A productivity expert says there's one huge myth about how to get more stuff done during the day
For example, you might start setting your alarm for 4:30 a.m., a la Michelle Obama, who uses the wee hours to work out.
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Along the way, he learned that the biggest myth around productivity is that waking up early will make you more productive.Bailey discovered this idea firsthand, during what he calls the most challenging of his experiments: waking up at 5:30 a.m. every day (except weekends and holidays).
After some struggling, he managed to maintain the habit for a few weeks - until he realized that a) he hated it, and b) it wasn't making him any more productive.When I spoke with Bailey, he told me people often have a "fantasy of being an early riser who wakes up early to go to the gym and meditate. But in practice the idea of that change is so much sexier than what we have to do to actually make that happen."As Bailey writes in "The Productivity Project," when he started waking up at 5:30 a.m., he also tried to go to sleep by 9:30 p.m.
But since Bailey's a self-proclaimed night owl, that meant he often had to stop and get ready for bed right when he had the most energy, focus, and creativity.
"I couldn't stand quitting work when I was 'in the zone' late at night," he writes. "And I discovered I much preferred to meditate, work out, read, and plan out my day later on in the day, when I had more energy and attention to bring to the task."
On his blog, "A Life of Productivity," he cites a TED Talk by circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster, in which Foster says there's no known difference in socioeconomic status between early birds and night owls. In other words, waking up early is not associated with being more successful.
Recent research also supports Bailey's suggestion that certain people are simply not wired to wake up early. A study of nearly 90,000 people who had their genomes sequenced by 23andMe found that your DNA may help determine whether you're a morning or an evening person.Bottom line: If you've tried waking up insanely early and it's not helping you, it may be time to ditch the habit.
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