The most productive hour of the day might be 4 a.m., according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.
"Oh, piss off."
That's what J.K. Rowling tweeted in response to a piece about waking up at such an ungodly hour. My fellow columnist Marcel Schwantes wrote about morning rituals to boost your productivity, and Rowling responded on Twitter.
Rowling's tweet received hundreds of thousands of retweets and likes. It's clear she's not alone in her point of view. It's refreshing. Rowling is one of the world's most successful authors. By some reports, she's worth $1 billion. And she doesn't wake up at 4 a.m.
Night owls unite
Just because Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 a.m. doesn't mean it works for everyone.
Some people are morning people. Other people simply aren't. If you're not a morning person, waking up at 4 a.m. could be quite disastrous for your productivity because you'll be groggy and grumpy.
And there's no proof that one type of person is healthier, happier, or smarter. Being a morning lark or night owl also isn't a choice. It's partially decided by biological factors such as your genes.
There's even evidence that suggests people who sleep late are more creative and intelligent. Take that Tim Cook.
There's no magic bullet to productivity
We love to zero in on wake-up times because it's sensational. (And to be quite honest, it also makes a good, juicy headline.)
If you can succeed at making one simple change to your day, you'll be well on your way to success!
But waking up at 4 a.m. is a result of making many, many other decisions before your alarm goes off. For starters, you must go to sleep really early. You must be ruthless in prioritizing your day's tasks. You have to say no to a lot of things to maintain a rigid, uncompromising schedule.
The problem with obsessing with productivity
Plus, crossing several items off your to-do list by 6 a.m. won't necessarily make you happy. Just ask entrepreneur Christopher Spadafora, who used to wake up at 5:30 a.m. every morning and crush the following items on his productivity to-do list:
Eat nutrient-rich breakfast
Do focused work sessions
He created this list based on what he read that successful people do every morning. It worked. Spadafora acknowledges that he was super productive. And he was super miserable. If he missed one thing on his list, he would feel guilty.
"I became TOO productive that I forgot how to enjoy something for the sake of enjoying something," he explains. He was also missing out on time with his friends and family because of his productivity obsession.
Doing it for the right reasons
Pushing yourself to be more productive is an admirable goal. We lose a lot of time everyday scrolling through social media apps or procrastinating overwhelming tasks.
But before you set your alarm for 4 a.m., ask yourself why you're doing it. Do you really need to be like Tim Cook when you grow up? And more importantly, are you a robot, or are you a human?