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GUEST COLUMN: How to be a productive non-morning person

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Ellan Dickieson

Ellan Dickieson
Ellan Dickieson

It is 9:45 a.m. According to the recent articles bombarding my social media feeds, I should have started writing this article three to four hours ago. After all, I can only be successful if I accomplish 10 tasks before 8 a.m., including exercising, reading and writing 500 words.

I am not a morning person – unless I have to be, but I’m still not sure that counts. I do not jump out of bed in the morning with vim and vigour, nor do I sleep in until noon. I have taught fitness classes at 5 a.m. and I have finished reports at 6 a.m. Despite having no problem starting work at 8 a.m., I am left feeling like a failure. I am not a morning person.

I once read an interview article with Canadian hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser, during which she stated that not everyone likes mornings and you should sleep however long you need. Talk about getting excited in the doctor’s office; my sleeping habits had been validated. Like Hayley, I too could be successful whilst sleeping eight hours a night and not rising before the sun!

The sense of validation I felt that day does not exist today. Could I have finished this article before 8 a.m.? How many tasks has my farming friend completed already today? Oh my gosh, I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet.

Here is how I remain productive and justify my behaviour, because let’s face it, you are starting to question it.

1: Make a graph. On one axis you have energy, on the other you have time. Plot out when during the day you have the most energy. My graph is a perfect bell curve. It is now 11 a.m. and I am at my prime.

2: Use non-peak performance time wisely. The tasks that require limited focus get scheduled during your non-peak time. This means my morning consist of checking my social media accounts, responding to emails or going to the dentist.

3: Use peak performance time wisely. Tasks that involve a great deal of energy or brainpower take place during your peak time, so be certain to get the most out of it. Ensure you have limited interruptions, shut your door, turn off notification settings, change your lunch hour. If you are playing in a concert band, this is the moment of your solo!

I am aware that some day, I am going to have to stretch out that bell curve and get up earlier and work later. Based on your personal goals and your life demands, your graph may have to change also.

But for now, I am not going to fret over the social pressure I feel to be super productive before 8 a.m. Instead, I am going to enjoy slow mornings, listening to the radio and sipping tea.

Ellan Dickieson holds a MSW and is passionate about working to create a stronger community. Moving to Sarnia and getting involved is her latest adventure.


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