Does The Early Bird Really Get The Worm?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Question: Does the early bird really get the worm? Several studies have been conducted regarding the link between early risers and success in the workplace. In fact, I recently read an article discussing the habits of some of the most powerful women in the world. Each of the women discussed in the article wake up before dawn, work out, and then head off to work. While reading the article, I immediately began thinking about my own personal habits. I typically wake up at 7 A.M. every morning during the work week. If I’m feeling really inspired, I may wake up at 6 A.M. and head to the gym for an hour…this doesn’t happen often! But this article got me to thinking whether I would be more successful if I woke up before dawn instead of 2 hours later. Am I cheating myself professionally?

As the article continued, it cited a 2008 University of North Texas study that observed that students identified as “morning people” typically earned higher grades. The article also cited several other studies that seem to indicate that early risers tend to perform better in the workplace. Interesting! But why is it that early risers perform better in the workplace? I’ve discussed this issue at various times with some of my colleagues. One of my early riser colleagues argues that getting in the office at least an hour earlier affords her the time to get work done while the office is still quiet, which translates to higher productivity in the morning. Another early riser colleague noted that waking up early allows him to work out in the morning before heading into the office, which clears his mind and makes him more alert throughout the day. Yet another early riser colleague of mine states that waking early simply give her an extra couple of hours to “catch her bearings” so that by 9 A.M. she is fully awake and ready to go….which she believes gives her an edge up on those who are just getting started at 9 A.M.

While these are each valid arguments in favor of waking up early, do they answer the question at hand: do early birds really get the worm? I can personally vouch for each of my early riser colleagues…they are all very successful in their respective fields. And not just successful…they are superstars! So maybe early risers do have an edge!

In my experience, I do tend to be more productive at work when I arrive at least an hour before the actual work day starts. I focus more because I am less distracted by the customary hustle and bustle of the office. In fact, I come up with my best ideas during this time. Given all of these benefits that stem from waking up early, you would think that I would do it more…this is something I definitely need to work on! I would hate to be cheating myself out of a more beneficial and successful career.

While I am not completely prepared to conclusively state that the early bird does in fact get the worm, I do think it is an experiment worth trying. After all, as professionals we should always look for ways to improve upon ourselves. With all of this in mind, my questions to you all is:

1. Are you an early riser? If so, how has this character trait been beneficial to you and your career?

2. If you are not an early riser, would you be interested in experimenting with waking up earlier to see if it improves your job performance?

As number 2 appears to apply to me, my answer is YES! But let me know your thoughts!

To see the article discussed in this post, Click Here!

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