Time management Monday: When getting up earlier is counterproductive

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“Don’t wanna get up!”

One of the most common time management tips I’ve seen is to get up 30 minutes or an hour earlier than you usually do, and use that time productively. This can work for some people in the right circumstances, but it’s not for everyone.

First of all, if you are going to get up an hour earlier, you’ll need to go to bed an hour earlier. Burning the candle at both ends isn’t good for anyone. I know people who are naturally very early risers. But, they go to bed at 9 pm. This may or may not fit with your lifestyle.

Additionally, getting up very early may not suit your circadian rhythms. I’m not naturally an early riser, but having children shifted my clock so that getting up at 7 am is now a decent rise-and-shine time for me. Unfortunately for me, I have to get up by 6 am in my current lifestyle. I’m completely useless before 6 am. It wouldn’t do me any good to get up at 5 or 5:30 to have “extra time,” because I would spend that time staring stupidly at the wall and then feel tired for the rest of the day.

Several years ago I decided to get up at 5 am so I could go for a run before work. By 9 am I felt like I’d already had an entire day and was ready to go back to bed, just as my work day was starting. I didn’t stick to those early morning runs for very long. Early mornings aren’t for everyone.

What’s your earliest time when you can get up and be productive?

3 thoughts on “Time management Monday: When getting up earlier is counterproductive

  1. I used to have a boss who thought we should all be at work by 6am for a daily management meeting. “Necessary to set a good example” he would say. He would then expect us to work – like him – until at least 7pm – often later (totally unpaid of course). What he didn’t reveal was that he used to disappear for an early afternoon nap (sleep) in his car or at a nearby motel for a couple of hours! Me? I prefer not to have to start before 9am any day!

  2. Thank God for self-employment! I wake naturally at 0630, but need a half hour of “stupid time” before I can push back the covers and fling myself over the side of the bed. After crawling to the coffee pot, another hour of pottering is required before my brain kicks in and I can be productive from 0830 on. Mid afternoon my brain goes glacial, then late after noon until dinner completes my competent portion of the day. After that, brainless tasks like laundry are all I’m capable of until tub at 2130 and bed with an audio book a half hour later.

  3. Few things aggravate me as much as the concept that it is somehow more virtuous to be an early-riser. If I go to bed when I feel sleepy and get up when I feel rested, I tend to follow a 2am-10am sleep cycle, wake refreshed, and am far more productive and focused throughout my day. Unfortunately, I have a job to report to at 7:45am and need to get up at 6. After working this schedule for two years, I am absolutely convinced that I am less productive. But it is more in-line with other’s expectations and makes it easier to schedule meetings, etc.

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