As for what works and what doesn't, I have to say that letting work get in the way is a big mistake. That time in the morning is 'me' time, which will help me improve myself and benefit others in my life. The problem is when coming to a pause while writing in my blog, I often check my email. More often than not, there is something urgent that needs to be attended to. I know, I could just not check my email, but that is not the full story. When I started grad school I was my adviser's first student, and it remained that way for about two years. Now there are at least three other people in the lab besides myself, with the same amount of equipment. If I wake at 5am and immediately get started in the things I want to do, such as yoga, meditation, reading, writing, and cooking, I will not get to work until 9:30am. Not bad, but by that time other people in the lab have arrived and want to start doing work. I don't want to get in anyone's way, nor do I want to delay my work until the afternoon. Also, if I arrive that late to work, I will not have time to work out at the gym.
Given that urgency and finite resources are major issues, the best solution for me is to wake up early, meditate, do yoga and promptly get to work, and finish my day early. Then I can come home and cook, read, blog- do what I want. It is a business before pleasure approach. I know the key is to be flexible, but I will post a tentative schedule to try and stick to on the weekdays.