Getting up Early in the Morning

«Be helpful to your future self.»

When do you get up and what do you use as an alarm clock?

Many people use their smartphone — and not only as an alarm, but also for social media/chatting in bed. Which is not ideal as it is likely to reduce the sleep quality. It also means that when sleeping with the smartphone, it is always in arms length, making it easy to «snooze» or turn off the alarm completely. Even putting it out of reach (and not using it in bed) does not work if you wear a smartwatch that let’s you turn off the alarm.

Thus, I have recommended using an old fashioned alarm clock. It forces you to leave the bed and turn it off manually, and once you have done so, it’s much easier to just stay up and start the day. Sure, first you want to kill your past self, but, hey, that past self is gone. And after all, you are already «up» and walked across the room.

(It also allows you to continue to wear a smartwatch that shows you the time when you wake up at night, wakes you softly by vibrating — before the alarm clock gives it aversive wake-up sound, and that measures the amount of sleep and (somewhat) the sleep quality.)

And there are advantages that follow when you get up early:

  • Easier commute: Even just walking to work is nicer as the streets are relatively empty.
  • Distraction free work at the office: Especially in open-plan offices, you can get in an hour or two without being disturbed.
  • Leaving work when there is still part of the day left: If you usually work from 9 to 5, starting at 7 means ending the work day at 3, meaning there is lots of the day left.

Of course, being somewhat out-of-sync with the usual work-times, much depends on the employer. Also, appointments after 3 prevent leaving «early» — or rather «on time». But if the environment is flexible enough, just remove that time on Friday. I find that using a shared calendar, blocking the times from 3 to 8 pm so they cannot be used by colleagues for appointments, works very well. If there is an appointment that has to be at that time, you can simply change the Friday blocker to start earlier. A quick and easy way to avoid … well, over-committing to work (a problem if you love your work, but need to establish healthy boundaries).

So yeah, something to try out. I’m doing it for … hmmm, years(?) and would not want to miss it. And I am or rather was a night owl.