Does the Early Bird Really Get the Worm?

  • November 1, 2011 by Corbett Barr
  • 61 Comments

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)

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Jon Cooper November 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

Thank you! Finally someone agrees that waking up early isn’t everything -.-. I get plenty done throughout the day without the early morning alarm clock!

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 11:44 am

Maybe us late risers should stick together? :)

Scott Fox November 1, 2011 at 9:26 am

Hear, hear!
I agree with your choice of the word “obsession” for describing society’s need to get up early.
We are not farmers anymore!
Being productive is the goal, not face time.
Thanks for posting this. Looking forward to comments from others, too.

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 11:44 am

Don’t get me started on “face time,” that’s a whole other can of worms. Perhaps another post idea, thanks.

Dawn Mentzer November 1, 2011 at 9:27 am

Thanks for your daring admission to not being a morning person! When I was in a corporate job, I was an early to bed/5:30 am wake-up kind of gal, but now that I’m freelancing, I find a lot of my best work is done between 10 and 1 am. Not a problem in itself, but I’ve got to get up early to get my daughter ready for school in the morning. I would never ever wish the years away, but I’m sort of looking forward to when the morning routine can run itself while I’m catching a few extra zzz’s. :) I don’t think sleep deprivation is something I’ll ever quite adjust to!

Gregory Ciotti November 1, 2011 at 9:30 am

While I agree with you that’s it is more about what you do with your time rather then WHEN you do it, I have to point out that many successful people share a similar trait with waking up.

Also, I have to say that when I adjusted my sleep schedule to accommodate waking up early (for gym purposes) I found that I felt the same as before, it just took some time to get used to sleeping and waking up a different times, while I was getting the same amount of rest.

All that being said, like I mentioned in the beginning, I still agree with your main point: performance beats when your alarm clock goes off any day of the week, so as long as you are putting in productive and efficient work hours, who cares when you wake up?

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 11:51 am

“Many successful people” isn’t exactly scientific, now is it Greg? I do believe I’ve seen studies of the overall trends comparing early risers to late ones, but it’s a question of correlation. Do productive people tend to be early risers, or do early risers tend to be productive?

Ricardo Bueno November 1, 2011 at 9:41 am

I have a hard time waking up early. Like you, I’m productive late at night (creativity kicks in the best late at night). The only time I manage to wake up early without a problem is when I’m traveling to speak at a conference. It’s not nerves, but rather excitement. I’m all pumped up and can barely sleep. Well, speaking and snowboarding because I’m the first one on the slopes at that point – again, it’s the excitement.

Does it make sense to wake up early? I suppose it depends on your routine. What kind of creative work you do, etc. Personally, I find that when I wake up early, I can get a lot done in those early hours of the morning. Then I have a wicked long day ahead of me to relax and coast through other tasks.

But again, I struggle. I have to set two alarms and convince myself that I’m traveling or something to wake up. Heck, I’ve even tried services like http://www.snoozester.com to do a morning wake-up call (it’s pretty neat actually).

But again, that’s just me…

Lucy Snell November 1, 2011 at 9:44 am

I’d love to sleep in, unfortunately my 3 yr old doesn’t let me! Don’t think it makes any difference to productivity. As long as you are getting the sleep that you need and can work flexibly – isn’t that the point of working for yourself anyway, to fit work around a lifestyle that works for you! Continue to enjoy the lie ins!

Caroline Leon November 1, 2011 at 9:45 am

Corbett, I love this post. Not least because I, like you am a naturally late(r) riser (although work permits that during the week) and have been for some time been trying to become a full-time Early Riser. Only yesterday I was reading Steve Pavlina’s posts on the subject and thinking I must try and do that again soon. Knowing that someone as productive as you gets up at 9.30am makes me smile big time. I think this post raises a really good question! :)

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 11:53 am

I’m with you, I have a feeling I’ll have to succeed with the early rising experiment before I can answer the question (for myself at least). Let me know how it goes for you Caroline.

Renee Taylor November 1, 2011 at 9:48 am

I can imagine that you *don’t* see much benefit to waking up before 9:00 AM if you stay awake until 1:00 AM. ;-)

I am, and pretty much have been for most of my adult life, an early riser. I wake up naturally anywhere between 5:30 and 7:30, usually around 6:00. (Granted, I go to bed with my book around 9:00 PM, especially in the winter when it’s been dark for four hours.) I love the quiet stillness of morning. I’m not groggy at all, and I’m at my most productive before 10:00 AM.

