Productivity Tip: Do You Have to Wake Up Early to be Productive?

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Photo of a sunrise over a highway with two pickup trucks, photography by R. Isip

Do you consider waking up earlier so you can be more productive during the day?

You’re ready to give waking up early a shot, but there’s just one tiny little problem…you’re not a morning person!

In today’s post I challenge the age-old question of waking up early to be productive and provide some tips to help you work better, no matter if you are a night owl or fall somewhere in between.

A couple of weeks ago I read an online article extolling the benefits of rising earlier in the day in order to be more productive. Waking up early can certainly give you a head-start during the day, especially if your livelihood depends on the hours of sunlight in a given day. Yet many of us have lights and other amenities available to us at all hours of the day. We can literally work at any time we like.

I started thinking, “Hmm, not everyone is an early riser. Should people wake up early to be more productive?” I honestly think if you are the type of person who does not work well in the morning, it’s probably not in your best interest to be an earlier riser voluntarily. You’ll most likely be tired, grumpy and resentful and will get little to no work accomplished.

Here are some tips to help you replicate the benefits of early rising…without the need to wake up early!

Listen to your body.

Early risers are early risers because they do what comes naturally to them. Do you know when you produce your best work for a given task, project or errand? It might take a little bit of trial and error, but finding out when you do your best work and working according to that schedule can help maximize your productivity levels.

Use intent to set your schedule.

Some people wake up early as a means for them to do their work, as in, “If I go to sleep early, I can wake up early and do my work.” There’s a powerful connection here between one’s intents and actions. If you want to get something done or be productive, make the necessary preparations in advance to allow you to do what you need to do in future.

Find a way to help you focus.

A bonus of waking up early in the morning is the stillness of the hour. There’s no traffic, talking, or loud noises and most people are asleep. All is quiet and still. Do you need to wake up early or do you need to eliminate distractions and a way to help you focus on the task at hand? Unplug or power off phones and other electronic devices and alarms, tell people you are not to be disturbed, turn on a white noise machine or listen to your favorite playlist, album or radio station to carve out your own sanctuary from the busy world.

Take the time to review what you want to accomplish.

Early risers might be perceived as having a head start on people who wake up later, but you can still get a head start on others by being actively involved in your daily accomplishments. Instead of just reacting to others’ actions, or rushing headfirst into a busy day, make a conscious effort to carve out some time to reflect on what you want to accomplish and produce.

Now to you…Do you think people must rise early in order to be productive? Do you think early risers really have an advantage over those who are not? Leave a comment below and join in the conversation!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.