I’m not a 5 a.m. person. Honestly, I’m not even a 7 a.m. person. Left to my own devices, I will happily sleep until 8 o’clock every day. For years, I thought my tendency to sleep in meant I couldn’t possibly be successful. Some of you might think that’s crazy, but I’m willing to bet a few of you are nodding along.
Any list of productivity hacks includes one about getting up earlier in the morning. As though, if only you could jump out of bed at 5 a.m. you’d magically accomplish more, feel better, and sell 100,000 copies of your novel.
There’s just one problem with that idea. Waking up earlier doesn’t necessarily make you more productive. I function best when I get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. If I short myself too many nights in a row, I feel it. So does everyone around me. (You won’t like me when I’m sleepy.) On the other hand, with a full night’s sleep and smart meal choices, I’m a productivity machine. I’m more creative, more focused, and way more fun to be around.
What works for you?
Most mornings, I wake up around 8 o’clock. Two or three days a week, I go to a 9:30 yoga class. On the other days, I spend the morning learning or working on book marketing. Then I do client work. Most days, I don’t even start writing fiction until 4 p.m. or later.
That schedule clearly works for me since I just finished the final edits on my second novel. It might work for you too.
Then again, it might not. Four in the afternoon might be the worst possible time of the day for you to write. And that’s fine. It doesn’t matter when you write. What matters is that you write.
Which brings me to the point of this post. You can achieve success your way. You don’t have to be a 5 a.m. person, or a type A personality, or a natural extrovert to achieve your goals. Success comes from finding what works for you, not from contorting yourself to fit someone else’s must-do list.
The value of productivity hacks
Productivity hacks might still come in handy. But you should view them as hypotheses worth testing, not as factors that decide your success.
By all means, test methods to find out which ones work for you. Try getting up early, blocking your time, tackling the most difficult task first, or promising to pay someone an uncomfortable amount of money if you don’t meet your goal. Any of those strategies might work for you. If they don’t, you’re not doomed to fail, you just need a different solution. Keep looking for the one that works for you.
In the meantime, pick a time and start writing.
For one method worth trying, check out my blog post on The Page A Day Challenge.