I wouldn’t say waking up early is a worthwhile goal, per se. Not if it isn’t something that comes naturally. I think it just depends on how we’re all made. (And honestly, who really gives a crap what the “culture” thinks about waking time?)

Looking forward to following your 30 posts this month!

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

I’ve always wondered what it is that causes some people to naturally wake up so early. I can’t do it without an alarm clock, but then again, I don’t naturally go to sleep before midnight either.

Sandee November 1, 2011 at 9:54 am

Yay! Another productive person who DOESN’T think you have to rise at the crack of dawn! Thank you for the validation. BTW, See the excellent book Brain Rules for a whole chapter on the issue – highly recommended! Thanks again!

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 11:56 am

Cool, I hadn’t heard of that book before. It looks really interesting (and well reviewed). Thanks!

Jeff M November 1, 2011 at 9:56 am

Congrats for getting up early and writing.

As you have noted with travel and surfing days being great reasons to get up early, I think the value of getting up early is directly proportional to the amount of stuff you get done during those extra hours.

For me, i have always been a morning person. When I was working, I woke up early and was at my desk by 6 AM. I got a lot done early…but also loved the side-line benefit of being home shortly after 3 in the afternoon. I have always loved being up early to see the sunrise…and I will admit, I always feel just a little bit better knowing I am up and productive well before those who are still sleeping.

But now I am unemployed and my dance card is decidedly empty, so early mornings don’t provide me a list of things to get done. So I am sleeping in later. But I am okay with it. I have reached a peace with getting up by 8…though this time shifts from day to day, rarely later, usually earlier. I try not do dwell in guilt about much of anything, and I don’t for my wake-up time, either. So far, I haven’t learned anything specific from rising later. Though, over the last three years of my working life (before being laid off, I started going into the office later (by 8) and found it was much healthier for me to rise a bit later, workout, eat a healthy breakfast, and not stick to a firm start time for work.

Thanks again for writing, I always enjoy your posts.

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 11:58 am

And did your bed time adjust in proportion to the later wake time? By saying “those extra hours,” I assume that means you were sleeping less to get up early?

Michal Palczewski November 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

I used to wake up late, and now I wake up early. I like to go to the gym before I go to work. Waking up early for it’s own sake though seams stupid. Sure if you want to do something specific, I don’t see why you shouldn’t wake up for it. Getting to the office early may increase your visibility, so that can have a purpose. For the most part though anyone claiming moral superiority for waking early is full of shit.

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 11:59 am

What you say might be especially true for those of us who don’t go to an office to work.

Michael Tanner November 1, 2011 at 10:00 am

Your sleep schedule sounds just like the one I wish I had. In my previous job I worked as a consultant (programmer) and often showed up to the office at 10:00 and stayed till 6:00 or 7:00. Though I was able to work whenever I wanted, I often felt that the 8:00 employees thought I was lazy. I believe the 8:00-5:00 cultural constraint is not a one-size-fits-all and in fact can hamper creativity and energy for people who are wired differently than natural early birds.

Jay Piecha November 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

I used to worry about that all the time. People who are early risers “judge” you if you “sleep in” even if they know you also work late. It’s strange, because some people, even friends and family, even seem to be offended by it or think that you must not be working hard or being productive based on the time you woke up.

I, too, went through several bouts of testing wake up / bed times (I even tested biphasic sleeping for a month). My mind/body simply prefers the night. lol
One thing I will say though, when I go to bed early and wake up early, even if I get the same amount of sleep I would when going to bed late / waking late, I seem to feel better rested. Could be just a mental thing?

However, I always revert back to staying up/working late, because for whatever reason, I not only get more done in the wee hours, but I think more creatively, and most importantly, simply prefer to work at that night. :) In fact, I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced this, but when I’m exhausted, but focused, I seem to have better/more creative ideas. lol

Barrett Brooks November 1, 2011 at 10:25 am

I love the idea of waking up early, although I have never found the groove that makes the idea good in practice (for me).

When I think of an ideal day, I think of waking up early, having a small snack on the way to the gym, catching the sun rise, and eating a big breakfast with a strong cup of coffee as the sun sends the dew evaporating.

I find that when I accomplish this on a good night’s sleep, I am absolutely most productive in the hours following breakfast. However, in practice, I hardly ever am able to both 1) Get enough sleep and 2) Get going early enough.

I’d love to experience a consistent pattern of up early, in bed early, but, like you, I have yet to figure out the key to long-term success.

