Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil. - J. Paul Getty
There's a trend among the various productivity and time management pundits about the superiority and corresponding mind-blowing success of people who rise before the sun. I Googled "people who get up early" and pulled up the following:
* 29 Successful People Who Wake Up Really Early
* Top 10 Advantages of People Who Wake Up Early
* 5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 AM
* This is Why Productive People Always Wake Up So Early
*Why Productive People Get Up Insanely Early
And so on. Famous Morning People include such diverse personalities as Benjamin Franklin, Rachael Ray, Richard Branson and Tim Cook. Really, this drift is a new thing from my perspective. I am most definitely a morning person, and always have been. But many times in my past I have been berated for my preference of getting up before dawn and arriving at work at least an hour before anyone else. I was the kid at the slumber parties who wrecked everything by settling down before 11 pm. I mention my inability to sleep much past 5:30 am and get visceral responses like, "Ugh. I can't imagine getting up that early!" (stated with the same expression one might wear while cleaning up cat vomit). From my point of view, morning people seem to be in the minority, and there are some statistics out there that support my observation.
However, I was recently talking with a new friend who expressed deep concern that because she naturally did not function well prior to 9:00 am, others perceived her as a slacker. She is smart, professional and a successful business owner, but it was obvious that she was feeling insecure about the fact that she is a born Night Owl. Really, who are any of us to judge? Isn't it excellent that she knows herself well enough to know that she can't serve her company best early in the morning? Just for giggles, I looked up some famous late-nighters: Thomas Edison, J.R.R. Tolkien, Keith Richards, and Condoleezza Rice round out a pretty impressive list.
We are all given the same amount of time in a day, and how we use it constructively is determined by our individuality. It's up to us to recognize when we are super productive and make the most of it, whether at 5 am, or lunchtime, or 10:30 at night. I acknowledge I can't think straight past about 9 pm, so I just don't plan to do things that require my highest concentration at that time. I also acknowledge that sometimes we have to conform to the schedule of the rest of the world (like the boss expecting punctuality for that first meeting of the day), but that doesn't mean we can't focus our energies on our most important work at our best time. Personal productivity can, and should be, flexible.
I don't get up early to follow someone else's advice, or because it's cool, or to prove something. I like the morning because it's quiet and still, and full of promise, and I'm alert. Like Tigger-on-caffeine alert. It is so much easier for me to write, plan, prioritize, and execute that it doesn't make sense for me NOT to get up early. I think my Night Owl friends probably feel the same way about their best time of day, so let's give each other a break and respect the differences that enable us to be our personal best. Cut me some slack when I stare vacantly during conversations involving what time Taco Bell closes, ringing in the New Year, or Jimmy Fallon...and I promise not to annoy you with stories about how I never hit the snooze button.
What is your best time of day, and what do you do to make the most of it?
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, and serial list-maker. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?