The really, really, early birds

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The really, really, early birds

The Wall Street Jour­nal reports on the lat­est fad: Get­ting up at 4AM — not because you have to, but because you want to.

When I com­muted to NYC from Con­vent Sta­tion, NJ (no, I have never lived in a con­vent; Con­vent Sta­tion, between Mor­ris­town and Madi­son, is named after the con­vent of the Sis­ters of Char­ity of Saint Eliz­a­beth and the train sta­tion was built dur­ing the 1870s to serve the Acad­emy of Saint Eliz­a­beth, now a Col­lege), I used to get up at 5:30AM.

I was in bed by 9PM. Then on Sat­ur­days I slept until 10AM. Not being a real-​early morn­ing per­son, the sleep deficit seemed to accrue faster than if I slept from 11PM to 7AM.

I had a long com­mute, but would get to work at least an hour before offi­cial open­ing time, and was able to have a full break­fast, get a lot of work done, and tend to pri­or­i­ties before the nor­mal inter­rup­tions of the day started.

The 4AM crowd, how­ever, seem rather more intense — some rec­om­mend sleep­ing in your gym clothes.

The key to enjoy­ing the early morn­ing quiet time, how­ever, is not sleep­ing in your gym clothes and rush­ing off to the gym before the crack of dawn; Rather, the key is being able to have a block of unin­ter­rupted time with no out­side dis­trac­tions, where you can focus on the day’s priorities.

This means you are unplugged (no phone calls, texts, Face­book or other social media), are not avail­able for inter­rup­tions, and, in my case, are not lis­ten­ing to music, the TV. You are exclu­sively pay­ing atten­tion to the task at hand.

If the only way you can do so is at 4AM, all the more power to you.

How­ever, in my case, I’ve found that — espe­cially when my son was a baby — ded­i­cat­ing an unin­ter­rupted twenty-​minute block of time (a “unit”) dur­ing the day to a sin­gle, focused task was more effec­tive than any other time man­age­ment tech­nique I tried. With a lit­tle prac­tice, you can even esti­mate (“this will take three units”) how long it will take to get things done.

And you’re not sleep­ing in your gym clothes.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, news, and cul­ture at Fausta’s Blog.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest fad: Getting up at 4AM – not because you have to, but because you want to.

When I commuted to NYC from Convent Station, NJ (no, I have never lived in a convent; Convent Station, between Morristown and Madison, is named after the convent of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth and the train station was built during the 1870s to serve the Academy of Saint Elizabeth, now a College), I used to get up at 5:30AM.

I was in bed by 9PM. Then on Saturdays I slept until 10AM. Not being a real-early morning person, the sleep deficit seemed to accrue faster than if I slept from 11PM to 7AM.

I had a long commute, but would get to work at least an hour before official opening time, and was able to have a full breakfast, get a lot of work done, and tend to priorities before the normal interruptions of the day started.

The 4AM crowd, however, seem rather more intense – some recommend sleeping in your gym clothes.

The key to enjoying the early morning quiet time, however, is not sleeping in your gym clothes and rushing off to the gym before the crack of dawn; Rather, the key is being able to have a block of uninterrupted time with no outside distractions, where you can focus on the day’s priorities.

This means you are unplugged (no phone calls, texts, Facebook or other social media), are not available for interruptions, and, in my case, are  not listening to music, the TV. You are exclusively paying attention to the task at hand.

If the only way you can do so is at 4AM, all the more power to you.

However, in my case, I’ve found that – especially when my son was a baby – dedicating an uninterrupted twenty-minute block of time (a “unit”) during the day to a single, focused task was more effective than any other time management technique I tried. With a little practice, you can even estimate (“this will take three units”) how long it will take to get things done.

And you’re not sleeping in your gym clothes.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.