Early Bird or Night Owl? Part 1: Up Early? Being Productive Before 7am

May 22, 2017

Are you happy, focused, and productive in the morning? Or is nighttime when you thrive?

Whether you’re an “early bird” or “night owl,” you likely have habits that are less than efficient. In this two-part series, we explore how to maximize productivity during your preferred waking hours. After all, we’re almost two different species, and what works for one group doesn’t necessarily work for the other.

Let’s start with the early birds—those select few for whom “sleeping in” isn’t in their vocabulary. While everyone else is still fast asleep or hitting the snooze button, early birds are wide awake and ready to take on the day.

How do you maximize your productivity during those early hours? Here are a few proven techniques!

1. Listen to Your Body

If you find that you’re mentally at your best before 7am, don’t try to sleep in like everyone else. Hitting that snooze button won’t do you any favors. Working with, not against, your natural body clock will ensure you get a lot more done and compound your success.

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with signing off for the day at 3pm if you’ve been working since 6 or 7am!

2. Get a Head Start

Waking up early gives you a chance to mentally and physically prepare for your day. While you can prepare the night before, if you’re not at your best, your planning would likely be scatter-brained and foggy.

The added bonus of waking up early is the extra time it allows you to watch the news, exercise, meditate, eat a healthy breakfast, and prepare your to-do list. After 7am, there’s still plenty to do, so if you can get a head start planning and preparing for the day, you won’t be rushing out the door in a state of panic and chaos.

Speaking of planning, as an early bird, your energy is likely to peak mid-morning and begin to decline around lunch time. Allow for this shift in energy levels by making your day top-heavy. In other words, get the most done (especially the tasks you’re dreading) in those early morning hours, so that they’re not hanging over your head later in the day, killing your mood and draining your energy.

3. Work on Your Personal Projects

If you work a full-time corporate job and are early to rise, your evenings may be shot, but the morning hours are yours for the taking. Rising early leaves you with time to work on your personal project—whether it’s writing a book, arts and crafts, preparing to launch your own business, or performing DIY projects around the house.

The early morning hours are the perfect time to work on things that are important to you because your mind is fresh and your energy levels are probably at their peak. Besides, before 7am there are minimal interruptions, so you’re more likely to make substantial progress on your personal projects in relative peace.

4. Go to Bed Earlier

As the saying goes, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” If you’re up early, make sure you go to bed early as well. This will ensure that you get enough rest and can make the most of your waking hours.

Not sure how early to go to bed? Your body will likely tell you when it’s ready to shut down and reboot for the night. But, if you want to get technical, you can always calculate backwards from your natural waking time, then try to schedule your bedtime so that you get in the recommended hours of sleep. For adults ages 18-64, the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting 7-9 hours of sleep. So if you typically wake up by 5am, you should shoot for being in bed by 10pm. Implement your new bedtime gradually if needed to allow your body time to adjust.

5. Clear Your Mind

You may be early to rise, but sometimes you’re not in the mood to work or write to-do lists at the crack of dawn! If that’s the case, use your quiet early morning hours to give yourself a mental “pause.” Whether it’s listening to music, meditating, or doing some light reading, disconnecting can be just as productive as tackling hard tasks.

Without a clear mind, it can be hard to focus, so fuel your energy stores and center yourself by taking a time-out now and again before 7am.

Are You an Early Bird?

You may have burnt the midnight oil in the past, but a study at the University of Toronto shows that early birds are happier, healthier, and more proactive than their late-night counterparts. So if you haven’t given the whole “early to rise” thing a chance, give it a try—you may be missing out on a more successful you.

Does the thought of waking up early fill you with dread? Are you more focused between midnight and 2am? You may just be a night owl. Look out for Part 2 in our “Early Bird or Night Owl?” series to find out how you can be productive, too.


  1. I enjoy looking through a post that will make men and women think.
    Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  2. Alexander Jacques Sabucido

    There’s a lot of ways for us to be productive. This would be a huge help.

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