The Biggest Productivity Myth You’ve Ever Been Told

For so long I have asked myself this question, “Why cant I wake up early?!” Turns out, I bought into the biggest productivity myth out there, and it was holding me back.

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I NEEDED THIS! I'm not a natural early riser. I tried all the waking up early tips, and often wonder why can't I wake up early. I'm so tired of people telling me you can't be successful unless you wake up before the sun rises! That's just not me, and this girl gets it. She offers solutions to one of the biggest productivity problems facing those who just aren't #morningpeople, and how to find abundant energy based on your own biological clock! #productivity #howtobeproductive #nightowl

Have you ever heard this “secret to productivity” before?

“The most successful people wake up before 6am every day.”

I certainly have—more times than I can count.

Apparently, those who wake up before the sun rises not only get more done, they also lead happier lives and are more successful than those who sleep in a little later. Even a recent Delta commercial implied if you wake up early, you are a power player who accomplishes important things in the world.

So I Did an Experiment

For three weeks, I woke up at 5am every day with a goal to finish my first book. The deadline loomed like that awful feeling when you wake up a half hour before your alarm goes off and you want to go back to sleep but can’t. 

And I still had a loooong way to go.

Brushing cobwebs from my eyes, I pushed myself to write at least one chapter before 8am. The results were pretty surprising.

  • I loved how productive I felt.
  • I loved that my hardest task was out of the way before breakfast.
  • I loved that I was part of this exclusive “morning club” and felt like a total rockstar.

Until I crashed…and burned.

My body couldn’t sustain the 5am wake up time for very long, even though every so-called personal development expert all but guaranteed I could become a “morning person” if I did x, y, and z. It didn’t matter what time I went to bed at night, my stamina slowly wore out over time.

I began to ask, “Is something wrong with me?” “Am I just not cut out to be an ‘early bird’?”

Turns out the problem wasn’t my fault at all. 

Debunking the Big Productivity Myth

I quickly figured out why my body resists those early morning hours after listening to an interview with Dr. Michael J. Breus.

He wrote a book called, The Power of When, in which he explores FOUR different chronotypes—the lion, bear, dolphin, or wolf—rather than the typical two we’re used to hearing {the Early Bird and Night Owl}. Each chronotype has a specific circadian rhythm, or master biological clock, that dictates WHEN that person functions best.

Once we understand how to harness this power of WHEN, it’s easier to listen to our internal clock rather than fight against it. Which in turn, motivates us to accomplish the most important tasks when we have the maximum amount of energy, creativity, and alertness, rather than the other way around.

Makes so much sense, right??

Knowing “when” enables you to perform “what” and “how” to your maximum potential. If you didn’t change a thing about what you do and how you do it, and only made micro-adjustments to when you do it, you’d be healthier, happier, and more productive, starting…right now. – Dr. Michael J. Breus, The Power of When

Turns out, the reason why I dropped out of the 5am club is surprisingly simple: I’m a dolphin who was desperately trying to be a lion. And now I know exactly what to do to support those “dolphin tendencies”.

Why Early Birds Seem More Successful

So if the “secret to productivity” isn’t tied to waking up early {which I believe it’s not}, why are these people so successful? What are their secrets? How can we adapt what they do for the rest of us who are not energetic and alert that early, so we can be our most productive selves?

I believe it comes down to two simple steps:

  1. Wake up at the same time every day. Productive people are deliberate about what time they wake up, no matter when it is. They have a specific start time, and they don’t hit Snooze when the alarm clock goes off.
  2. Wake up with intention and have a morning routine. Know what you want to do when you wake up, and go right into that routine the moment your feet hit the floor. This will help you be productive from the very start and provide structure for the rest of your day. See how I structure my morning routine HERE.

That’s it!

Notice I never said you had to get up before 6am. In fact, when I embraced the fact that any time before 7am was a huge struggle for me, my whole world changed. Not only is my morning more productive when I sleep later than six, the rest of my day is, too!

Which Chronotype are You?

If you know you’re not a morning person, but want to wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day, take The Power of When quiz HERE to find out whether you’re a lion, bear, dolphin, or wolf. Then share your results in the comments. The quiz is FREE—all you need is an email address to access it!

Better yet, treat yourself to a copy of the book, where you’ll get more in-depth analysis about your chronotype and what a perfect day looks like for you. Since I’m a dolphin, I have every mention of my chronotype heavily marked and highlighted. 😉

Note: Like any book, there are some ideas that don’t align with my worldview, so please don’t think I agree with everything Dr. Breus says. I recommend the main point of his teachings and believe you can truly learn a lot from his research!

Whatever you do, don’t give into the #1 productivity myth and feel guilty about not waking up early. Take care of yourself, and listen to your internal clock. That’s when you’ll have all the energy you need to put 100% into every task you do.

Because those of us who exit the bed at 7:30am {dare I say 8?} we can be successful people too.

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Rest assured, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. Since having Junie, my mornings have started WAY earlier than they used to. But now that I’m more disciplined about getting to bed at a decent hour (before 11p some nights!), I can usually start the day well rested. And I’m finding that having a consistent wake up time, thanks to Junie, it has really helped me be more organized and productive. I might be the ONLY person on the planet for whom having a child helped them in that regard, ha ha. But I totally am with you in not being one of those people who can get up at 5 a.m. before the sun and write three chapters of my next book…not without completely falling asleep by noon and moping around the rest of the day. So, like you, I’m learning when my most productive and creatives time are and ordering my day around that. I *think I’m a bear, but just might need to read the book to confirm that! Thanks for the rec!

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