I have learned two things in life. Number one, I am not a morning person. Number two, I’m more productive if I get up early in the morning. This paradox both confuses and confounds me. I could stay up till 3:00 a.m. and sleep till noon and be perfectly happy. However, I’d also lose my job, which would make me unhappy.
I’m happier when I get up early
After years of saying “I’d like to write a book someday”, I published my first book this past January. How did I do it while holding down a full time job and serving as a caregiver to my elderly mother? I got up early in the morning. I hate to admit it, but I’m much more productive in churning out quality work and meeting deadlines when I roll out of bed at 5:00 a.m., hit the gym for a brisk workout, and get after it early.
Authors have written books extolling the virtues of early rising. I actually bought one of these books only to find that the author is making bank by giving early rising a cute name, writing books about it and hitting the speaking circuit. I’ll save you the $15 bucks and sum up the findings. You get more done if you get up early in the morning, get in a good exercise, swig on some coffee and get started.
What If You’re a Night Person?
Good question. I’m a night person. If you work a night shift or are a self-employed writer, you can stay up all night and be fine. But here’s the catch. Many of us are night owls trapped in morning lark worlds. We have to be at work by 8:00 a.m. or earlier, so staying up till midnight doesn’t work.
This chaps my hide, but morning people make the rules. They are often organized, the first people into the office and the first to get promotions because they are oh, so efficient. Never mind that they aren’t always as creative and don’t always see the big picture. Their work ethic makes them shine so they become supervisors. Guess who makes the rules? Supervisors.
Night owls are often more creative and better at seeing the big picture. But that doesn’t mean squat if you constantly run late because you overslept from staying up till 1:30 a.m watching a World War II documentary.
I know from personal experience that it’s entirely possible for a night person to function as a morning person by flipping a switch in your brain. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. I think you’ll like the results. Studies show we do our sharpest analytical thinking in the morning. This allows you to achieve important goals that get bumped off if you get trapped in a stay up late, sleep late mode.
Here’s a trick. If you’re a night person, allow yourself one night a week to stay up late and sleep late the next day. For me, that’s usually Friday night/Saturday morning. It helps keep me sane and feeling like I’m not selling out to the enemy.
However, the things I accomplish by hitting the floor early make me feel better about life. Morning people are generally more optimistic than night people. I’ve found that when I go to bed at a decent hour, get up early and greet the day, I’m a happier person. Plus, I accomplish more of my major goals. That makes the change worthwhile.