One Week Without Sleeping In: The Setup

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© Billy Wilson 2010

“In the morning a man walks with his whole body; in the evening, only with his legs” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I was in college it was nearly impossible to get anything done in the evening, because no matter what day it was there was something happening I would be missing out on.

Eventually, I figured out that if I woke up early to do my work, I could actually settle my mind and get it done.  Predictably, when I graduated into doing my work at work, and no longer had four hard and fast deadlines to meet every week, this habit fell to the wayside.

It’s no secret that many of the greats were early risers.  Ernest Hemingway arose at 5:30am sharp, regardless of the evening’s activities.  Beethoven made sure he had the extra time to count out each of the requisite sixty coffee beans he needed for the perfect cup.  Benjamin Franklin woke up early so that he could sit naked alone in the cold musk of his study for an hour.  He called it an “air bath.”  He was a strange guy.

Eccentricities of the eccentrics aside, the morning holds perhaps the largest swath of undisturbed, blissful time of any point in the day, yet I tend to spend it dreaming of faraway lands with kangaroos in brass bands.

As such, I’ll attempt to go One Week Without Sleeping In, which for me means rising between 6:30 – 7am (I don’t go to work until 11am, go easy on me).  I hope to achieve a level of productivity and satisfaction previously unmatched in my short life, for at least these reasons:

1. There are no distractions in the morning

When I do settle in to do work in the evenings I often have so many things I need to accomplish that I cannot will myself to focus on any one of them in particular.  As the day goes on, we add more and more lines to the to-do list and it’s almost impossible to be creative when that far overwhelmed.

In the morning, however, it feels like I have the whole day to get it all done and it makes it much easier to focus on doing the things I want to do.

2. There are few temptations in the morning

In college, if I were sitting in a library past nine o’clock I would flooded with messages about the evening’s diversions.  I’m not quite that popular anymore, but there’s still always something going on in the evening that becomes the opportunity cost of getting things done.  In the morning there’s no such thing, just peaceful time to get ahead.

3. Anything accomplished in the morning makes the rest of the day better

You know the feeling when you wake up at 5am, go to the gym, eat a healthy breakfast and still have time to read the newspaper before work?  Alright, neither do I but it sure sounds grand.

The few times I have successfully woken up early and exercised have been some of the best days on record.  When I’ve already got s decent workout under my belt, I know that no matter what happens after that I’ve achieved at least one of my goals that day.

may we all get better together.


Start your own One Week With/out challenge!  Begin here.


  1. says

    Looking forward to see the results, Scott.

    I’ve started back my waking up early routine because I find that the time I wake can be a good indicator of my productivity for the day. I believe you might experience the same thing as me.