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Friday, May 14, 2021

Early birds ‘win the day’ at Canberra’s new 5:30am Club

Canberra photographer Emily Davidson wasn’t always a morning person, she tried all sorts of different alarms to help her hop out of bed in the past, including asking friends to call her mobile first thing in the morning.

That changed when she founded The 5:30am Club Canberra, inspired by the first iteration of the early morning coworking trend that began in Sydney and has since spread to major cities along the east and south coasts of the continent.

Rising before the sun three days a week, the Canberran club meets at Braddon café Eighty/Twenty for an ‘hour of power’ from 6am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

It’s free to attend and there’s no need to RSVP or commit to attending every meeting – show up when it suits and look for the table with a toy llama called Kuzco and a sea of laptops, pens and paper.

Miss Davidson said the club has grown steadily since it kicked off in the first week of January 2021, attracting people from different walks of life who share a common desire to reclaim a few hours of the week to do something they care about.

“What I find is that when I’ve been to The 5:30am Club, I’m on a high for the rest of the morning and that flows onto the rest of the day as well,” she said.

“If you start your day off on a positive foot then you’re going to have a good day.”

A fluffy llama wearing a pink hat on the table at The 5:30am Club
First time attendees of The 5:30am Club Canberra are advised to look out for a plush llama, a mascot that has travelled the world with founder Emily Davidson. Image: Kerrie Brewer

Miss Davidson said club attendees focused on whatever took their fancy, be it journaling, reading, studying, or catching up on emails.

“There’s no age limit, you don’t have to be in a particular industry or anything like that.

“I think as long as you’ve got a positive attitude and you want to be there then that’s all you need.”

At the moment, Miss Davidson is concentrating on building the social media presence of her photography business, and in the future, she wants to use club hours to start work on a children’s book.

“It’s just amazing to have time to focus on that!

“I found that during our lockdown it was great, I was able to do all these things that I wouldn’t have time for otherwise.

“And then when we went back to ‘real life’ I guess I really missed having that.”

In between focused work, the crew orders a steady supply of hot drinks and smoothies and get to know one another.

Miss Davidson said the club was a “mixed bag” and most were strangers before it began, yet they all felt connected despite their differences.

“One person is launching a start-up at the moment, one is working on their studies, another just loves to read.”

With more than a dozen clubs across Australia, Miss Davidson is looking forward to attending different meet-ups when she travels.

“It already feels like quite a big community, even though it’s our own little communities in each city, it’s a nationwide thing.

“So it feels really homely which is really nice, there’s been a lot of support.”

Miss Davidson said she’d learned that no matter what hour the alarm went off it was still “a bit of a shock”, but the serenity of early mornings with The 5:30am Club made it worth it.  

“Our motto is ‘Win the morning, win the day.'”

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