Maybe its just not how we’re wired? Please do keep us up to date if you decide to experiment with early rising again!

Jay Benfield November 1, 2011 at 10:31 am

I’m useless in the morning. Well, at least until I’ve burned through eleventy-five K-Cups (thus defeating the purpose of my overworked Keurig). Properly caffeinated, I can make a molehill out of an Everest-like mountain of tasks first thing in the morning.

But I think it has more to do with taking advantage of time absent of distractions and/or capitalizing on a clear, focused brainbox. That could be 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM.

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm

That’s a lot of K-cups!

Sarah Russell November 1, 2011 at 10:40 am

When left to my own devices, I tend to be most productive when I sleep from 11:00pm to 7:15am, but I don’t think I’d be any more or less productive if I got up earlier or later. Why work against your own biology if there’s a set time that works best for you?

Although honestly, since my husband and I are planning to start a family soon, I think I’m going to have to get used to sleeping and working whenever I can!

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm

True that, all bets are off for new parents!

Conni November 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

I’m the last to come in at my office.. Roughly around 10 am. I don’t care what anyone thinks and I will not back down. If we live in a society where individuality is valued, then we should not have to do the same as everyone else and rise early. It’s so backwards, thinking that we all have the same mental and physical daily cycles.
I would actually like to be able to get up earlier, but it don’t have it in me. It would probably mean a lot of suffering if I tried to change my nature. So I’m accepting it and standing up for it. If it ever changes, great, if not, oh well.

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I’ve been on that page before myself, Conni. Now I’m interested in trying all kinds of experiments, just to see what new things are like (even if it’s against my nature to start with).

Adrianne November 1, 2011 at 10:58 am

Ive tried the waking early thing too. With a toddler its actually the number 1 thing they say that moms can do to get stuff done. And for the most part its true. When I do get up before my daughter I feel focused, I blast through projects and I do get stuff done. But thats only after about 30 minutes of wiping the sleeps out, getting some tea or something to jump start the morning fuzz.

But the getting out of bed part is tricky and not something I enjoy doing. Then my daughter started waking up just as early as I did and it made the whole exercise moot. But even if she hadnt I know that getting up early isnt the right thing for me.

While I do get stuff done in the am hours, I am also like you most productive at night. Its easier to know I have time to get things done rather than trying to beat the clock of a waking household.

That way I dont have to be interrupted if I am working on something, I can give myself the extra 30 min to get it done. Plus I enjoy spending the morning with her instead of thinking about that unfinished project I need to get back to. She naps in the afternoon and I get a good block to do what I need and then I can finish up once she is down for the night. This is what works best for me.

And I think thats the important part. Getting up early works best for others, but it doesnt have to be whats best for you. Its a mindset that is thown around as ideal, but some people’s brains just arent wired that way.

Rick Mulready November 1, 2011 at 11:01 am

I recently changed my wake-up time to much earlier than I was used to in order to work on my side hustle. I’m not a “night” person so I figured I’d try the early mornings. I’m much more clear-headed and motivated in the early mornings now. So much so that it’s become routine for me.

I don’t believe for a second, though, that in order to be productive you have to get up early. Everyone’s different and productive at different times of the day. You gotta just find what works best for you and go with it.

Jacques van Heerden November 1, 2011 at 11:45 am

Last year I had the exact same sleeping pattern as you. I went to bed in the early morning hours and got up at 9 or 10, however, this year, I rescheduled my entire day.

I now wake up at 6 go to gym at 7 or 7:30 and then back before 9 have a shower and then get off to work. I just realized that getting to gym in the mornings boosts my energy levels tenfold and that now I can’t go without it. (Use to go to gym at 5 in the afternoon.)

I am generally not a late sleeper anyway. I think that different things work for different people in the end and that is what it comes down to.

Do what works for you and makes you happy. Don’t change to please others.

cashflowmantra November 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I would love the ability to sleep late and wake up naturally. Instead, I got up early this am to do some work at home before leaving for work. It was an early morning for sure.

Corbett November 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

It’s interesting, I know people who just can’t sleep in the morning as well. I can’t imagine being up at 4am for no reason, just because my body won’t sleep any longer. Those extra hours must come in handy sometimes.

