Scott Hodge


Early Risers & Productivity

Dec 10, 2010

Just read an interesting article on the correlation between getting up early and productivity.  I don’t know about you, but overall, I am way more productive on days when I’m up early than on days I’m not.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned about myself in regards to staying up late and waking early:

  • For the most part, staying up late is unproductive and a waste of time.
  • It took me a long time to admit that.
  • It’s also the time of greatest temptation and negative thinking for me – especially when I’m tired or exhausted.
  • I am very cautious about trusting my emotions or thought processes when I’m tired.
  • Getting up early sucks.  But only until I’m a few minutes into my shower.
  • Sleeping in sucks even more.  I hardly ever feel good after sleeping in.  I feel groggy, tired, and out of it for several hours.
  • Having time to get quiet, read, journal, write, and spend time in solitude is one of the most important parts of my day.  If I try to have that time without getting up early it seldom works.
  • My ideal amount of sleep is 5-6 hours.
  • I’m not a “natural” early riser.
  • I use my iPhone as my alarm clock and keep it plugged in far away from my bed so that I’m forced to get up and shut it off.  Otherwise, snooze will win.

Here are some interesting snippets from the 99% article:

  • Early risers tend to have a more proactive – and thus productive – mindset…
  • If you’re getting up early, you probably already have a good idea of what you want to accomplish that day – otherwise it would be hard to motivate to get up in the first place.
  • Being an early riser also indicates a natural affinity for ritual and discipline – both key traits of especially productive people.
  • You accomplish tons of meaningful work before most people even get started – allowing you to coast through the rest of your day with a sense of achievement and significantly less anxiety.

How about you? Are you an early riser?  If so, is it natural for you?  If not, how did you develop the discipline to do it?

Read some good tips on rising early in the 99% article here.

9 Responses to “Early Risers & Productivity”

  1. Oh man. This is so completely true, and also so hard to practice for unstructured folks like me…

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott Hodge, Jeanne Stevens, Scott Harris, Nick Poole, Mike Rowell and others. Mike Rowell said: RT @scotthodge: early risers & productivity. new blog post. [...]

  3. Appreciate the article, Scott.

    I hit control-alt-delete on my daily rhythm 5 weeks ago and am reaping tremendous creative benefits from early morning spiritual disciplines and exercise.

    Good stuff!

  4. Patrick says:

    H.A.L.T (hungry, angry, lonely, tired). Never make decisions if feeling any of the halts. I was never an early riser until starting at the fire department. Now even more with little ones it’s hard to sleep past 6. The Pro alarm clock app for iPhone works great. Not only an alarm, but it makes you do a math problem to shut the alarm off

  5. Rachel Schwenke says:

    Love it! I always feel more productive, and much more importantly, more spiritually centered when I rise early.

    If I sleep past 8:30 a.m., I feel like a bum!

    I completely agree with the shower comment too. I NEED a good shower in the morning to get me in the right attitude before I start writing, talking to God, or talking to anyone, really.

  6. Pat says:

    I’m a night owl by nature. For me, I’ve found I’m most productive when I make up my mind to be so. Granted, when I’m up early, I have more time to get things done, but too often when I do wake up early, I lay in bed trying to go back to sleep. Sometimes I’ll spend the time praying and meditating, getting myself into a calm state of mind for starting the day. But even on days when I sleep in, if I wake up purposeful to get some things done I can do it. I’ve even been known on occasion to work late into the night going through papers and getting organized. But I suppose one can train their body to do either one. Like the first person who commented, it may be that I’m just an unstructured person who resents demands on my time, but I’m learning to let go of that.

  7. Patricia says:

    I have always been an early riser and usually wake up before the alarm starts ringing. I get to work around 30 minutes early which gives me a leg up on the rest of the day. Most of my department doesn’t get in for another hour so it gives me an hour of relative quiet. I find I get more work done in that 60 minutes than any other period of the day.

    I believe a lot of this is because my parents were/are the same way. Mom was always up to get us up for school because dad did shift work until we were in high school. Now that he’s retire, he is still up by 6 during the week and 7 on the weekends. It’s just who he is and who I am.

  8. [...] Early starts and productivity: Scott Hodge on it….. [...]

  9. Doug says:


    Define “early” for you…….

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