Waking up Early + Productivity = Success?
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”
The concept of productivity and this underlying need to be productive throughout the day is not a new phenomenon – hello Calvinist work ethic.
There has been plenty of research over the years about the benefits of waking up early so as to achieve maximum productivity and arrive at the ever elusive finish line we call ‘success’.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of waking up at 5am. Squeezing in a few hours of ‘you’ time before having to face the world is indeed precious; reading, catching up on emails, exercising, meditating, taking the dogs out for a walk, eating a proper breakfast, or just sitting quietly listening to the world wake up – the possibilities are endless and no doubt, they have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
There are more articles than I can count that focus on ‘success’ stories of people who have made waking up early their mantra. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, wakes up at 3.45 am. Richard Branson is ready to face the world at 5.45 am. Indra Yooni, CEO of PepsiCo, is up by 4am. This made me pause and think ‘surely there must be something to getting up at the crack of dawn if these modern-day icons are doing it? Maybe I should try it too!’
The beauty of waking up early is that you’re granted a few precious hours of uninterrupted time where you can be productive and get a head start to your day. In our modern age, we find ourselves, more often than not, rushing to keep up with everything – there just never seems to be enough time (Proust would not be happy). The quiet stillness of mornings can spur your creativity and imagination, and for those who are running the ‘success’ race, they can already get started on their day’s tasks and check them off their list.
Do you fail when you don’t account for every hour of your day as being productive and meaningful?
It really comes down to your idea of what success is. Linking the three together as though it’s a formula (waking up early + productivity = success) feels as though if you don’t abide by this, you fail. The concept of being ‘one step ahead of the others’ and ‘winning’ by waking up early that is trumpeted brazenly throughout the internet comes across as though life is some sort of race where we try to outdo each other.
A society that places high value on conspicuous production as an emblem of success has the ability to plant the seed of guilt in you, making you feel that you’re a failure because you’re not being productive.
I’m an early riser myself but I get as much meaning out of my day when I wake up at 8:30 am as when I wake up at 6:30 am. The days that start off a little later don’t indicate a lack of success or lack of productivity, it just means that on that particular day, my body needed a bit more time to rest. And that’s ok.