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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

Why "You Need to Be a Morning Person" is Really Bad Advice

I am not just a morning person, I am an uber morning person.

I spring out of bed at a time of day when roosters wouldn’t even think about getting up. Sans alarm. I require no coffee to become sentient. I need no quiet, alone time to become comfortable before interacting with other humans. In fact, all I want to do when I get up is be active, talk to people, do work, run around, and burn off excess energy.

I am a morning person through and through, so please trust me when I say this: Morning people need to shut up.

Somehow, we’ve turned into a society that shines a blessed light on morning people as a rare form of human that is more productive, healthier, and a bastion of how to operate more efficiently in life. It seems like nearly once a week I see an article telling the world why it’s so important to wake up earlier. We point to studies showing that you can be more productive in the morning, and we offer tips and pointers for how you can turn yourself into a morning person (as if we were zombies and recruiting people for our horde).

But the truth is, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole is not always the way to go. Here at The Muse, I’m amazed by how many productive, insanely smart people I work with who would rather die than get up early. So they don’t. Some of them enjoy staying up late and working between the hours of 2 and 4 AM—it’s when they feel at their most focused and productive. (And they arguably are more productive, since they’re not getting bombarded by emails). Just because I naturally get up earlier than them doesn’t mean I’m more productive or a better worker—mornings are when I do my best work, and the evenings or the wee hours of the night is when they do theirs.

There always has been and will continue to be advice articles that tell you studies show acting one way or another is the only way to act. I don’t totally buy this, and neither should you. If you really want to be your most productive self, and the best employee possible, find out what works for you. Test out getting up really early and see how you like it. If it’s a pain-inducing process, stop. Pay attention to when you are most alert, focused, and productive, and build your schedule around those times.

They key to productivity is being truthful with yourself, instead of trying to be something you’re not. So on behalf of all morning people, please excuse our yelling while you try to sleep in.

Photo of alarm clock courtesy of Shutterstock.