How to Get Shit Done - Part II - Morning or Night Person?
Updated: Mar 25
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Ok, now on to the meat of the matter: How to Get Shit Done.
This week I'm throwing you a softball. You don’t need a test to figure this one out! This post will be fairly brief, but filled with useful suggestions.
With regards to productivity, the reason being a night person or a morning person matters is more about when your brain is at its best than when you go to bed and wake up. The question is, when is your brain most like the muscle emoji?
(If that’s after a very specific number of cups of coffee, fair)
Once you have the answer, reserve that time for your most important work. You’ll need to guard that time like it’s precious – because it is. In the Reflection Questions section, you’ll find a list of suggestions for systems to make sure you stay focused during your most productive time.
In my case, I’m a morning person, so I save the morning for:
The hardest task of the day
Hard or important emails
I may work on these things in the afternoon, too, but I don’t hit send or publish until my fresh morning brain has had a look-see.
Now, I’m naturally a morning person. But that doesn’t mean I spring out of bed at 6 a.m. like a dog that just heard the leash jangling.
If only I could get that kind of air.
No, I want to smash the alarm clock when it goes off like the rest of humanity.
My solution? This is where the trickery comes in, my friends.
I set an analog alarm clock with a suuuuper annoying sound and put it across the room. Even my Olympic-medal-winning snooze skills can’t get around it. I have to actually get out of bed to turn it off. Plus, I know the other human in my bed will murder me if I get up and snooze it just so I can get back into bed. Death seems slightly less desirable than 10 more minutes of sleep, even at 6 a.m.
And boom! We’re up, people!
(I also like to remind myself that there’s a power nap waiting for me after lunch – my best brain reset tool).
Here’s a key point of this How to Get Shit Done series: Don’t expect to change your nature. Work with it or trick it into giving you the results you want. I want to be someone who jumps out of bed every morning, but that’s not my nature. Instead of fighting it, I recognize it, accept it, and then find a way around it.
If you do your best work in the evening or at night, you’ll need to find similar tricks to jump start your designated work time. None of us can afford to wait until we feel inspired. Inspiration comes through action. Sit down and start working so inspiration has a chance to strike.
One last thing. A lot of successful people talk about waking up early. Will Mitchell makes the argument that all successful entrepreneurs wake up early and that sleeping in “because you’re a night person” is just an excuse. Something to consider if you’re trying to work at night and not getting much done.
Knowing yourself here is not about what time to set the alarm clock for. It’s about knowing when you create magic and then creating routines around that.
(Oops, another dirty word – routines. Routines and habits, my friend! That’s what it’s all about. Get with it)
a) Figure out your most productive chunk of time in the day.
b) Treat it as sacred (set up systems to protect it)
c) Use this time for your most valuable work.
1. What is your most valuable chunk of time in the day?
From _____ to ______
2. What do you want to use this time for?
3. What systems will you use to protect this time?
☐ An alarm to wake up early/start working
☐ Scheduling out your day the night before/morning of
☐ Blocking out the time on your calendar
☐ Scheduling do not disturb mode on your phone
☐ Do not disturb sign on workspace door
☐ Text an accountability buddy when starting and ending
☐ Use the CommitTo3 app
☐ Reward (e.g. 15 min of your favorite zone out activity when completed)
☐ Punishment (e.g., 50 pushups for not doing your work, or agreement with friend to pay each other $20 each time you don’t do your work. Pick a punishment that hurts just enough and make sure it’s enforced)
☐ Pre-work ritual (e.g. push-ups, your favorite drink, power pose, dancing, a special playlist, lighting incense
Book: The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod
Book: My Morning Routine, Benjamin Spall
Download the full free e-book, How to Trick Yourself Into Getting Shit Done here:
Check out all the posts in the series here:
How to Get Shit Done - Part IV - Starter or Finisher?