Thursday, August 11, 2011

Early to Rise -- The New Protocol for Productivity

I've never been a morning person.

That changed by default, of course, when my daughter was born. We have a sort of rule in the house though: no getting up before 6 a.m.. Usually she's pretty good at sticking to this one, although she's still too young to tell time. When she's early, I send her back to bed, even if it's just for five minutes.

I don't know...maybe that's just for my own narcissistic need to feel like I'm in control of my time. It almost never works anyway.

Lately though, I've been reading up on productivity and following blogs by CEOs and other power players. I went through Eben Pagan's "Wake Up Productive" video course, and found a lot of what he had to say enlightening. But, to do all the stuff you're supposed to do in the morning for your "ritual," you have to get up pretty early.

Having just read a fascinating article by Peter Shankman on the subject, I'm starting to become convinced that early rising may have more to it than simply getting stuff done. I'm starting to realize that while I've forced myself out of normal sleep patterns over the years, only to be forced back into something similar through parenting, my daughter may be purely circadian. She may just be waking up when it's time to wake up.

Yes, even if it's 5 a.m..

My joke used to be, "I know there's a five o'clock really late at night; I had no idea there was one in the morning now too!"

That attitude is about to change. As I'm busily looking for a new job, the likelihood is increasing that I may need to commute into Toronto, putting downtown roughly an hour and a half away by various trains. I could drive it in an hour if there were no traffic, but we know what that's like getting into Toronto in the morning. Could be up to four hours if you hit it just right.

So how do I get in the morning ritual, exercise, and everything else in time to drive to Cobourg to drop my kid off at daycare, drive to Whitby, find a parking space, and hop the GO Train?

Yup. 5 a.m..

As an experiment is this early rising psychosis, I'm going to start nudging myself in that direction next week. Of course I'll have to start going to bed earlier; as it is, I usually don't go to bed until around 11:00. If I go at 10:00, I will wake up at 3 a.m. and be unable to go back to sleep.

What can I say? She's trained me to function on five to six hours of sleep, usually with a nap after lunch.

So we start by getting up right away. The idea is that if I'm tired enough, I should (in theory) be able to get to sleep earlier that night. In my experience, it takes less than a week to retrain a new schedule; but I promise myself I won't go to bed any earlier than 10:00 just on principle.

They say adding the extra hours in the morning makes you more productive. I still maintain that it doesn't matter if the extra hours happen early or late. But necessity may very well force me in the direction of early, so it's best to be prepared.

And if it doesn't happen that I need the commute, at least I'll get to watch a few sunrises on the deck...before going back to bed.


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