I got up at 4:30am the other day. Just like the growing army of entrepreneurs do, except not quite as early. It's usually about 4am for them, I think.
I didn’t want to get up at 4:30am and I didn’t feel any better for doing so, especially after having gone to bed at about midnight the night before. I didn’t go to the gym at 5am, have a gallon of coffee and start work at 6am, as per the 'hustle and grind' routine. Instead, I watched kids’ TV for a bit, walked the dog and had breakfast. I did fit all that in before 7am, though.
The reason I was up at that time was out of my control. The clocks went back, you see. And, as parents of young kids will know, the clocks going back causes mayhem for about a week. Kids don’t know the clocks have gone back, so they wake up at what they think is normal waking up time. They couldn’t give two shits about the extra hour in bed.
If my little boy woke up at his normal time he should have been making a racket about 5:20am (which would have been 6:20am the morning before – bloody clocks). This day of all days, however, he decided to get up a little bit earlier, knowing fine well he could take a nap at some point – any point – later in the day.
4:30am for me meant bedtime was at least 17 hours away. I counted down every one.
By midday, I was knackered. Ready for my pit. Productivity levels were through the floor. Actually, any inkling of me being arsed about the day disappeared the moment I stepped outside to walk the dog and got slapped in the face by the cold wind.
According to the daily routine of many a LinkedIn entrepreneur, midday should have seen at least four solid hours of work already in the bag. I should have been gearing up for a bite to eat before cracking on with a big afternoon session.
All I wanted to do was fall asleep in front of the tele.
Usually, on a ‘normal’ day, I get up between 6am and 7am, partly because I have to – kids are up, dog’s crying up the stairs – and partly because I’m used to it. I’ve been getting up at that time for years, it's fine for me.
I could never, ever get up at 4am willingly. I don’t go to the gym. But if I did, I wouldn’t choose to go at 5am. And I don’t drink coffee in the morning. I drink tea.
These crazy productive routines that ‘gooroos’ recommend are great… for THEM.
It doesn’t mean, they’re great for you.
Your life is not their life. They might suggest filming a new marketing video at 8am when energy levels are high and you're feeling all amped. You might be crying into your bowl of Weetabix at that time.
They might recommend writing in the early afternoon. Your brain might not even kick into gear until 9pm.
You don’t have to wake up at daft o’clock in the morning to be successful.
Unless that's what works for you, of course.
There are all kinds of articles talking about how Apple’s Tim Cook is up and at ‘em at 3:45am, or how Richard Branson starts plotting space trips at five in the morning. Fewer mention Winston Churchill waking up at 7am, rolling at of bed at 11am and having an hour-and-a-half nap at 5pm. Or Mark Zuckerberg getting up at 8am-ish. Or Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, using his cat as an alarm clock to get up sometime in the mid-morning.
Find a routine that suits you and go with that.
Oh, and don’t let anyone tell you to sacrifice sleep in favour of the ‘hustle and grind’. You sleep for as long as you need to sleep, you hear me?