I am a morning person.
On working days, I naturally (i.e. without alarm) wake up anywhere between 4-5.30AM. Even if I go to sleep at 3AM, I wake up, at the very latest, by around 8AM.
I remember during exams in college (during my Bachelors), my room-mate Rajeev after studying till 2-3AM, wakes me up, and then go to sleep. I used to study from 2-3AM onwards. He is an evening person (or night person). The only way I can stay up late is when I take a siesta in the afternoon. I recall waking up the security guard each morning, when I was working in Hyderabad. The irony is that the guy is supposed to stay awake and “guard” the building 🙂 I am sure he was cursing me for disturbing his sleep every single working day.
Throughout my career, I have been following the routine of working from 5-6AM till around 4-5PM, with some breaks in between. (Also, if your work involves remote teams, then one can never put a hard stop saying that after 5PM no emails/calls would be answered. On working days, I do check emails/messages late into the evening). One obvious advantage is that the 3-4 hours in the morning (after one (or more) cups of coffee), before 9AM, have proved very productive. A lot many times, I have been able to solve baffling problems during this early morning window. The usual distractions like, office chatter, meetings etc. wont be there during this window. Also, when I work with team members in different time zones (say, India, for example), this work timing has been very useful. I get a good 2-3 hours of overlap with my counterparts, during each other’s typical office times! Let me repeat, “typical office times”. Majority of the people I have come across in my career like to work late into the evenings.
This is a snap of the sun rising, as seen from our office building at 6AM Pacific Time. When I come in, it is usually dark 🙂
Because I am, by nature, a morning person, I have managed to use this to my advantage.
There are other incidental advantages also. I personally feel that there are more things I can do with my personal time in the evenings, as opposed to the mornings. Mornings are a rush period at home, with kids getting ready for school etc. Also, in this day of 24/7 “plugged in” life, the concept of “reading newspaper” or “listening to morning news” are gone. But more personal time in the evening gives me opportunity to get some physical activities and spent liesure time with the family. On working days, from the time I wake up, I am invariably thinking about the day ahead, planning and prioritizing. Also, traffic issues are almost non-existent for me, since I will be driving well before the rush hours in either direction.
I must say that when I drive to office, I do see a significant amount of traffic and this indicates that there are a lot of people who follow similar timings.
I am a firm believer that one should only do what comes naturally. For example, an evening person should not try to forcefully wake up early in the morning. That would be contrary to the body/mind rythm of that person.