Does the Early Bird Really Get the Worm?

Here I am, sitting somewhat groggily in my home office after having forced myself to wake up “early” to write. What’s “early” for me? Today I rolled out of bed at 8:15, aided by my iPhone’s alarm clock. Tuesday is usually my earliest day to rise because the housekeeper comes at 9. Otherwise, I tend to naturally wake around 9:30.

Waking up early has never been my thing, and I’ve always felt a little self-conscious about it. Most of my job-having friends wake up about four hours before I do. They get up at 5 something, make breakfast, head to the gym (beating traffic), get to the office and have coffee, check email and get some work done all before I open an eye. I know their routines well because I’ve asked in disbelief so many times.

Even when I had a job, I was a late riser. I tended to be the last to the office, waking up after 8 and arriving after 9. I was always a top performer despite the late start, but I know some bossess and colleagues had issue with when I got in.

Part of me has always thought that waking time has no bearing on productivity or creativity. Some people wake early and others wake late. There may be trends you can point to, saying early risers get more done, but that’s really because people who wake early tend to be productive people. It doesn’t mean a productive person can’t be a late riser.

But our culture is so damn obsessed with getting up early, it’s hard to not feel like you’re missing something by sleeping in.

And it’s not that I don’t enjoy the mornings when I’m awake for them. Mornings can be fantastic. They’re quiet and full of promise. I do manage to sneak some in, but usually only if I have something exciting to do, like surfing or traveling.

When we arrived back in San Francisco last month from our summer in Europe, I had big plans to leverage my jet lag and turn it into a habit of waking up earlier. 7:30 sounded like a good early target to me. That lasted about a week and then I slipped back into the 9:30 habit where I find myself again.

I’m not convinced that waking up early has much benefit. After all, I do stay up until 1am, and tend to get some of my best work done at night. I’m almost always well-rested after 8+ hours of sleep.

I still think it’s a worthwhile experiment though, and have a feeling I’ll give it another shot soon.

Now I’d love to hear what you think.

Do you think waking early is a worthwhile goal (why or why not)?

Have you ever changed a sleep habit (like waking time)? What did you learn by changing that habit?

(this is day #1 of Every Day for 30 Days)

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Hi, I’m Corbett Barr. I’ve been writing here since 2009. Join my email list for new articles about supporting yourself doing something you love: