Why Getting Up Early is Better than Staying Up Late for Products and Projects

i’ve been consuming information on productive living for a few years now. i’m by no means an expert, but from experience alone can comment on a few tactics for getting more done in less time, and the optimal actions for achieving results.

i have some challenging information for you today in growing your business based on experience and observation. i hope it benefits you.

i constantly see books, magazines, articles, and highly successful people toting the advantages of getting up early to start your day. i often feel bad about it because i have such a hard time doing it.

you’ve seen the articles, there’s typically an overwhelming outcry usually in the comments section about people who are “night owls” and do their best work or whatever at night.

but the argument has a hinge point that i think get’s overlooked…what type of work are you doing?

people don’t create as effectively during their night sessions as those who get up early…for specific reasons, mostly out of our control.

mind you this is different than just saying you simply have to get up at 5am every morning. if you get up at 5am and spend 4 hours responding to e-mail, well then, you’re missing the point.

this has rung true based on my own experience in continually pushing up against friction as i build new offers, test products, and mini projects amidst what’s required to just maintain a business presence and other idea’s you’ve launched or are testing (and that job thing i’m holding on to). reminder: still in the business building phase to hit 5k a month in revenue.

i’ll simply state, getting up early to work, is better than staying up to work when it comes to anything requiring pro-action, not re-action, like launching a product, or completing a project. a lot of initial phase idea testing, business building stuff falls right into this category.

in the productivity world this might be bold, but let me explain why before you click away or jump to the comments to holler at me.

some clear reasons why

  • there’s much less distraction. less calls, less news from the day, less “already on, hard to shut off” input. distraction is the leading killer of productivity. and coming back to a task after being distracted, can at times, take up to 45 minutes to get back in sync with your intended actions.
  • you’re energy. no matter how “charged” you get at different times in the day, is at full in the morning. you may not find it natural to access it then, but it’s there. you’ve just slept and your body is rested.
  • you’re looking forward, not backward. unless your schedule is literally backwards, and i’m sure there are cases of those whose are, the world is fundamentally wired to function within a morning to night span of time. at the end of the day, you are inherently and naturally reflecting or recalling events from the day. there’s less mental “space” to move around and create. you are in reaction mode and have to fight uphill not to be. save e-mails for night time.
  • pro-active vs. re-active. you can’t call people at 6am, and they won’t bother you. you are free to generate and simply by virtue of everyone else not choosing to get up early, you are left with longer block of uninterrupted time than usual, even if that is 30 minutes. for me, it often is.
  •  it’s quiet, and you are in control of your environment. less people, less un-purposefull noise, less distraction. received phone calls is one example of this.
  • less rush, more preparation. many have said being prepared is half the battle. i think in most cases it’s more than half the battle. when you don’t start your day perfectly timing how long your shower has to be before you need to be somewhere, there’s a broader calm, and readiness for the day. enhance this by reviewing some goals on an index card, sticky, or whatever mechanism you use. progress will be made.

these are just a few arguments, and i felt compelled to share them. i’m not knocking you if you stay up late to get work done, but i’m going to be a jerk and tell you getting up early is better and more intellilgent than staying up late when it comes to business building (vs maintaining). it’s my opinion, and hopefully it comes as information to benefit you than to challenge how you already work.

it’s valuable to get up earlier than other people, and even more valuable to do pro-active work first than re-active.

mind you…i’m also telling myself this, very very loudly. i go through cycles of being able to get myself up early and then falling off the horse and making this a less purposeful practice. it’s time to pick it back up and “bake in” an hour in the morning for 2012 results by way of pro-active actions, not at night re-actions.

if you agree, but find it hard to get up early, like myself, review zen habits tactics for how to become an early riser, you’ll find some great tactics to roll into your routine. it’s interestingly enough a learn-able skill.

get to the important stuff first, and early in the day in 2012!

some phenomenally famous early risers

  • Tim Cook – Apple CEO
  • Robert Iger – Disney CEO
  • Thomas Edison – lightbulb
  • Jeff Jordan – Former PayPal and OpenTable head
  • Benjamin Franklin – “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” He planned his routine around waking up at 5 a.m. and asking himself“What good shall I do this day?”
    • Sounds like Tim Ferriss’s….if I could only do two things today, what would they be? Now get to work on them and don’t check your e-mail.
  • John Grisham – famous writer
  • Charles Darwin – natural selection

http://dailyroutines.typepad.com/daily_routines/early_risers/

http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-early-risers-2012-1#

Photo by jimbrickett

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  • http://twitter.com/kentkchow Kent Chow

    No kidding. I wake up around 6am these days and work on my niche site business. By 10pm after 9-to-5 and sending my kids to bed, I am exhausted and need to rest my mind. Now, I need to figure how to be pro-active and focus 2 hour productive-work.
     

  • http://3d.about.com JustinSlick

    Hah, I actually didn’t even notice it until Rem pointed it out.  The crazy thing is, it would take way more concentration for me to NOT capitalize all those words.  My pinky goes to the shift key automatically.

    **and I just realized this conversation happened a month ago…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Remington-McElhaney/100001137121257 Remington McElhaney

    That’s fine if that’s your style. It must just be the grammar freak in me ;) 

  • http://www.itarsenal.com/ Rob

    ha no worries Remington, i …I do this on purpose, ignoring grammar and focusing on content on this particular blog as i’m not here to represent any products just my relaxed self. sorry it gets to you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Remington-McElhaney/100001137121257 Remington McElhaney

    I hate to be one of the douche bags hating on the grammar in a post. I really had a hard time reading through it though with pretty much no capitalization. I thought there was some good points in it but you lose a lot of credibility when simple things like “i” aren’t capitalized. Anyways, just wanted to give my feedback!  

  • http://www.itarsenal.com/ Rob

    Ha, I can’t deny I’ve felt this high before and it’s a good feeling.

    I can’t seem to guarantee I’ll get it at night though, while waking early to get a jump on things seems to be repeatable, but harder to accomplish because you have to pull yourself out of bed!

    Always glad to chat with you Andrew!

  • http://www.andrewcaldwell.org/blog Andrew Caldwell

    Hey Rob,

    Don’t you find sometimes (annoyingly) that you’ll be working away towards the wee old hours of midnight, when, bam! You’ll get a second wind like a banshee, look at the clock at it’s 4am? I have a love/hate relationship with the second wind.

    There’s a little bit of ‘ha, I’m up before the rest of the world’ element to getting up and hitting it early though…