Why I DON’T Get Up Early
It’s no secret that I love planning and productivity, so I’m constantly reading lots of information and advice online about how to get more done – especially things written by mom’s or people in a similar situation to myself. It seems like almost everyday I stumble across a new blog post from a mom talking about how getting up early is the key to a calm and productive day. Have you noticed that, also?
It sounds like pretty good advice, doesn’t it? You get up early (and before your kids get up) so you can start your morning calmly and intentionally. It gives you time to gather your thoughts and get something accomplished before the sun even rises. Sounds pretty good to me.
In spite of all this great getting up early advice, you will rarely find me out of bed before 7am. Most days my daughter calling out from her crib is my wake up call. My first steps out of bed are straight to her room to get her up, dressed, and then fed. I’m not up early, before her, and I get nothing accomplished before the sun rises.
Does that mean I’m a total productivity failure? Sometimes I’m tempted to feel that way, but NOT getting up early actually makes me MORE productive. That’s right! So if you’re feeling like there’s some common advice out there that just isn’t working for you, I give you permission to do your own thing.
Let me explain. I don’t think the getting up early advice is a bad thing, and I think it’s truly the best thing for a lot of people. Plus I tried it myself before I decided it wasn’t for me. I think it is important to be willing to try new things before determining if they are actually helpful for you.
I’ve never been a morning person. I know a lot of people say that and maybe some use it as an excuse, but it’s really true. I worked a traditional day job for 6 years that required me to get up a little before 6 each day. My body never got used it. It never got easier. Not only was it obviously rough to drag myself out of bed before the sun rose, but I would be tired and draggy all day. Obviously, I did the best I could and still got up early, but it wasn’t ideal.
I now work for myself and have a lot more control of my working hours. For the first 10 months of my baby girl’s life, she was a terrible sleeper. We were lucky if she did even one 2 hour stretch (night or day). Therefore, anytime she would happen to sleep, so would I. If she happened to settle into a good, deep sleep from 8 am to 10 am, I wasn’t about to sacrifice that quality sleep time for myself. Even so, I was so exhausted and sleepy, that I didn’t function super well during that time. The last thing I needed was to put pressure on myself to be awake by a certain time.
Fortunately (and due in part to some entirely miserable but incredibly helpful “sleep training”), my daughter now sleeps quite well. She goes to bed at 8pm and very rarely wake before 7 am. If I wanted to, it would be totally feasible for me to get up before she does. But it still won’t help me to be more productive. I do plenty of quiet time after she goes to bed. I do what a lot people do during the morning time in the evening after she goes to bed. Plus I get to wake up feeling more refreshed and usually when the sun is already shining. It feels great! If I tried to get up early just because it works well for a lot of people, I would end up being tired, draggy, and would probably get less done!
Here is a recent scope I did on the topic for some more of my story.
If you are looking to improve the way you spend your mornings, I highly recommend the Make Over Your Mornings course by my friend, Crystal Paine who blogs at Money Saving Mom. The course is most certainly NOT about getting up early! I benefited a lot from it even though I don’t get up early. It’s all about using your mornings (and really your entire day) intentionally.
Is there any common advice that you’ve found doesn’t actually work well for you and your family? I’d love to hear.
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Christene Holder Says
I love these posts where you go against the “norms.” It’s refreshing to hear that it’s ok to not do everything the exact same way as everyone else. I’m the same way – I’ve never been a morning person and forcing myself to do something that other “say” is the best way is just setting myself up for disappointment. Thanks for sharing these opinions – like I said, it’s so nice to hear different ideas that actually work for people.
Megan Tsui Says
I just discovered you and your website and I just have to say that…I love you. I mean seriously! I love your blogs, your opt-ins, your how-to’s. I love how you use periscope and video even though you aren’t a size 00 (me neither, btw!)
Thank you for showing up and doing amazing work. You are an inspiration!
Karolina R. Says
For me the problem is when I get up early I start thinking about how much more time I have for the day, because I didn’t waste my morning in sleep. And it’s a bad thing for me! I often start procrastinating then, so it’s deffinitely not good enough to make my mornings productive even though I don’t feel tired then. And even if I don’t procrastinate, I do things slower than normal, cause I think I have more time then, so I can make myself a coffee during that or sit and do nothing during doing another thing.
And another thing is that I prefer to tidy everything in the evening, because then when I wake up my house is already clean and that’s making me happy. I can’t believe somebody can have a great day and feel motivated to be productive, when they wake up to the house full of mess, cause you wanted to do all the stuff in the morning. And it also goes for different stuff too. Like papers laying on my desk, which I need to fill in. Just seeing that as a thing to do makes me lazy, sad and less motivated.
All this means I totaly agree with you and feel the same way 🙂
I hope you can understand what I wrote. English is not my native language 🙁
Yes, I totally agree! When I have more time I just take longer to do tasks that I normally do or I end up doing other extra non-productive things. I never actually get anything done.
It’s my older kids jobs to tidy up in the evening so I too get to wake up to a clean house. I work from home so it makes for a nice transition.
