I have read over and over again, “If you want to be more productive, wake up earlier.” Many productivity experts believe you should get up before 6am and you’ll get more done before most people start working than the average person will get done every single day. I have been on both ends of this spectrum lately.
Due to our current living situation, we have had a schedule bouncing up and down. In addition, both my wife and I have dealt with getting sick during this time and have also taken on more work than we normally would in pursuit of specific goals. While getting sick and taking on a larger workload are both temporary, they have wreaked havoc on our goals.
Not an Alcoholic, but a Stress Drinker
I have never considered myself an alcoholic, but I tend to drink a bit more often when under stress. Sometimes, this only lasts a day or two and I can get right back to it, but other times it will pop up a few times over the course of a month and do damage to my schedule and habits.
I know this about myself, so I do try to guard against it as best as possible. I do find that a cup of caffeine free tea often helps and gets me more in the mindset for sleep. However, there are times I cannot resist and a couple beers or a few glasses of wine become a nightly ritual for a few days.
I only mention this because it has popped up recently and has caused some issues with the waking up early. It’s not the main issue, as that comes from my wife and I staying up late and talking quite a bit in recent weeks. This tends to happen whenever there’s a big decision coming up or we’ve made a big decision and we are in the transition period of planning for change.
Productivity When Up Early
I already knew I was more productive when I woke up early (before 8am), but I recently received proof. One day this past week, I was up at 6:45am, which is the earliest I have been up in about three weeks….by many hours.
I have averaged a wake up time around 11am recently, so this was like getting an extra 4+ hours. I finished my day’s work at about 3:30pm that day and was able to put in about 3 extra hours on one of my personal projects.
Compared to all of the other days in the week, this was by far my most productive. Some of the other days I was able to get just as much client work done, but had no time left for my own projects. In addition, my work wasn’t done until about 8pm or so.
Stuck in the Cycle
Getting back on track after being sick has been difficult. When I get sick, my body forget what night and day are and I end up taking a few long naps, sleeping more and at odd hours and everything gets thrown off. Since my wife and I both got sick back-to-back, it has thrown us both off, which makes things even more difficult.
If I had been the only one getting sick, I could have regulated my schedule by getting back on hers, but we both fell off the “wake up early” wagon and defaulted back to staying up late and getting up late.
Finally, we broke through a little bit this week getting up at 6:45am the one day and getting up earlier than we have been by a few hours. I think we are back on the right track and it’s a good thing because we have a full slate of work over the next few weeks.
From going through this topsy turvy schedule, I have a couple main takeaways:
- Getting up early, at least for me, leads to more productivity
- I enjoy watching the sun come up
- I get through my entire morning routine when I awake early and very little of it when I don’t
- I’d rather be an early worm 😉 than a night owl