work at 6am.

        Happy New Year to you as well!!!

  17. says

    Finding what get’s one excited about life is important and some of us often lose sight of that too often. I like the waking up an hour early idea. One of my biggest problems however is I wake up don’t actually get out of bed because I don’t want to get up and get dressed. If only I can turn that 10-20 minutes of laziness into something productive lol. Happy Holidays Sam.

  18. says

    i’m only getting a few hours of sleep, but mostly because of a waking baby :)

    I like the idea of building in another hour to the day. As others have suggested, exercise will help building the energy needed to get by on less sleep, and is something that is lacking from my day.

    I’m still working on finding that one thing that gets me up at 5am, not quite there. Blogging is getting close, as well as learning about free travel on credit card rewards. SO MUCH INFORMATION!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *