Although I'm not entirely sure that I want the worm, I've been thinking about this idea lately - the idea of being an early riser. I've never been someone who rises with the sun, and rarely see the a.m. hours. Ask anyone that knows me. Yet, I've stumbled upon some interesting facts about productivity and it's relation to sleeping patterns, and I find myself slowly swayed in that direction.
According to Forbes, the secret to being a powerful woman is waking up early because "rising before the sun is more than a personal bonus - it's an edge in a cutthroat corporate environment." Before the sun? In New York, the sun rises between 6:30 and 7:30 am! Apparently Anna Wintour, Vogue editor, is on on the tennis court by 6am [*insert side-eye emoji here*]. That's something my hazy-before-noon brain just can't fathom. But I'm not throwing in the metaphorical towel just yet.
Waking up early has business benefits as well as personal ones. Major business transactions usually happen earlier in the day, which can actually be hours ahead depending on whom you're doing business with (think LA investors trading on the NYSE), and being alert at such times can obviously have a big impact on your career. Also, standardized exams or job interviews are frequently scheduled for the morning, which means that as an early riser you'll be at your best for "showtime" (to read about my struggle with this for the Bar exam, click here). Early rising also creates a "built-in block of exercise time", says Jenna Goudreau writing for Forbes.com. For quite some time, I've contemplated what the best exercise schedule is for me. Many people I know say they exercise in the morning to "get it out of the way", and I have to admit that I will occasionally push my exercise plans so far back that it will just fall off my agenda. Previously, I was convinced that a later workout was optimal as it usually leads to a good, deep sleep and correlates with my current sleeping pattern. But knowing that a morning workout usually energizes me and having read research encouraging us to hit the gym earlier, I may at least attempt getting my exercise in a bit earlier.
Apparently, the power of mornings is derived from it's lack of demands (so says Entreprenur.com). Distractions are less likely in the morning, while tasks planned in the afternoon frequently get pushed right off the schedule. Boy, do I hear that! I frequently get lost in things and find myself saying "I'll do it in 5 minutes" at 3:30 only to glance up at the clock, in what feels like seconds later, astonished that it is 9 p.m. After 2 p.m., the day just flies by, or so my mother always says. According to time-management expert, Laura Vanderkam, "[t]here are going to be reasons why you can't tackle a personal priority at 4 p.m. -- things have a lot less likelihood of coming up at 6 a.m." Or 7 a.m. or 8 or 9, says I :) Vanderkam also cites willpower and positivity as benefits of rising early, and suggests a few tips for those of us who aren't accustomed to seeing such early hours. She advises imagining your perfect morning and planning it, which will excite you for getting up at 7 a.m. instead of seeing it as punishment. One tip I'll be sure to try out? Building the habit slowly. Make too drastic of a change in your sleeping pattern and you'll hit the snooze button every time. Rather, wake up 10 minutes earlier each morning and set bedtime alarms to remind you to hit the sack!
A list of great men who were early risers over at the Art of Manliness (it's not intended for me, but I love this website!) include Benjamin Franklin, who woke at 5 a.m. to wash, dress and plan, and Ernest Hemingway, who says did his best writing between the hours of 6 a.m. and noon.
says Benjamin Franklin, well, basically.
Does "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise"? Hopefully.