November 20, 2010

Experimenting with mornings

November 20, 2010 - Categories: kaizen, life, productivity

Here’s my approximate sleep data for the past week, tracked with the free “Sleep on It” app I installed on my iPod Touch.

Woke up Slept
November 13 1:30 AM the next day
November 14 7:54 AM 11:14 PM
November 15 7:09 AM 8:45 PM
November 16 6:50 AM 9:23 PM
November 17 5:32 AM 9:06 PM
November 18 5:05 AM 9:34 PM
November 19 5:00 AM

I switched back to an early-morning schedule, and I really like it. Let’s see how wonderful it can be if I can tweak things further!

What’s working well?

I set my cellphone alarm a few minutes after my iPod Touch alarm. Then I put my cellphone on the drawers in the hallway. Tada! Social obligation to get out of bed AND deal with cats, instead of just reaching for the oh-so-handy snooze button.

Also, I made several lists. Here they are:

Things not worth staying up late for: Browsing the Web (it will still be there tomorrow). Reading books (ditto, save it for lunch). Things worth waking up early for: Writing. Drawing. Hacking, particularly because I can get lots of momentum and make tons of progress before our 10 AM update.
Things worth staying up late for: Social interaction. Laying the groundwork for a productive morning (setting clothes out, etc.) Things not worth waking up early for: casual web browsing. Hitting the snooze button.

This classification makes it easier for me to put away my computer and get ready for a 9-ish bedtime. (Yes, I’m often in bed before J-.) It also helps me use my morning time more productively. I didn’t get up early just to spend hours on iCanHasCheezburger.com! (Besides, it only takes me a few minutes to see the latest cat pictures…)

I haven’t run into problems with afternoon fatigue. It might be the way I switch between different kinds of tasks I enjoy, and it might be that I eat a light lunch and I have snacks.

There are still a few things to work out. Commuting to work means interrupting flow, although if I wake up early enough, I can get a chunk of time. When I go into productive hacking mode so that I can check off lots of tasks before our morning status update, I find it hard to make time for my hobbies during the regular workday, because people come in with interesting requests. And then there’s syncing up with W-, who’s more of a night owl, but that’s where shared activities and routines can help.

If you’re experimenting with waking up earlier, maybe social obligations and self-reminders can help you too. I’ll keep you posted as I learn and experience more!