“Morning Person” Convention – A Curious Reflection

Why do people associate waking up early with being productive, with being competent? I’ve been waking up at 5am for a while and here’s the shocker: that doesn’t change a damn about my personality or how productive I am during the day.

Now, I have to admit that I’m still a peasant human and secretly feel some pride when a colleague acknowledges I’ve been coming to work earlier. Those “common convention insects” have been living deep in our brain for a long time and are hard to get rid of.

Nonetheless, in order to wake up at 5am, I’d have to go to sleep at roughly 9:30pm the day before to preserve my total hours of sleep. Thus, my total waking hours remain the same. Yes! That means, when everything else remains equal, I still have the exact amount of time allocated to working, commuting, eating, shitting, and learning music. All of them just shifted slightly earlier by 2 to 3 hours. Trust me, I have a Math degree!

And what good does flexing with our colleagues at work or our friends gonna do? Elicit some dopamine? Put some useful energy into curing cancer instead! How’s that for an influx of dopamine?

“Gee, Thien! So what’s this big idea of yours on waking up time?” Do what works for each of us. Don’t just do it for the title of a “morning person” or because Tim Ferriss or any public figure told us so.

So why am I keep doing it? In my case, everything else actually doesn’t remain equal. My commute time in the morning is cut in half if I do it at 6:30am instead of 8am. Also, at 6:30am, I could commute on the free company bus instead of the Caltrain, which saves money in the long run.

Waking up consistently at the same time also helps me reduce the decisions I have to make. “Do I have an early meeting today?” “Do I Uber, or Caltrain, or bus?” “What’s the next best train or bus time?” Zip! Nada! Out of the window! Just arrive at work early, by bus, everyday and none of those questions are ever applied again. Reducing amount of decisions is a topic that’s already abundant out there. I may not make a post on that unless I feel I have something worth saying.

Plus, finishing 8 hours of work at ~4pm allow me to be free to go to whichever night class I want and just go straight home afterward. When I was coming to work at a later time, I had to come back to work to finish my hours after class occasionally. This both adds time commuting back and forth, and take me out of my concentration for either working or learning.

Yes, going to bed at 9:30pm severely limit my night life. Luckily, I don’t have much of it anyway. I could see following this schedule would be a huge problem for my roommate, Seb, as he usually goes out until late at night. Each of us has our own priorities in life.

So far, I’m still experimenting with that one hour from 5am-6am in the morning. I enjoy taking it slow in the morning. Rushing out of bed and hurrying to work always make me feel like I started the day on the wrong foot. But maybe an entire hour is a bit overkill? I could also fit some writing or music in there while it’s quiet. I shall see.

There we go! Waking up at a certain hour of the day may work for us. It also may not. Trying out a different habit like choking babies may work for us. It also may not (I hope not). And it’s completely fine! Use critical thinking! The point is not to blindly following something without thinking about it first.

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