30 Day Challenge – Early to Bed & Early to Rise

By Rob Woods | Personal

Jul 10

Rooster Crowing, VermontI have decided to take on a 30 day challenge (a la Matt Cutts) and post it here publicly for all to see, for extra motivation.

I’ve always been a night person. From an early age I can remember always staying up late. I even remember watching the original Saturday Night Live which means that at the age of 7 or 8 or 9 I was staying up until at least midnight on weekends. Mornings are painful, mornings hurt, mornings require a bucket of coffee. I’ve always hit my peak of productivity and creativity at about 8 pm.

That doesn’t seem to work anymore. I’m now a self-employed independent SEO consultant. I have a business to run and grow and clients that work on Eastern time (3 hours ahead of my Pacific timezone). The more I think on it (and the older I get) the more I notice the time I spend on various activities. Sure, I stay up late, but it’s really wasted time. It’s TV mostly, which is by and large a waste. Getting up later also means less time with my kids. Now that I work from a home office I see them a lot more, and the more I see them the more I want to be able to do things with them. Working until 7 pm isn’t really conducive to doing a lot with your kids. I also love cooking and grilling and that doesn’t work too well starting at 7 or 8 pm either.

So, my 30 day challenge that I am setting myself is to break a several decades long habit of late nights and get to bed by 10 pm and up no later than 6 am. Every day. Weekdays. Weekends.

It’s going to hurt at first. It’s going to suck. Normally the only thing I get up for at that hour is fishing. So tonight I’m setting the timer on the coffee pot and come hell or high water, I’m getting up at 6 am tomorrow. I’ll check back in in a couple of weeks for an update. I’m hoping I’ll be a lot more productive and have more leisure time as well. Here goes…

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(4) comments

Michelle Lowery July 17, 2013

*sigh* I may have to this exact same thing soon. I’m also very much a night owl–always have been. The more flexible my schedule becomes, the more I start giving in to that cycle of staying up super late and sleeping later than I should. It is hard, though, because I’m also more creative (and let’s face it, just more alert) later in the day. Interested to hear how it works out for you!

    Rob Woods July 18, 2013

    It hasn’t been easy so far. I’m so used to decompressing at the end of the day rather than the beginning. It’s hard to just go to bed rather than have a couple of quiet hours to myself. So far I haven’t always made exactly 6 am but at least I haven’t pushed it much past 6:15 🙂 So far, good for productivity, but lots of coffee needed.

Chelsea March 27, 2014

Rob, I’ve been trying this same challenge. I’ve been going to bed at 10pm for a while now, but the new challenge for me is to wake up earliER in order to have some time to do something productive for myself in the morning before I have to leave for work. For me, this means waking up at 5am (Don’t you feel better now?? My “every day” time in 6:25am since I have to leave for work by 7:45am every day.)

In the few weeks that I have been doing this I have found that the hardest part is physically propelling myself out of the nice, warmness of my bed and into the shower. After that, it’s all easy and I’m glad that I did it. It’s kind of like going to the gym. You hate it and you can try every excuse to talk yourself out of it, but once you’re there, it’s fine. You just do it. And then you’re really happy you did it afterwards.

I started this challenge because I feel like I am dedicating all of my waking hours to work. I get up, I get ready for work, I commute to work, I commute home from work, and then I have 3.5 hours to do whatever I want. Waking up an hour and a half earlier allows me some more time to myself; time to enjoy the birds; time to do whatever I want before my brain gets turned to mush by analytics and optimization. 🙂

Since it’s been a long time since you wrote this, update us! (me!) How did your challenge end up, Rob?

    Rob Woods March 28, 2014

    hi Chelsea, firstly thanks for commenting 🙂 I got through the challenge and it did “take” for a while but then I did actually allow my old habits to slowly start creeping back in. Your comment is actually very timely as I had planned on re-doing this challenge starting on The first of April (no joke). One of my biggest issues is that staying up late at night there’s not much to do other than watch TV, which is another habit that I’m trying to break. If I can get finished work by 3 or 4 PM (when most of my clients have gone home for the day anyway) I can actually do something useful with that time rather than just vegging out in front of the television. I’ll keep you posted on how to take two of the challenge goes 🙂

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