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I admit— I am usually not a fan of getting up early. I would stay up until 3 in the morning and get up around 12 PM. The alarm would blare Junior Senior’s Move Your Feet, a catchy tune that implies a good day ahead. I would lay in bed for hours and scroll through email or Twitter and Facebook, and waste half the day. Then I would muster up the energy to go work on something.
This is, as many would tell you, the absolute worst thing to do. First, that time you’re scrolling through email and Twitter is time that you could be using to do the big tasks that require you to eat the frog first, or get to something far more important than triaging email.
There was some research done a few years ago about this: a lot of when we wake up or our chronotype is genetic, but it isn’t immutable.
Early Bird Gets the Worm?
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There is something to be said for getting up early.
In the HBR article, it found that while night owls were on average smarter and more creative, business success and better grades were a characteristic of those who get up early.
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Since your chronotype is not a fixed part of your circadian rhythm, there are steps you can take to get up early. This is what I am doing, as a lifelong night owl:
- Small steps: I am trying to get up an hour earlier every week. This way I can get my body acclimated to getting up earlier in more manageable intervals.
- Find something you enjoy doing in the morning. I enjoy researching articles to write, going through the day's news in Reeder, Instapaper, Flipboard, and the like. I also cook a healthy breakfast to start my day and then head to the gym a couple hours later.
- Get an alarm clock. I am working on this. Don’t use your phone to wake you up. There are some benefits to this, like the iPhone app Sleep Cycle which is a wonderful app to help you gradually wake up. But if you’re anything like me, you wake up and close the clock app and open your email app, your Twitter client, and Facebook or Tumblr. Getting an alarm clock and placing your phone on the charger across the room or in another room will go a long way to getting you up and out of bed.
Have Anything to Add?
Are you a night owl? An early bird? What techniques do you use to get up and start your day?