Prime Time Productivity
by Emi Knape | published Feb. 26th, 2021
Mornings — every bird’s favorite time but every worm’s worst nightmare, or in this case, college students' worst nightmare. When asked what people’s least favorite part about college is, the answer will most likely be something related to “waking up early for my 8 a.m. classes,” or simply “having to get up before noon.” However, for some steadfast, strong-willed students, waking up early and starting the day is actually something they strive to do on a consistent basis.
As the sun rises in the morning, most students respond by pulling their covers over their faces and trying to avoid the inevitable new day. For Stephen Fritz, a first year Physics student, his morning is already nearly over.
“Depending on the day, I usually get up at around 4:30-5:30 a.m,” Stephen stated. “Some days I’ll get up as early as 3:30 a.m.”
Steven’s early morning motivation is stimulated by waking up and working out right away in order to “get it over with.” This is then followed by taking a shower, eating breakfast and then working on homework until he has class; a routine that takes some college students all day to do!
While waking up at 3:30 a.m and working out may not encourage others to do the same, waking up early in general has triggered the desire for people to get work and impending tasks done right away.
This seems to be the case for Andrew Weston, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering Technology student, who starts his days at 5:45 a.m.
“I like to be up early ... I find that I get more work done earlier in the day,” said Stephen. “I feel more productive and I, more or less, have afternoons and evenings free.”
Getting a good night’s rest is also important for a productive morning and this is more likely to be achieved by having the determination to get homework done first thing in the morning.
By pushing themselves to get up early and getting a jumpstart on work, students are less likely to spend late nights cramming for a test or working on last minute homework. They are instead more likely to go to bed early and get a significant amount of sleep.
Even for early risers, waking up in the morning can still be difficult and may sometimes feel like you’re just going through the motions. Despite this, once awake, people feel more motivated to make the most of their time. Whereas, sleeping in can actually increase fatigue and drowsiness, leading to a lack of stimulation and urge for
“It helps me get motivated and get work done rather than staying in bed until noon.” Andrew said. “I find a lot of the times when I sleep in, it gets a lot harder to get momentum and start doing things.”
Similarly, waking up early helps to power up the brain, putting people in good mentalities to start everyday tasks. This is especially helpful for Stephen, whose devotion to waking up early gives him the extra boost of mental preparation before his Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps regiments, which usually don’t start until 6-7 a.m.
“Having a couple hours lead-up time to activate myself puts me in the [right] mindset,” Stephen said.
Getting in a positive, productive mindset early on will help fuel your motivation for the rest of the day and make it easier to push through daunting tasks that could take up the majority of your day.
Still Not Convinced?
Waking up early obviously isn’t easy and many people yawn at the mere thought of waking up while it’s still dark outside. While starting the day early does elicit motivation for the rest of the day, it nonetheless takes motivation to follow an early morning schedule on a consistent basis and even get out of bed when the dreaded alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m.
Stephen stated, “There are days when I wake up and feel like ... life sucks and I want to throw myself off a building, but for the most part, I do enjoy it and it does make me feel more productive and happy with what I can accomplish during that time.”
The initial feeling of death may be worth it though, for the fact that early risers typically have a higher chance of success.
For those whose productivity is achieved during the mornings, success is just around the corner. Morning motivation is linked with "better job performance, greater career success and higher wages," according to Harvard Business Review.
Additionally, waking up early has shown to have many significant benefits ranging from reducing stress, procrastinating less and having a positive attitude. Similarly, early risers tend to live a healthier lifestyle.
People who go to bed later tend to eat more fast food and not as many fruit and vegetables than those who are early to bed and early to rise, according to a study by Northwestern University. That same study talked about how night owls have a harder time creating a workout or fitness schedule and following through with them.
As hard as it may be to climb out of the cozy cocoon you have cuddled up into, waking up earlier has proven to have a significant effect on those who make the conscious effort to do so on a consistent basis. While there are exceptions, creating an early morning routine and sticking to it will not only have immediate benefits of increased productivity, but an increased chance of success down the road.
While it’s not necessary to get up as early as 3:30 a.m., or even as early as 5:00 a.m, slowly waking up a half hour earlier each morning until you find a time that sticks may make a difference in even the simplest aspects, such as your attitude or mood.
So, set your alarm to your favorite song, create a morning routine or to-do list and see for yourself how beneficial becoming an early bird can be!