Success Comes Early

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Not too long ago, a few studies came out suggesting that those of us who would rather burn the midnight oil in lieu of waking up at the crack of dawn were smarter. In fact, one of those studies is found right here.

I’m always one to study how people do things and what different keys to success there are. History has taught me that the “smartest” people aren’t always the most successful. Though I was an excellent student growing up, my parents always brought me back down to earth saying “You’re never too smart to screw up.”

Good advice.

Through the wonder that is social media, I’ve been able to virtually observe some of the behaviors of very successful people. Not just financially but people who are genuinely very good at whatever they do. Several successful and very smart people I know are the night owls and it works out great for them. However, most other people I’ve found to be successful are your early risers. I get on Twitter and several thought leaders in the business world have already been up and at ‘em before my vision has even completely focused after waking. I see how several bloggers do most of their writing in the morning. Legendary professional athletes train in the wee hours. Some of my bosses get up early to read several newspapers cover to cover. Shoot, Jesus himself is noted as using the early morning as a time of prayer. It appears to me, just out of pure observation, that your most successful people are early risers.

So I decided to test this theory out. Does success really come earlier in the day?

Peter Shankman does a great write-up on this topic. (No, really, you should read it). He gives a few tips on how to get up early and I decided to follow some of his leads. Not doing anything dramatic, I decided to get up half hour earlier in the day. Just some time to get up and stretch, do some core exercises and catch up on a little reading. It’s amazing what all you can accomplish in thirty minutes undisturbed. Then I went about my day as usual, doing the bulk of my news catching-up on my hour long train commute to the office.

What did I notice?

My mind seemed a lot sharper. Typically when I get to work, I’m still trying to wake up. When I got up earlier to do other things, especially exercising, I was more focused. I also had a tendency to arrive at work earlier as a result, giving me more undisturbed work time before any distractions could really kick in. There’s also a peace about the morning too. A quiet time that, as Shankman describes, being all about me.

I’m not saying that getting up early comes natural. I honestly love to sleep in. However, over time, I think this will eventually come second nature to me. A few tricks I do:

  • Drink a full glass of water when the alarm goes off
  • Make up my bed (thanks to mom for that one)
  • Start exercising a bit before I can talk myself out of it
  • Turn on some music.

These tricks will only get me so far. Like any other goal in life, getting up early, learning a new language, training for a marathon etc, it’s a decision. You have to make the decision on whether or not you really want to do something. If the desire is truly there, cool things can happen.

What do you all think? Does success come early?

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  • http://www.onlinemarketing.gwsmedia.com Lucyd

    Interesting stuff Drew, thanks. Whether it means getting up early (which in the business world can clearly be an advantage – as Peter Shenkman suggests) or staying up late, I think it’s very important to recognise when you do things best – meaning you can assign particular tasks to certain hours of the day when you know you will do them best.

  • http://www.onlinemarketing.gwsmedia.com Lucyd

    Interesting stuff Drew, thanks. Whether it means getting up early (which in the business world can clearly be an advantage – as Peter Shenkman suggests) or staying up late, I think it’s very important to recognise when you do things best – meaning you can assign particular tasks to certain hours of the day when you know you will do them best.

    • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

      Agree. A certain time of day for productivity is not a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. Just have to find what fits best for you.

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  • http://nickhuhn.com nickhuhn

    I don’t do it as often as I’d like to with a family and its obligations, but heck yeah it feels awesome to get more done between 5 and 9 AM than most get done all day. The absence of distractions is key when it comes to productivity and flow. :)

    • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

      It’s hard for me now and I don’t’ have those obligations yet. I’m curious to see how long my new resolution lasts after I get married later this year. I have a lot of respect for people with all that on their plate and still pull it off.

  • http://aprilhawk.wordpress.com April (Mom)

    Excellent Post!

    • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

      Thank you!

  • http://aprilhawk.wordpress.com April

    PS I love the picture of the kid…he does not look to thrilled to be awake!

    • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

      Thanks, I was really glad to have stumbled on that one. He probably wouldn’t like this post.

  • Jayhawk

    Excellent article! There is a lot that I never thought about. Andy Andrews talks about some of this, too in “The Traveler’s Gift”. One thing about his books is that they are all a relatively fast read. Enjoyed the post.

    • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

      Thanks. I need to read one of those books sometime. You all have said good things about them.

  • GVogedes

    I see no scientific evidence here. My quiet time or alone time is when everyone else is asleep..between midnight and 3 or 4 am. No phone calls, no interruptions, same as getting up early. I think it really depends on one’s internal clock.

    • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

      Absolutely. Different things work for different people. There’s not a universal truth in this post. I’m mainly observing some generic trends and experimenting to see what works for me.

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