If I ever legitimately write a post titled “Your Ultimate Guide For Waking Up Early”, I want you, gentle reader, to drive to my house and punch me right in the face. Don’t announce your purpose, don’t even ring the doorbell. Walk in, find me, punch me in the face. Please don’t punch my children. I’ll be the one with the beard, typing furiously.
I’ve had this simmering for several months now, maybe longer. Im far more worked up about it than is justified. There’s this cult – especially in tech, but I’m sure it exists outside of tech, in which we’ve all decided that the holy grail is to operate at 100% efficiency. All the time. To be so amazingly productive that not one minute of any day is wasted. And I get it. Life is short, we’re all dying (note: That’s 3 posts in a row that mention death. I swear things are fine, mom), so you better be operating at 110% all the time if you’re going to get yours.
There’s something so gross about this. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but I’m going to make some wild guesses about what it might be. Don’t ask me to back these up, I’ll have forgotten them by the time we next talk (undoubtedly because I didn’t read the ultimate guide to never forgetting all the stuff).
Suffering is awesome
I legitimately think that deep down inside, people – especially Americans – imbue some deep value on suffering. Like something that is awful is worth doing for the sole reason that it’s awful. Fun things are of questionable value. Terrible things? Now you’re proper adulting. Then we get to wear it like a badge of honor: “I’m so tired I’m essentially useless, but the fact that I didn’t sleep in past 5:30 is proof of my commitment to being an adult”.
Other people do it
Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, gets up at 4:30 AM. Aren’t you excited to do it now? Maybe if you do, you too will be the CEO of PepsiCo. Setting my alarm as we speak.
You are gross and pathetic
This, I think, is really the heart of what we all want. We’ve got to be better – we’ve got to get rid of whatever we are and be something else. The CEO of Pepsi. Smarter. In better shape. More productive. I guess we’re back to “Other People Do It”. If It’s good enough for Indra, damnit, it’s good enough for me.
Anything you didn’t plan out ahead of time is valueless
Going hand in hand with the “Here’s why you should wake up early” advice is the “you should schedule every second of your morning”, and here’s Mark Zuckerberg’s morning, which you should duplicate. Or don’t, but I mean, he started Facebook. I guess maybe your ideas are ok too.
I just don’t buy it. Yes, many successful people have well defined morning routines. Many successful people get up very early. And there are bits and pieces of their lives, their ideas, their routines, that are valuable to me, to you, to everyone. But to accept their life entirely, and to assume that you ought to be doing just what they do in order to achieve your goals is lazy, and it frustrates me.
So I don’t know, do whatever. If you want to get up early, get up early. Don’t do it because Tim Cook starts replying to emails at 4:30 AM, so you should too. Do it because you like being up early, or because that’s when the gym is less crowded, or because you like going to bed early so that’s naturally when you wake up. Or maybe just because you want to take the afternoon off.
And now that you’re out of the way, it will be that much easier for me to climb to the top, what with my perfect morning routine and my same-outfit-everyday.