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Monday, September 25, 2017

The Early Bird Wakes the Firm

It was Ben Franklin who advised us, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” I’m not sure my paper delivery person has bought into that yet, but I wish he would. We seem to get our paper much later than when I recall delivering the Chicago Tribune for several months as a teenager.

Perhaps it’s because he’s not a “morning person.” Too bad. Since he’s delivering a MORNING newspaper. But I digress.

Those who live in Chicago and other major metro areas often have to adjust their lifestyle to earlier start times. Some studies have shown that only about ten percent of the global population are the morning types. Twenty percent are the night owls. I guess the rest fit in the middle.

But get this. The late nighters are shown to be more prone to depression. More likely to smoke and drink. Their academic abilities tend to fall short of the early risers. In 2013, the British Psychological Society released a study that night owls are more likely to have a cluster of personality traits known as the “Dark Triad” – narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. The morning folk tended to be more moral!

In February of 2016, Business Insider reported that your genes may have something to say about this. The study cited included nearly 90,000 people who had their genomes sequenced by a consumer genetics company, 23andMe. Researchers were able to identify “15 versions of genes that are linked to reports of being an early or a late riser.”

The same study showed that “people who self-identified as night owls (while not a truly objective measure) were almost twice as likely to suffer from insomnia and about two-thirds as likely to have been diagnosed with sleep apnea." Obviously, not a pretty picture.

What turned my attention to this subject was a recent article titled, “This is Why Being a Morning Person Will Make You Better at Your Job.” Four “science-backed” reasons are offered up as to why people do their best work in the morning.

Read the article for complete insights. But here are the four basic reasons you do better earlier.
  1. You have more energy.
  2. You have fewer decisions to make.
  3. You can stop fighting distractions.
  4. You can take advantage of the calm.
I think that last one is of particular significance. Josh Davis, who has written a book on the benefits of early risers, states “Noise makes it harder to do the deep cognitive work most knowledge workers need to do. In the morning you’re free to work from anywhere, and you can find a quiet, beautiful spot. A quiet workspace helps you be more productive because it’s like working with tailwinds.”

For many years in my radio life, I have been a morning show guy. Several of my jobs had me on the air by 6 a.m. My previous assignment required me to rise by 2:45 a.m. and be on site by 4:30 a.m.! When people asked how I could manage that, I would ask them how they felt when they got up later. They would reply "groggy." "Out of sorts." And I retorted, “Well, that’s how I feel. Only it’s 2:45!”

Your circadian rhythm may not be excited about you changing your wake up time, but there is a payoff. Early rising enables me to get some serious request time in with the Almighty. I’m not alone. As David wrote in the Psalms, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3, NIV) This alone can be a powerful productivity tool!

Seeing these benefits to rising early, I hope today’s blog serves as a “wake-up call.”

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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