Sibyl November 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Hey Corbett: I say wake up when it feels natural and work when it feels right. I have always been an early riser, but have been insanely jealous of people who can burn the midnight oil. The grass is always greener isn’t it? :)

Tracie November 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I used to think that waking up early was a noble goal. For many years I bought into the belief that unless I got up before 5 am every day-weekends included- I would never get done what I needed to get done. And so, I did jus that. Until that lifestyle nearly drove me to an early grave three years ago.

Now, I don’t get out of bed before I have to (6:30 during the week and whenever the heck I wake up on the weekends). It doesn’t sound like much of a change, but it has made a big difference. I’m a lot more relaxed than I used to be, which in turn has helps me maintain focus and be more productive.

Matt Cheuvront November 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Totally a morning person. I wrote about this about a year and a half ago (same title, too). Check it http://www.lifewithoutpants.com/life/does-the-early-bird-really-get-the-worm/ – Mostly, the early AM rising allows me to catch more Saved by the Bell reruns.

Michele November 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

A creature of the night, I get to sleep around 2:00am (or later), and get up at 10:00am. Over the years I have tried getting up early, but it never ever worked. Even with lots of coffee, my brain is muddled until later in the day but I get productive and creative in the evening. My partner is exactly the same, thankfully. I think it is best to follow our natural inclinations. In coastal Alaska where I now live, the winter is perfect since the sun rises around 10!

Tim Webster November 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Really interesting! I’ve read (on Art Of Manliness) all about the benefits of waking up before the sun rises – everything is quiet, no one is awake to bug you, you can get a lot done because of this, or just spend the time organizing your day.

I’ve been an early riser for the past 3 years only because I have to be at the office at 7:30am, which means I get up around 6:30am. I don’t get too much done in that time other than showering, grabbing breakfast, and driving in to work.

You bring up an interesting point, though. I’ve added ‘Wake up 60 minutes earlier’ to my list of 28 day challenges. I think for this I’ll shoot for a workout, doing some writing or drawing, or otherwise enjoyable activity that benefits me and I wouldn’t find time to fit in otherwise. =)

PC November 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I wake up early at 5.30 am because of the traffics. That’s the situation that I have deal with since I picked up my day job again. If you want to be productive, try to spend less time in the car. Until I can have income online like you, that’s the routine I have to adhere to.

Ollie Rattue November 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm

If you need to collaborate or be outdoors it maters, otherwise work is work; it doesn’t matter if it is done in the morning, afternoon, or evening :)

Like you I’ve never been an early riser. I actually work really well in the evening although that can make me a little unsocial, as it’s at odds with most of my 9-5 friends.

However I do get a smug feeling on the odd occasion when I get up early, go for a run, and have eaten breakfast by the time my house mates are stumbling down the stairs.

Daniel Hayes November 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I like he adage “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese”. While I naturally wake up early, I use that as “my time.” Once up, I prefer to wait a bit for the rest of the world to settle in to their 9 to 5 before I venture out. Great post…as usual.

Kirsten Lodge November 1, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Having just quit the corporate world, one of the things I am loving is the freedom to set my own schedule…. sleep included. I find that I naturally wake early but if I set an alarm I struggle to get out of bed. And being a writer, my creativity has no set schedule so my sleeping, exercising, working patterns need to be flexible to get the most out of my day. That’s the beauty of an independent lifestyle.. and I’m loving every single minute of it :)

Benny November 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I’ve tried the jetlag trick as well. I’ve found when I go or come back from Taiwan, I get up at 7am with ease. But after a week, back to normal.

Right now I get up at 9:30-10. It’s bad because I would really like to get up earlier.

I want to wake up earlier cause then my day will feel longer. I feel like I could get more done.

It’s just I sleep no earlier than 1am and I need my 8+ hours of sleep.

I did find a year ago when I trained for my first half marathon, I got up earlier with ease. Some mornings at 7:30am to go running. I think being in shape helped a lot. Right now I’m far from being in shape.

Mike B November 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Great topic! No doubt, early risers tend to judge late risers by dubbing them lazy. Clearly that mindset was established based on assumptions from archaic 9-5 workdays and our roots in agriculture where dusk meant the end of a days work. It’s great that self employed folks like you can schedule your day as you see fit…shame free. I’m not all the way there yet, but still trying.

Joan November 1, 2011 at 9:24 pm

You could easily be describing me with this post! I used to think my body was “used to” that after working a second-shift job for several years (starting between 2 and 4 p.m. and finishing between midnight and 3 a.m.), but now I’m convinced that’s just part of who I am, no different than my inability to curl my tongue.