I love this post. I am a morning person and love being up before the sun. Mornings are when I feel energetic, but I’m crashing by 3pm. My husbands is NOT a morning person. He gets his energy in the late afternoons (when I’m crashing! Lol). We are all wired differently and have to listen to our bodies and know what’s best for ourselves. Great post!
‘Sleep when baby sleeps’ Psh. Yeah right. Oy!
My son (my 4th) is 18 months and is the first of my babies to be a horrible sleeper. He still wakes up multiple times throughout the night. What finally worked for you?! We’ve tried everything. lol I am not a morning person at all and have been sleep deprived for about 2 years now!
LauraJane SaysPost author
Oh no! I definitely understand the sleep deprivation. We did the hard core cry it out method when she was 10 months. (We tried at 5 and 8 months, and it didn’t work then – I think it was because she couldn’t roll herself to her belly to sleep.) It was miserable. I hated it. I had tried every single gentler method in the book, but had to do something for our sanity. We went to a sleep class by a pediatrician. He said to put them in bed, leave, go in and check on them after 5 minutes and then not go in again until they go to sleep and wake up again. Everything else I read suggested checking on them repeatedly but that only seemed to prolong the whole thing for her! This doctor said that doesn’t really do anything but prolong it. On the first night, she only screamed 30 minutes and went to sleep. Then she only woke 2 more times (and of course screamed for 30 minutes), but night 1 was already a drastic improvement on the 10-12 she had been waking. Night 2, she still screamed herself to sleep for the same amount of time, but she only cried for 10 minutes the two times she woke. The next time she only woke twice and cried for less than 5 minutes! She’s 18 months now and sleeps for 12 hours at night and naps for 2-3 hours each day! I feel like a new person.
Just reading that makes me so sad! lol. Mostly because I know that’s what we are going to have to do. I’ve tried the cry it out but only lasted about 10 minutes each time. I just can’t handle him screaming for me. i think our main problem is he is still sharing our room. We have thought about putting him upstairs with his brothers but he will probably do the same with them and keep them up. I may give it another go! Thanks!!
Sylvia MacVettie Says
Now I know why I like you so much. I, too, tried to ge up early because that’s what I had been reading everywhere. It just doesn’t work for me. I get more done between 3 pm and 10 pm than I do the rest of the day. Then I wind down for an hour or two before retiring.
I totally agree with you about Crystal’s Mornings course. Have gone through it twice and will do it again because I keep finding new gems.
LauraJane SaysPost author
So true – you can productive at other times as well. Glad you enjoyed the morning course as well.
I get up early, however, I am not able to wake up enough to do anything productive for a couple of hours. I will read for awhile or check my email.
Anita Louise Says
Thank you for your insight. I’ve never been a morning person and I’m blessed to have a job that allows me to start later. My boss is also not a morning person! Like you, I tried the whole ‘get up early’ thing and would end up going back to sleep at 8:00! Just had to share that with you!
You are invited every Wednesday to participate in our link up party at Planner Fun (all free inserts), called The Planner Experience. I hope you’ll come by and link up one of your planner posts.
Jennifer G Says
I love getting up early during the week. What I don’t love, is getting up early on the weekends. Unfortunately, my kids wake up earlier on Saturday than they do during the week (ironically, they do sleep in on Sundays, when we need to be up and moving for church). What is that about???
I have to get up early (earlier than my kids) so that I can enjoy my coffee before the morning craziness begins. I also like to get myself dressed before I have to start getting my kids ready. I don’t necessarily try to do anything productive in the mornings (though I would like to get back into my bible study).
I can’t wait for Crystal’s Make Over Your Evenings program.
LauraJane SaysPost author
LOL – I think sometimes kids have a magic sense so they do the opposite of what you want sleep wise.
Thank you! I’ve never adjusted well to earlier rising times, either. And my almost 8 month old is just as horrible a sleeper as you describe. So it’s nice to hear advice saying that one can still be productive without the early morning guilt trip. I’ve got too much lost sleep to catch up on for that.
LauraJane SaysPost author
My body clock has shifted as I have aged (and had kids). I used to get up at 4 to be on the road by 5 to be at school for a 7am class. I used to work a 4 to 7am shift for extra money. I used to swim at 6am. Then kids and age hit me. I’m now becoming more of a night owl and find myself doing a lot of things between 8pm and midnight. Some nights I am exhausted and go to bed when the kids do. But I am rarely up before they are. My husband works in the city and takes our two youngest to grandma’s at 6am. the older two are up between 7 and 8 and they can fend for themselves. I’m up between 8 and 9 and I ease into my day by reading in bed for a few minutes. Then I’m up and we’re off with schooling and other daily tasks. I’ve learned to do what works for me. Happy mama = happy family.
I’m with you 100%. I am NOT a morning person. I have been working the same 8AM-5PM job the past 9 years and it is not any easier than it was on Day 1. My ideal situation would be to get up naturally by 8:15 and begin working from a home office by 9 or 9:30. Bed by 11:30 or 12 would be perfect. Maybe one day I’ll have a situation that works with my ideal sleep schedule!! Thanks for pointing out that not being an early riser doesn’t make me a lazy good-for-nothing!
