In the last few years, there has been an increasingly common theme in the media of the productivity benefits of getting up early. I mean really early. Like 4am. And during the pandemic, competitive ‘productivity porn’ has become more prevalent than ever.
Now I like to think of myself as a reasonable person who is quite productive and likes to sleep as much as the next person, but my honest question to getting up that early if you don’t need to is ‘Why!?’
I’m just not a believer in the philosophy that getting up earlier will make you more successful, more productive or get you where you want to go.
I don’t like getting up early. It’s not my time of day. It belongs to others and I’m very happy for them to keep it and use it well.
I’m an afternoon person, an expert in evenings. I come alive after 11am with a slow burn that grows to a productivity burst after 2pm and burns until 7 or 8pm, sometimes later if I’m in the zone.
I know this about myself. I use it to my advantage. And I’m far more productive at that time.
Yes, I have to get up early sometimes. And yes, I have to fit into the 9-5 days sometimes and I’m OK with that. But you won’t get my best self at a 7am breakfast meeting #justsaying.
I find power in knowing this about myself and how I work. It’s liberating. And I get more done. I structure my time to maximise my day and my ‘doing time’. I know I can do more in four hours in the late afternoon than if I spend 9-5 at my desk staring at a blank page.
What the mornings are good for is helping other people. I hold almost all of my coaching calls in the morning. One is at 8am but most are between 10am – 12pm. I’m reflective in the morning, a good sounding board, using my curious brain to bounce around ideas and my experience to offer guidance and solutions.
With one exception. That client, like me, comes alive after lunch and although it took us a while to work that out, it now works extremely well, now that we meet at 2pm.
Of course, this may not be possible in all situations. However, in my work as a freelance consultant who works from home most of the time, I’ve identified my own productivity patterns, strengths and limitations and now work with, not against them.
I now organise my day in a way that works for me and in this way, not only do I enjoy my work, I’m also productive and most importantly, I can help my clients solve their problems and move their careers forward.
As long as it’s not at 4am.