The Early Bird Doesn’t Always Get the Worm

It’s almost impossible for me to be productive before 10 AM, and even that is probably pushing it. It’s not that I haven’t tried waking up early to get a good start to my day; I have done so plenty of times. But every time I try to wake up early—because all the productivity-hacks claim this will cause wonders for my motivation—I fall flat and end up doing nothing all day.

I find it much easier to stay up late and get things done. While some people find the idea of doing things in the evening exhausting, the late hours of the night are more appealing to me than the early hours of the morning. I am most at ease at night, and I feel like I have all the time in the world to accomplish the things I want or need to do. Even if I’ve had a busy day, staying up late to accomplish things on my to-do list is easier for me to do than getting to bed at a reasonable time and waking up early the next day.

I’ve found that by the time I get home from a long day of work or school, I’ve hyped myself up to get all the things done that I hadn’t finished earlier in the day. I have the motivation to get ahead on tasks by the point in the night when any reasonable person would be in bed. Not only that, but I typically have more creativity to work on projects that seem too frivolous during the daylight hours. 

On the other hand, if I talk myself into going to bed at a “reasonable” hour and waking up early, I find it far too easy to hit snooze half a dozen times and ultimately do nothing besides sleep in. Or, if I do manage to drag myself out of bed, all the motivation I had from the previous night has vanished and I might as well have not woken up early at all.

The problem is that the world is made for early birds to succeed.

While realizing I’m my most productive self at night might seem like a good thing, the fact is, many of the things I need to do occur early in the morning, from required classes to work to appointments. Our nine-to-five society has made it so people like me—who would rather sleep until noon and stay awake until two in the morning—can’t possibly get by without sacrificing the most productive part of their day (or night, in this case) in favour of getting enough sleep to wake up early.

Forcing myself into the role of an early bird just to get by means that I often find myself unable to get as much done as I might want to, because the time I’m most motivated to do these things has been lost. Instead, I wake up early and trudge through the day, only to finally have the motivation to get things done when I should be getting ready for bed.

I might be able to force myself to wake up early if I have to, but I don’t see why I should have to, nor why there is such a negative attitude surrounding staying up late. I realize that typically the thought is that staying up late means less sleep and waking up early implies being well-rested, but that isn’t always the case. It’s just as possible to wake up early and be unrested the same way someone saying up later could be.

I’ve found that despite feeling like I should love waking up early to feel motivated, it’s just not the right fit for me. I’m better off staying up late and finishing the tasks when I’m motivated, rather than trying to force myself to be motivated on someone else’s schedule. Even if I end up being a little more tired when other commitments force me awake the next morning, at least I don’t have to mourn the loss of my motivation and stare sadly at a to-do list lacking completion. 

Why be ashamed of being a night owl just because it isn’t looked on as favourably as being an early bird? In the end, all that matters is that you’re completing the things you need to do, so why not do those things when you feel best about doing them?

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