In a world setup for morning people, how can night owls become successful?
Studies show that people who get up earlier than everyone else are more successful.
Of course they are! If you’re working a typical 8 am — 5 pm job (like pretty much everyone), then getting up early gives you a 3–4 hour head start.
Moreover, these 3–4 hours are productive.
While the rest of us use our time away from work to plop down for a Netflix binge, early risers are creating, doing, learning, etc.
Plus, if you’re waking up early, it’s not to watch Netflix (try telling someone you’re going to wake up at 4 am to watch Netflix — even reading that sounds ridiculous), so when you get up early, you will do productive things.
If you want to be successful, you really only have two choices:
- Become a morning person.
- Change what you’re doing with your 5 pm — 1 am (here’s a hint: not Netflix)
I’m not a morning person and I have only recently successfully changed what I’m doing with my free time after work. But, I only made these changes by testing and assessing the results.
- Becoming a morning person.
I tried simply setting my alarm for 4 am.
But, I found that staying up until midnight and forcing myself out of bed only worked about two times a week. And during those two days, I was generally mad at the world for anything and everything.
The solution: Focus on your bed time.
As night owls, we love staying up late. Once sleepiness sets in, our brains start pumping those creative juices and it gets tough to go to sleep.
Here’s a secret — this happens in the morning too.
Samuel Beam (aka — Iron and Wine) is one of my favorite artists. In an NPR Tiny Desk concert, Sam talks about using the morning to write, because it’s “close to the subconscious.”
I was never able to describe why my creativity picked up at night, but realized this is the reason. As I get tired, my creativity kicks in.
But, you can get this same feeling early in the morning. The key difference being that you won’t fall asleep on your keyboard.
Furthermore, you’ll feel like you accomplished something; thus, setting a great tone for the rest of your day.
2. Change what you’re doing with your 5 pm — 1 am
The other option we night owls have is changing our post-work routine.
Take a second and think about what you did after work yesterday.
Here’s my best guess (not necessarily in this order):
- Eat dinner
- Watch TV
- Browse social media
I would bet most of you did at least 2 of these 3 things. Some of you who may have browsed articles on the internet, which I classify under the third bullet, because you probably were using Twitter.
But, how can you expect to write, start a business, get healthy, etc. when you’re busy watching over 5 hours of TV?
Step 1: Turn off the TV (Phones and Tablets count too). In fact, just cancel your Netflix subscription, because you could be using that money for other things.
Step 2: Get up and go do whatever it is you’ve been dreaming of doing.
Let’s do some math.
5 hours of TV per day X 365 days per year = 1,825 hours per year
That’s just over 76 days each year that you’re sitting on a couch and watching TV.
Can you feel the time slipping away?
Before you decide which option is right for you, let’s go over a few big cons:
In other words, if you want to get up earlier, you have to go to bed earlier. Therefore, you’ll be missing out on some things that only happen at night.
Solution: Stream it!!!!
It’s 2018. Watch it on your phone, while you walk on a treadmill.
2. Friends don’t go to bed at 9 PM.
Solution: There isn’t much you can do to get around this. You can only control your actions.
Sometimes you have to sacrifice for what you want, which will mean missing out.
You just have to ask yourself…
Unfortunately, these options are not magic solutions.
I am not Morpheus.
You are not Neo (but how cool would that be?).
You’ll have to experiment with each to find the one you prefer.
If you choose option 1, there are countless articles and books out there about “how to become a morning person.”
They all basically come down to being disciplined and going to bed at the same time each night, until it becomes habitual.
Other than Gary Vaynerchuk I haven’t seen many people promote option 2.
So, if you go that route, I recommended reading his books and following his lead.
The choice for night owls is quite binary. But, if you follow through on one of these, you will find yourself achieving your goals.
Remember, the true key to success is focus and perseverance.
If you make time to focus on your goal and persevere through the ups and downs, you’ll get there.