Because of my daughter’s current school schedule, I do get up “early” and head to work by about 7:15 or 7:30 a.m., but I literally roll out of bed at 7 to do so. Once I’m at work, I’m convinced I’m only at about two-thirds of my productivity capacity until at least 11:30 a.m. And I get ALL my best stuff done between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., still. So, right now, I’m going to bed at a second-shift time (usually 2 a.m. or so) but waking up in a first-shift world, so I’m perpetually sleep-deprived.

Cue r.e.m.’s “Daysleeper” here…

Mark Boyd November 2, 2011 at 3:20 am

Hi Corbett,

its funny to see so many comments here cos actually this post made me unsubscribe from your alerts. As much as i appreciate and can learn much from you i find this whole 30 in 30 idea part of whats wrong with the internet today. I am glad a lot of people chimed in with “early riser here!” or “i sleep late too!” but really? i have enough time managing the stream of consciousness in my own head not to want to check in to yours for every day in november.

I dont know why you couldn’t have riffed off of the general principle to write something useful like “how to manage your day if you are an early riser” or “how to structure your blog writing if you are a late night worker” – you could cover off on how to scan that part of the day’s 12 hour news cycle and how to use that in preparing blog posts, make some reference to best times to tweet, using auto alerts so you don’t miss anything that happened while you slept, etc. That would still allow the above sorts of general comments while also adding value to what your readers expect from you.

A general ‘i get up late but i work late too’ belongs on a page with a url like “corbettsviews.wordpress.com” type personal site or turn it into a poll on your personal (or professional i guess) facebook page for fun but it turned me off for you to be showing how to write for 30 days if this is what you are modelling. I guess my ideas would take more time than you can churn out writing something that doesn’t require any research or links or anything but i don’t want to read that.

I decided to comment back because i really respect you and your advice usually turns me on, but this has tuned me out.

Corbett November 2, 2011 at 10:54 am

Hey Mark, thanks for the thoughts.

This 30 days of writing thing is an experiment. I’m a big believer in experimentation, even if there are short-term consequences (such as some people being turned off by the frequency of posts). The growth and discovery will be worth it in the end. I’m sorry you didn’t like this post, but I know everything I write can’t appeal to all. I’ll still be here a month from now if you want to stop by again. If not, that’s cool too. Cheers!

Jen November 2, 2011 at 4:27 am

Hi Corbett! I have NEVER thought waking up early is necessary for productivity. I’m with you…I often do my best work late at night. I am never at my best early in the morning. The bad thing is, I’m a night owl working a day job, so I wake at 4am (ish) 4 days a week. When I get off at 3, I usually go home to take a nap. And the first 2 hours of my day are…less than productive. But I get my work done, and well, so it’s ok. I just wish I could stay up even later to work on my personal projects…as it is, 4-5 hours of sleep isn’t really enough, but I just can’t make myself go to bed at 10PM.

While humnas are, on a whole, diurnal creatures, each of us has our own rhythms, so the belief that you must wake early to be productive is BS. It can be just as quiet and peaceful at midnight as at 5am.

JoAnna November 2, 2011 at 7:52 am

Creativity has no hours, but I’m an early riser, which helps because I’m on the West Coast so by the time I get moving, the East Coast is already moving. Working early also means I can quit early in the afternoon, too.

Hugh November 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

Waking early is in itself not a worthwhile goal. A person’s awake a sleeping hours are completely individual and should be based around their best hours of productivity. You get good work done at night until 1AM. I am a zombie past 10PM. I wake at 5:30AM because I love the mornings. I love running the boardwalk in the dark, before it’s crowded. I the quiet time before the phone starts ringing, and all the rest.

To answer your second question, I’ve tried waking even earlier than 5:30, but realized it was stupid since I wasn’t going to bed any earlier. As much as I’ve tried, I’m a guy who needs 7.5-8 hrs of sleep, not 5 or 6.

Waking early is not a noble goal. Getting proper rest that enables you to be as productive and creative as possible is.

Kyle November 2, 2011 at 11:07 am

I am productive and creative through the late, late night. I have recognized that and come to terms with that. I rarely wake up before noon. And that’s fine, because at 5am, I’m up getting shit done!

Jen November 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I’m still trying to figure this one out, too. All of high school and college I had the single dorkiest sleep schedule known to man – bed by 8 or 9, up at 5, gym in the morning, productive day.

