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Last week, Channel NewsAsia reported that Singaporean commuters working in the city area would be able to enjoy another year of free MRT rides under the Free Pre-Peak Travel scheme.

For the uninitiated, the scheme basically gives those who tap out of the MRT station before 7:45am on weekdays a free ride. Those who tap out before 8am would also get 50cents off their fare.

The programme, however, only covers 18 designated stations in the city area, including Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar, Bugis and Outram Park.

smart travel
Image Credit: LTA

First launched in June 2013, the scheme aims to get Singaporeans to ‘Travel Smart’, and enjoy a more comfortable commute due to fewer passengers squeezing alongside a crowded train. According to Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo, around 65,000 commuters use the scheme every day, and a reduction of 7% commuters during the morning peak period was observed.

To encourage workers to utilise the scheme and get to the workplace earlier, some companies, such as logistics firm Santa Fe, have installed shower facilities with personal lockers while insurance agency Allianz provides breakfast vouchers.

To Singaporeans, Sleeping In > Savings On Transport

While the scheme does sound great in theory, a report on Saturday proved otherwise, with a reported 35 out of 40 respondents not feeling the urge to change their routine in spite of the savings.

Said Mr Daryl Tan, 23, “Sacrificing one hour of sleep is not worth saving the $1.50 on my fare.”

The fear of “appearing to outdo colleagues” and having “no work to do” were reasons cited, and the Asian work culture that “glamourises working late” also results in employees leaving their office at later hours anyway.

While a sufficient amount sleep is definitely important not only for your mental wellbeing but also your health, there are definitely perks to sleeping, and waking up early.

Here are 7 highly successful individuals and their wake up times, and a peek into how they maximise that extra hour of being awake.

1. Michelle Obama, 4:30am

Image Credit: thedailybeast
Image Credit: thedailybeast

We start off with current First Lady of the United States, the very well-put-together Michelle Obama.

The 52 year-old revealed to popular talkshow host Oprah Winfrey that she gets up at 4:30am to exercise after realising that her “happiness is tied to [how she feels about herself]”, and would even feel “depressed” without getting her heartbeat pumped up each morning.

Being the mother of two teenage daughters, she also sees the importance in setting a positive example for them to look up to. “I want my girls to see a mother who takes care of herself, even if that means I have to get up at 4:30 so I can do a workout.”

Waking up at such an early hour especially with a busy schedule is definitely not easy, but she credits a healthy amount of self-awareness and willpower in achieving her goal.

“Well, I just started thinking, if I had to get up to go to work, I’d get up and go to work. If I had to get up to take care of my kids, I’d get up to do that. But when it comes to yourself, then it’s suddenly, “Oh, I can’t get up at 4:30.” So I had to change that.”

Want to work out like Michelle Obama? Check out her exercise video and try to keep up.

2. Jack Ma, 6:00-7:00am

Our favourite e-commerce mogul is (surprise, surprise) on this list too!

With meteoric success of Alibaba probably leading to sleepless nights and cups of coffee at the office, Jack Ma still holds his (wife, son and daughter) close to his heart, waking up at 6 to 7am to steal some family time, and keep his spirits up in the face of stress and criticism.

To him, happiness and satisfaction is his key to the running of the Alibaba empire, and was quoted saying: “I try to make myself happy, no, because I know that if I’m not happy, my colleagues are not happy and my shareholders are not happy and my customers are not happy.”

He is also a regular practitioner of Tai Chi, and has stated that runs his business with its philosophy.

“Keep calm, and you will find a way out. Competition is interesting. Business is not a battlefield. It’s not necessary that I will be alive after you die”.

3. Jack Dorsey, 5:30am


CEO of social media giant Twitter and Square, to say Jack Dorsey is busy is an understatement.

Another believer of morning exercise to start the day, he is said to wake up at 5:30am for meditation and a 9.6km run. In an interview with New York Magazine, he also reveals that he takes some time each day to wander around the city aimlessly, possibly to clear his mind before stepping back into the game.

Simplicity, and clarity does seem to be reflected in the Twitter model as well, with an interface that takes “short and sweet” to another level with a relentless character count limit.

“My goal is to simplify complexity. I just want to build stuff that really simplifies our base human interaction.”

Well, whatever he’s doing is definitely working, with the 39 year-old’s net worth standing at a whooping US$1.43 billion at time of writing.

4. Elon Musk, 7:00am


The closest we can get to comic book favourite Iron Man, Elon Musk wear many hats as CEO and CTO of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors; co-founder and chairman of SolarCity, co-chairman of OpenAI; co-founder of Zip2; and co-founder of PayPal.

In a feature on OWaves, Musk is revealed to wake up at a relatively sensible 7am, but his morning routine is much simpler – a shower to wake him up before heading off to work. To keep himself fuelled throughout the day, he downs 2 to 4 cups of coffee, a far cry from his previously horrifying habit of over 8 cups of Diet Cokes and several large cups of coffee.

With a simple, yet functional “Never give up” as his personal motto, the entrepreneur/engineer/investor/inventor has far exceeded his fictional counterpart.

5. Howard Schultz, 4:30am

Image Credit: Getty Images
Image Credit: Getty Images

Perhaps as a testament to his company, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is another (way too) early riser.

The mecca of both corporate executives and prepubescent teenage girls, Schultz took over the company in 1987 and has since then brought the brand from 6 shops within Seattle, Washington to the present 23,768 outlets worldwide.

He has revealed that he gets up at 4:30am every morning to walk his dogs, work out and sometimes takes bike rides with his wife. Not surprisingly, he then makes coffee for his wife and himself at around 5:45am.

His favourite technique and type of bean? An 8-cup Bodum French Press with a coarse grind of aged Sumatra beans.

6. Tory Burch, 5:45am


The brains behind popular designer brand Tory Burch goes by the same name, and is reported to wake up at 5:45am every day. Making it big in the fickle fashion industry is no simple feat, but Burch expanded the brand to over 160 outlets worldwide in 12 years, and is still going strong.

Not just a businesswoman and designer, Burch is also a philantrophist, and started the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009, “which supports the economic empowerment of women in the US through small business loans, mentoring and entrepreneurial education”.

Famously saying “My biggest challenge every day is to be a great mother and a great businesswoman”, the 50 year-old starts off her day by checking her work emails, waking her sons up for school and taking 45 minutes to exercise before heading to work.

7. Barack Obama, 6:30am


Just like his wife, President of the United States Barack Obama is also an advocate of early morning gym.

According to Time, after waking up at around 6:30am, he heads to the gym for some cardio and weight training, before having breakfast with his wife and 2 daughters. Running an international superpower is no mean feat, but Obama doesn’t make any excuses for himself in getting some exercise done. A habit he cultivated since he was 22, Obama works out at the gym six days a week and doesn’t miss any sessions.

Perhaps it is this resilience and stamina that has kept him standing strong in spite being under tremendous stress running the United States, which constantly has the world’s eyes on them.

Are You Convinced?

While getting to the office early might still an unattractive prospect to many, you can actually have your cake and eat it!

Here’s our suggestion – take the pre-peak train and use that extra one hour before work for a leisurely healthy breakfast, or some time at a nearby gym. In that way you can save that $2 fare and start your day off by getting your heart racing (in a good way).

What are your wake up times and morning routines? Let us know! -Vulcan Post

Categories: Lifestyle, Entrepreneur

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)