“I’m not a morning person.”
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve been saying that for years, too. Until recently, I was renowned for my chronic lateness, and it started in childhood. That’s right, I’m a 20+ year veteran of slow-dragging and lagging behind. And it started with mornings.
My parents had to beg and almost beat me out of bed every morning from about third grade until l I graduated high school. College was even worse. I have no idea what an 8:00 class is because when I went away to school, the FIRST thing I did was commit to NEVER taking a class that early in the day. Why set myself up for failure, you know?
But here’s the thing that people often misunderstand about my lack of morning perkiness and the subsequent lagging that follows –
I’m not lazy. Not even a little bit.
I’m actually a very hard worker, and people who know me well know that. I work hard, but I rarely work efficiently. There’s a difference. But on the rare occasion that I do rise early and get a good start to my day, I work like a well-oiled machine. It feels AWESOME! But I don’t do it all the time, and until recently, I didn’t want to.
And THAT was the main problem.
When I worked a 9-5 back in the day, I always struggled with getting to work on time. ALWAYS. I was fired from my last job for that very reason. They loved me, I loved them, but I had accumulated too many points for punching in late. Soon after that I got married, moved away, and I have worked from home ever since. And let me tell you, telecommuting is AWESOME! But even though I can work in my PJs, my boss (I work part-time for a watch company and full-time for myself) is much happier with me when I don’t send him emails at night because I prefer working afternoons. At first it was acceptable, when my responsibilities weren’t so interconnected with what everyone else in the office needed. Now, I have to be available during office hours and actually get stuff done in time for people there to review and all that jazz.
And that’s in the creative world of digital marketing. In financial services, I really have to get my act together. Setting up a company’s 401(k) program doesn’t happen at 4:00 in the afternoon when my grind is at it’s best. Returning client calls and emails that you received at 9:00 am at 2:45 pm just isn’t cool, especially any of those messages were urgent.
I have to do this morning thing consistently. And on purpose. NOW.
And I realize that the only way I will be able to do it is to actually want to. You see, I’ve never been a morning person because I’ve never really WANTED to be. I can’t stand those guys. Especially the ones who are former military. They make you look like a total douche by 10:00 am, accomplishing an entire day’s worth of work before lunch.
But you know what they tend to have? The respect of their colleagues. And that brings us to the first reason why you have to become a morning person NOW:
1) Because you look like a total jerk.
You see, most of the WORLD gets to work in the morning. Unless you work completely independent of society (which would mean you have no customers so don’t give me that solo professional/entrepreneur crap), you should be working in conjunction with everyone else, not in spite of them. I’m not a conformist by any means, but it just makes sense. You need other people to make a living or to make the grade if you’re in school. But besides just needing other people to get things done, you need their respect. And trust me, if you don’t start your day until about 11:30 am, you don’t have it. It appears to others that you are a bit of a prima donna who doesn’t respect other people’s time and expects everyone else to wait until you get it together.
And that’s not far from the truth…
2) There really ARE more hours in the day when you start at the beginning of it.
People who don’t get an early start are always saying, “I wish there were more hours in the day.” Well, there actually ARE more hours in the day, you just spend them sleeping or dragging your half-awake carcass around talking about not being a morning person. The reason morning people get so much done is that they start early in the morning doing it! So yeah, they get 3-4 more hours in their day than you get in yours.
Plus, if and when you have to collaborate with others, it’s easier to do that at a decent hour when you don’t have 10,000 mundane tasks to perform all at once because you didn’t get started until 10:00 am.
And if you have kids, you’re toast after they get home from school anyway. God help you if you have babies and/or toddlers. The next time you’ll be free to work is after dinner, and by then you’re kinda fried so you are already less efficient. Enter caffeine addiction, stage left.
It’s a terrible, terrible cycle of ineffectiveness and fatigue, which brings us to the third reason why you HAVE to become a morning person NOW:
3) It’s just healthier.
All of your favorite, reputable publications have already published articles including research studies to prove it. Here are some of the ones I like most:
Fitness Magazine – Healthy Reasons to Wake Up Early – Why You Should Be a Morning Person
So you see, your chronic fatigue, addiction to sugar and caffeine, and your general crabbiness upon waking are not just facts of life. They are signs of poor health.
4) You sleep better at night, which in turn helps you continue to wake up early.
Most of us who call ourselves “night owls” are really just “inefficient workers who wait until the wee hours of the night to get productive”. Pulling an all-nighter every now and then is okay. Every week? Yeah, you have a problem. I’m retiring my all-star night owl jersey. I’m quitting the team. It gets lonely and I have to watch every episode of Shark Tank that exists to keep my brain awake. Although I know a LOT more about business now, it’s still not worth it.
If you were to get up early every day and work efficiently all day, you wouldn’t have to be a night owl anymore. Which means you could actually get up in the morning. Rinse and repeat.
5) Because morning coffee isn’t as good in the afternoon.
Consider this one a bonus: If you like coffee, it really does taste better first thing in the morning. And it’s even better when you don’t NEED it to stay awake. When you enjoy coffee occasionally by choice and don’t have a personalized Starbucks IV in your arm, you enjoy it more. And you spend less money on it, which is more efficient spending.
Before you go, I do want to share a video produced by Entrepreneur magazine that I LOVE on how to wake up in the morning more effectively. IT WORKS! And since trying to give you some cookie-cutter morning routine template would be an effort in futility, I figured I skip that and just share something that makes sense on how to actually drag your butt out of bed and then do the day the way YOU do it.