Now, at 24, I have a computer programmer night owl boyfriend and a more active social life. So, I’ve found myself on a schedule similar to yours – bed late, up late. I agree, I’m embarrassed when my parents call and I’m “still sleeping” – I constantly want to be “explaining” why I’m sleeping in so late and that I got a lot done at night. I don’t know if anyone else actually cares, I think its more of an ego thing.

Anyways, if you decide to do another experiment keep me posted. I have no answers.

Eddie Johnson November 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

I love Tim Ferris’s line in his book when he asks “how is it possible that everyone in the world is supposed to take 40 hours a week to complete their work”? That’s paraphrasing the actual passage.
Anyway, I think people have a natural time to get tired and go to sleep and a natural time to wake up. With no commitments, mine is midnight to go to bed and 8:30am to wake up. I have a friend who works in a job where employees can start anytime between 6am and 10am, work 8 hours with either a 1/2 or 1 hour lunch. If I had that option, I’m sure 10am would be my start time.

Lion November 8, 2011 at 6:12 am

Have always been a night owl and hence always slept late. Getting up at 7 when I went to school was a hard time for me.

Nevertheless I love the early time of the day – the quiet, the mindfullness, the feeling of amazingness.
So January of this year I made the experiment to get up at 6am every morning. Results varied. While it was great to have all this time in the morning and not having to rush at all, I often felt drained before midday. Maybe it was to harsh a change.

So for now I do it as it feels best and as it is required. But I also plan to have experimental time somewhere in the near future to test it out again, because indeed I love mornings and I want to get to the point where I can deliberately chose the sleep patterns as I like.

Have a great time!

Sarah November 10, 2011 at 9:03 am

Have always been a night owl, since I was a small child. Just the way my brain is wired, I think. Personal mantra is, “I get more done after 9:00 p.m. than most people do all day!” Ain’t that the truth?! : )

Recently have come across some information about Asperger’s, which is characterized by near-genuis level IQ & propensity to function best late at night, not-so-much in the beginning of the day (whenever that may be for us). Not diagnosed, but beginning to wonder . . . internal time clocks for Aspies are more toward a 30-hour day, hence the “fogginess” in the morning, and the focused/clear-headedness in the latter part of our waking “day”. Anybody else feel like a 30-hour day would be heavenly? Personally, I feel as if I could sleep 10 hours, wake for 20, perpetually . . . same ratio as 24-hour cycle w/8-hours of sleep . . .

FYI, lots of successful/creative types are also night owls . . . take John Travolta, for example. Saw interview where he states he typically doesn’t go to be ’til around 5:00 a.m., not waking ’til about 2:00 p.m. most days. Interesting . . .

Thomas November 17, 2011 at 11:40 pm

OK, I didn’t see anyone brought up the issue of morning hypertension. Some people may have it and don’t even know. The consequence is they damage their blood vessels and setting themselves up for a heart attack. I remember one colleague had a heart attack and died. It was in the morning, of course. I would speculate that he had morning hypertension but didn’t even know it. Anyway, get one of those home blood pressure monitors and take measurements throughout the day and see if you have a spike in the morning. If you do, it’s best to sleep in if your job allows it. This is something that everybody should do. You need to know your own body.

Sergio Felix November 25, 2011 at 11:18 am

Hey Corbett,

I don’t know how relevant can this be but coming from the IT world, we used to work really late at night and most of my partners were REALLY late risers because of that. LOL

They tend to work until very late justifying that there is a lot less users on the systems but there is also more silence (doesn’t matter if you’re at home or in a corporate office) late hours are always more peaceful.

Sergio

Jeff M November 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Not too much. I was definitely sleeping less when I was getting up at 5 AM!

But that’s okay, getting at least 8 hours of sleep has been a goal of mine for improving my quality of life.

Sam November 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Yeah…I roll into work at about 10 every day…and have to stay late to get all my hours in even if I accomplished all of my work and there isn’t more that can be done that day.

It’s all about ass-in-the-seat face time. A friend of mine–different company, same industry–started to leave a couple hours early each day while still charging a full day of hours. The thing is: he is incredibly intelligent and gets his work done fast! He would ask for more work, but his boss wouldn’t have any to give him. So he figured, “well, I asked. I’m gonna head home then!” But his boss called him on it and told him he needs to put in all the hours. When my friend replied with, “Not only do I get all my work done, and it’s high quality work, there isn’t enough work to keep me occupied for a whole day.” His boss said, “Well then surf the internet or something. I don’t care, but you need to be here for your hours.”

It’s so STUPID! Companies care more about hours than they do about productivity!

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