Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up every day at 3:45 a.m. I tried doing it for a week, and it made me shockingly productive.
- Tim Cook wakes at 3:45 a.m. to get a head start on his workday, with time for exercise and email.
- I tried his schedule for a week to see if it improved my productivity.
- I loved the extra time to work, and the way it let me communicate with East Coast colleagues right at the start of their day, but it wreaked havoc with my evenings and sleep schedule.
- Here are my observations about trying to adjust to Tim Cook's early morning schedule.
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Starting the day ludicrously early seem to be a badge of honor for CEOs like Apple's Tim Cook, who famously gets out of bed at 3:45 a.m. every day.
Cook is far from the only one - Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey, and Bob Iger are just some executives who wake up hours before the rest of us.
Could keeping that kind of schedule be some sort of magic elixir that unlocks the keys to productivity and success?
I am a full-time work-from-home freelancer, so in principle, I have the flexibility to set my own hours. Typically, I get up around 6:30 a.m., and after exercising, I'm ready to start my workday around 8 a.m.
But there are never even remotely enough hours in my day. I constantly juggle endless tight deadlines, phone interviews, a daily deluge of email, and the need to record, produce, and edit a weekly podcast. I generally work until about 7 p.m., but there are days when I continue to sit in front of a monitor until bedtime.
Could something as simple as sliding my wake-up time back a few hours help me to take better control of my day? I decided to reset my alarm for a week - Monday to Friday - to see if Tim Cook's wakeup routine could make a difference.
Here's how my week of waking up like an Apple CEO went for me.
SUNDAY: I went to bed at 8:30 p.m., which ended up being the earliest I'd go to sleep for the rest of the week.
MONDAY: I felt energized and optimistic after the 3:45 a.m. wakeup and workout.
TUESDAY: I noticed my eating habits change as I snacked numerous times throughout the day, but I also noticed waking up so early on the West Coast has its productivity perks.
WEDNESDAY: I had little sleep and felt sluggish after skipping my workout.
THURSDAY: The lack of sleep impacted my ability to work.
FRIDAY: I felt energized and was back on schedule with my exercise and work routine. I tackled work projects by dividing my time into short chunks.
Looking back, I realized it can be hard to replicate the habits of successful people without knowing their motives behind the activity. After the experiment, I decided to adopt a new wakeup time of 4:30 a.m.
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