Will Waking Up Early Really Increase Your Productivity?

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Will Waking Up Early Really Increase Your Productivity?

Posted by Mitzi Branvold | Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Often, we hear a lot about people who wake up at 4 a.m. and get a ton of work finished before the rest of us even make it to work. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, wakes up at 3:45 a.m. Michelle Obama starts her day at 4:30 a.m. Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, is quoted as saying, “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” He used to wake up at 5:00 a.m. everyday.

Can People Who Rise Late Be Successful?

For every early bird who has been successful, there is a counterpart who whiles the day away and works only at night. Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary, which is undoubtedly a classic, used to roll out of bed at 10 a.m. and didn’t start writing until one in the afternoon. He could also be found writing until one in the morning. Comedian Trevor Noah begins his day as late as 6 p.m. Artist Jackson Pollock used to wake up at 1 p.m. So there have definitely been successful people who woke up late and worked late into the day.

Larks, Owls and “Third Birds”

Daniel Goleman, author of When, divides people into larks, owls and “third birds.” Larks are people who naturally wake up early and sleep early, and they’re at their best first thing in the morning. Owls are the opposite; they wake up late and tend to work late into the night. The rest of the people out there, according to Goleman, are “third birds.” They don’t like to wake up terribly early or terribly late but sometime in the middle.

Active and Sluggish Periods in the Day

Goleman has done some research about this issue and he states that larks and third birds tend to have an active period first thing in the morning after they wake up. This continues for a few hours, is followed by an afternoon slump and then a second wind in the late afternoon/early evening. Owls, of course, are not that productive during the day; their creative juices start pumping much later, often when the rest of the world is asleep.

Are You a Lark, Owl or “Third Bird”?

So what can you learn from all this? Simply that it doesn’t matter what time you wake up. As long as you’re putting some time aside for what you truly want to do, you can be successful at it. Plus, it’s also a good idea to make note of when you feel good and when you’re a bit sluggish during the day. Then try to time things so that you get the bulk of your work done when you’re more active.