My Journey From Night Owl to Early Bird
How I boosted my health and career by building a habit of waking up early.
For most of my life, including my teens and twenties, I was a committed night owl.
I’d regularly go to bed between midnight and 2am, and seldom wake up before 10am.
During that period of my life, I thought staying up late was for the cool and creative kids — and waking up early was for losers!
However, as I later found out, I was badly mistaken.
Living as a Night Owl
I was able to maintain the night owl lifestyle for many years due to initially being a semi-pro guitarist and then a full-time live audio engineer — both which lent themselves to getting up late and staying up late.
After my music industry career faltered, I found myself in London working in retail. However, by choosing the late shifts at work, I was able to stick to my tried-and-tested night owl routine.
I convinced myself that it felt good to wake up late and to start work late.
But it was around this time (when I was now in my mid-20s) that I began to notice something…
Namely, that the successful and high-achieving people at work were always the ones who started work bright and early.
For a while, I dismissed this as a coincidence. But the more I looked — the more I saw the same pattern.
The Beginnings of My Transformation Into an Early Bird
While I enjoyed my retail work, making ends meet in London on a low salary became increasingly hard to bear. So on the advice of a friend, I took an office job.
This paid quite a bit more than my retail job, but it did entail starting at 8:30am. Something that I hadn’t done since my school days!
I have to say, that for many weeks it was somewhat torturous. Not the job, but having to get up early and commute into the office.
It was my own fault really, as initially I didn’t make any effort to go to bed any earlier than usual. This led to my feeling completely exhausted after just a few weeks in the new role.
It was at that low point that I decided to sort out my sleeping schedule.
I made a concerted effort to go to bed around 11pm — giving me the opportunity to get eight hours of sleep before my alarm went off at 7am.
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy making this shift. But after a few weeks, I noticed that I’d started to turn the new routine into a habit. This led me to no longer feeling challenged or disturbed by having to wake up early.
Moving Into Full Early Bird Mode
Jumping forward many years, I’ve now crafted a successful career in communications and marketing.
My current role for a 2,000+ employee organisation involves going into the office most days of the week. And although there is no strict time for when staff need to start work, I’m pleased to say that I’m regularly one of the first people in the office, typically arriving before 8am.
This enables me to get a head start on the day’s work. Which typically means I’ve caught up on all my emails and planned my day’s work before any of my colleagues come into the office.
I also means that I usually have time to pop into our local Starbucks for a morning latte!
Why You Should Consider Becoming an Early Bird
I don’t have space in this post to tell you about all of the benefits of waking up early, but to give you a flavour of what you can gain, take a look at this list:
You’ll get to see the sunrise
You’ll have time to make yourself a healthy smoothie
You’ll have time to go for a morning walk
You’ll get ahead of the rush hour
You’ll be able to plan your day before you’re inundated with work
You’ll be able to finish work early and go home early
Waking Early is the Way Forward
As I’ve detailed above, it took me many years to transform myself from an night owl to an early bird.
Quite honestly, though, I wish I’d done it much quicker than that.
Because going to bed early and waking up early has given my health and career a major boost. I now have much more energy than before, and I also get a lot more done than I ever used to.
Even if you’re currently a committed night owl — I urge you to try a month of sleeping early and waking early.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Happy early rising!
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