Mark O'Neill

Waking up at 4.30am is For Psychos

Mark O'Neill Fernsehgarten ZDF

I’ll let you into a little secret. Are you ready?

I don’t start work until 3.00pm. Not because I’m lazy. But I am simply not able to, mentally. I’ve tried working in the mornings, but I am so lethargic, uninspired, and sick that nothing gets done (I have epilepsy and clinical depression).

I hardly ever take meetings in the mornings. The only thing I do in the morning is take the dog out, then drink copious amounts of tea, learn German with Duolingo, and talk to and hug the dog. Maybe watch some YouTube videos. I am very partial to Stephen Colbert’s Late Show.

By midday, I can feel myself coming out of the funk, but it isn’t until 3.00pm that I finally find my rocket fuel and get going. I work straight through to more or less 8.00pm, going virtually non-stop for 5 hours. (apart from stopping for dinner).

Despite what you may read about bullshitters getting up at 4.30am, hitting the gym, and then doing a non-stop 12 hour day before doing a 10 mile run, it should always be “quality over quantity.”

5 hours of good work is better than 8 hours of useless sub-standard work. Hell, even when I manage to only do 3 hours of really good work, I consider that to be a successful day.

If you do your work, keep your clients happy, and have satisfied clients coming back for more, why does it matter if you do 3 hours a day or 8? Why would the client care?

If the work is not coming, don’t fight it. Stop for a while. Figure out what times of the day you are more productive and lean into that. Don’t sit there all day and force it if it doesn’t want to come out. That is the fast track to misery, depression, and crap work.

Have a nap. Have a bath. Have a walk. Have sex.

There’s a solution to every problem. Just get in your tank and smash right through it.

And waking up at 4.30am is for psychos. Don’t be a psycho.

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