Is It Better To Be An Early Bird or A Night Owl?

Jake Wells

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Are you a night owl? Or maybe you're an early bird?

Getting up early or staying up late to do your work is a preference. From an energy perspective it makes sense to get up early. The problem arises when you don't give your body time to adjust. Getting up an hour or two earlier may require a process of steps. For example, a mid-day nap might be in order.

There’s no one right way to approach this. If you’re in a season of life with small children or a job that requires a high level of mental energy, staying up a little later could be your right approach.

Again, discovering what works best for you will require trial and error. Early mornings or late nights can lead to exhaustion. Decide what fits into the season of life you’re currently living.

When it comes to morning versus evening hustle, there’s a third option that’s more balanced: get up a few minutes earlier and stay up a few minutes later.

This approach doesn't throw your body off as much and allows you to use your lunch hour as the focal point of the day. Instead of waking up an hour earlier, get up half-an-hour or fifteen minutes earlier. Because it's not a shocking change to the body, you’ll adjust to this pretty easily. This half-hour is warm-up time. You’re likely not really awake yet, so focus on tasks that don't require much energy.

All morning long your subconscious keeps moving forward on work you’ve already started. Momentum builds all morning, so when lunchtime comes, dedicate your time to work. You’ll be surprised at how much work can be accomplished in just one hour. Whatever you don't finish, spend some time with it later in the evening.

Keep in mind that hustling in the margins is not a long-term approach. At some point you’ll have to decide whether or not your side project is something you want to turn into a main project. This is not an easy decision, but your health and well being, as well as your relationships with your family and friends, depend on your answer. Be honest with yourself and set expectations and limits. You can have a side business that’s really just a hobby. You don't need to be a full-time, self-employed entrepreneur to be happy. Don't fall into the myth of all or nothing. Define your expectations and be clear about them with yourself and with anyone else who might be affected by your decision.

A Simple Way to Save Time No Matter What

Staying organized is a simple way to save time, as many of us have messy workspaces covered with piles of paper. Since we have a finite amount of mental energy, why waste it on ruffling through information on your desk? When you get a document, do something with it.

There are really only four options:

1. Add it to your to-do list.

2. If you need to hang on to the paper or email, file it away in a folder (electronic or analog).

3. If you don't need the paper any longer, pass it on or get rid of it.

4. Do it immediately.

If you're not sure, ask how long would it take to retrieve this information again? Would a Google search provide the necessary information? Is it possible to download the document from a website? If the answer is yes, get rid of it. If it would take more than an email, phone call, or Google search to recover the information, keep it. You can use an app like Evernote to file it away electronically instead of having an excessive amount of physical folders. Evernote allows you to tag items so they’re just a few keystrokes away. You can make it as simple or as advanced as you'd like.

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