Los Angeles, CA
I set my alarm for 6:30am. I woke up at 5am.
I get more work done when I'm up early and finish a morning writing/workout before 7am because it takes me at least a full hour to answer/write/triage my email surplus from the previous day, not to mention trying to keep up with whatever hit my inbox from the previous night. It would take me longer, but I only limit myself to one hour of email maintenance per day.
My best creative work happens when I'm up before the dawn and get all that petty bullshit out of the way, including eating, and especially making sure all of the sites are running smoothly. Some days I'm rushing to catch up and before I know it, it's 2pm and I haven't done a lick of my work.
On the flip side, some of the more "out there" bits of creativity happen between 3am and 6am -- if I've been up all night. That's one of the few blessings of insomnia -- when you're sleeping, I'm prowling the hallways of my mind extracting creative bits of rock that get pounded out into actual precious metals.
Or something like that.
I read something from a successful trader on Wall Street pontificating that the two biggest keys to success included eating good food and getting up early. Ha...he never mentioned anything specific about his industry because he felt as though what really made him successful was his willingness to get rest and eat healthy. Those choices set himself in front of the herd. Obviously, it takes a little more than just those two lifestyle changes to succeed in life, but I'm assuming that he's comparing himself to his peers and colleagues -- and that they are all relatively equal in skills and intelligence. He simply cited the two things in his life that he feels as though gives him an edge...nut not just an edge...a winning edge.
But as a trader, he works in a timed environment -- the markets are open at specific times and he has a Monday through Friday (M-F) lifestyle. As a writer, there's no linear schedule to adhere to, but I learned something extremely helpful -- the majority of my audience is part of the linear and M-F lifestyle. If I want my snark to jive with their lives, then I have to be able to run parallel to their schedule.
I dunno if that makes any sense to anyone except me.
That trader might be onto something about his keys to success. Maybe not. The "eat good food" aspect was proven to help -- when you eat better quality food, your body feels better, which affects your creativity. Food is also linked to booze. If you drink too much and wake up hungover, it's harder to get your body in a state of normalcy. Some days, you're hungover until late afternoon and that destroys all types of productivity.
I don't care if you're Picasso or Jimmy Page or Fat Tony the bookie or Niles the bond trader -- if you feel like ass, it's harder to work.
One thing is certain: good food or abundant sleep is debatable. However, I definitely feel better mentally when I wake up early and crank out a ton of work by noon, because that inflated sense of self-worth is a power-boost that often carries over into the afternoon. It's infectious. When all is said and done -- more is done than said on those days.
Yeah, waking up early is one of the obvious keys to getting you shit together. But you really have to push yourself once you're up, otherwise, you get into a rut where you're just dicking around You Tube watching old hip hop videos, yapping on the phone with a friend gossiping about petty shit, or flipping through the 1,000 channels on the boob tube and settling on a random episode of Law & Order that you've seen six times already, or worse, you're taking part in a retarded Facebook meme.
Or even worse -- you're dicking around writing "new agey" posts stating the fucking obvious.