Omg, thank-you! I always feel less than and so unproductive when I read these posts touting the benefits of waking up early. It just doesn’t work for me. If I set my alarm back I usually just end up using that time convincing myself to get out of bed. My body naturally wakes up around seven. My kids are old enough to wake themselves up and get ready for school. I have enough time to wake up, brush my teeth and throw on my gym clothes then we’re out the door. I also prefer to write in my journal or read after the kids are in bed. So now I don’t feel so bad!
It is nice hear of others that are later risers. I work a late shift most evenings, my teenagers cook dinner while i’m working so i come home to dishes, washing and other work. My evening ends with a cuppa at about 11.30pm and then i have slowed down enough to sleep. I rise at about 9 but have been awake since 7. I ‘m not in any state to function well and get things done then.
Thanks for your blog. It’s good to hear how life works for other people.
Mary Sommer Says
Thank you so much for your refreshing honestly! I have been following your site for several years and I so appreciate that you state out-loud that it is just fine to do what works, not what everyone says should work. I think that this culture-of-organizing has become a bit too competitive and guilt-driven. People seem to be trying to out-do each other with how fancy their planners are decorated, how early they rise, how many lists they compose and the length of the list. We all seem to be loosing sight of what really matters; do I want a neat house? Of course. Do I want a spotless house that looks ready for a magazine shoot… NO…. that is not how real families live. Famiiies are messy and loud and disorganized and spontaneous and full of unscheduled moments. None of those things I would trade for a pristine home. We all need to give ourselves permission to stop and enjoy life. Built into our lists is there anywhere that says… read a book…. sit and stare…. wander around town… probably not on most people’s list. Those moments are the real quality of life, not the great washi tape on my perfectly coordinated planner. When people speak of us I hope they speak of our good qualities, our capacity to love, our sense of humor, the love we have for our families. I certainly hope I am not remembered for my clean house or beautiful organizer. I want us all to slow down a little, stop chastising ourselves for messy drawers ad unwashed dishes and put the brakes on some of this craziness. We all have enough real stresses in our lives we don’t need to create artificial ones.
Mary what you say is so true there is so much competition out there I don’t want to be so organized down the the actual minute
I am a morning / late night person Since become disabled ……..it was the only way my body could tell me slow down smell the flowers literally but i do often compare myself to those out there who are so organized Family all sorted etc etc Now I get up early if i wake early I can go from sleep to wide awake within 5 minutes which is handy ….. If I sleep in its fine i rarely go past 6am anyways …… I plan and prepare the night before getting the family also ready the night before ready for the rush in the mornings but i no longer have any really young children [I found them easier to organize !!!] I take days as they come and get way more done than i would if i had organized every moment and yes i give myself time to read smell flowers sit and ponder and wander round my city I am far calmer than in my organized days
All my life I have been on the opposite side of what my peers do. In this case it’s no different. I am not a morning person. When my children were young I had insomnia. Now that they are grown my hubby gets up at 2:30 am to go to work. Going to bed anywhere between midnight and 2 am is not unusual for me at all. I wake up around 8 naturally and can still accomplish much. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I’m right there with you, Laura! I’ve never been a morning person, so my almost 11 month son is my alarm, too. I do my things like catching up on email and spending my quiet time in the evening after he goes to bed. We have to do what works best for us for sure! ❤
I totally agree with you, no point for me to wake up earlier. If I do, I can’t get anything done because everyone is sleeping plus it’s still dark so I don’t feel very active. It’s nice though to wake up before everyone else on sunny weekends because I get to enjoy my morning coffee in my terrace with the only “noise” of the birds singing, that gives me energy for the whole day but it’s not happening very often lately since my daughter and son always wake me up! Someday I’ll get my mornings back 🙂
By the way… thank you so much for your blog, keep up the good job!
For years I could get up early like 3:30/4am to get to work. But since I work 3 shifts I can’t get up the same time every day. For example, this week I have to get up at 4 am to work from 6am-2pm. Next week I work from 9:30pm-5am and after that from 2pm-10pm. In September I will start school again aside from my job. So I don’t get more than 4 hours of sleep. That ‘get up early’ thing would never work for me… ????
In our house there is myself, my 87 yr old disabled roommate, two dogs and one cat. I would LOVE to get up early before they do and get some chores done, just relax with a good book, go outside and watch the sun come up while listening to nature waking up. However, I don’t get up before the rest of them because they are all light sleepers and no matter how quietly i move around soon as my feet touch the floor they all know it and they come alive wanting to be fed instantly, petted, go outside, or just wanting my attention. With 12 extra furry feet dancing a jig all around my own two feet i can barely walk. The roommate wants me to fix his breakfast the moment i roll out of my bed no matter what time it is. I love our little family and home but i sure do miss my mornings.
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This is so good! There are a lot of pressure on moms to perform. Lately I keep hearing get up early… I am a morning person but I value my time with my husband after our kids go to bed so what’s best for me is to sleep in and then jump right into the day.
Wow! You call getting up at 7 not getting up early?