The (Potential) Cost Of Not Being A Morning Person

Am I losing money by sleeping less?

Photo: IdlHandz

At some point along the way, I realized that despite my various efforts at course correcting, I am not a morning person. I wake up at the same time every day because I am a creature of habit. But that doesn’t make me a morning person because for those valuable few hours before noon, I am wildly, crazily unproductive, prone to losing hours in the depths of an online sale section or scrolling deep in the bowels of a B-list celebrity’s Instagram. Work doesn’t feel like work until I’ve actually done something. Much like window-shopping, though, opening my laptop, taking a few sips of coffee and opening a bunch of tabs is a performative measure, intended to mimic the work I need to actually do.

In the morning and for much of the afternoon, really, time is slippery. Staying at my desk helps, but if I get up to make lunch, to take out the recycling or to investigate why the cat is wearing half a Whole Foods bag around her neck like a cape, any chance I had at productivity is shot. To counter my natural inclination to sloth, I try to make my days extremely busy. I will book more work than I am perhaps capable of doing in one day and then try to blow through it with the heat of a deadline at my back. This method is great for my bank account but less so for my mental state.

There are errands to be run during the day, possibly only because I have the time to do so because I answer mostly to myself. Freelancing has made me very particular about time. Why should I adhere to the traditional 9–5 when I’m the master of my own destiny? If I work at night for as long as I need to, until the work is done, the next day is mine for the taking.

Working at night feels much, much better, anyway. It’s quiet. There are less distractions. The deadline that was merely a firm suggestion at 2 p.m. is now a shrieking harpy with a bullhorn telling me to finish my work now and go to bed. Under duress, I work with the efficiency, convinced that whatever it is I’m working on is that much better because of the pressure. These are lies that I’ve been telling myself for years that have become truth or something like it, via repetition and my own unwillingness to change my ways.

I’ve looked for an actual cost associated with my daytime sloth, but haven’t found anything tangible in my bank statements. I’m sure there is something about the way that I work that’s costing me as much money as I earn.

Maybe I’d sleep more and be less prone to stress purchases ($19 for two shirts on sale and magazines and I don’t know what else, but a lot, probably). Maybe I’d stop buying books on my Kindle ($13.99 for a book about how cats are really just tiny house lions purchased at 1:30 A.M. for NO GOOD REASON) during that hour before I fall asleep when I’m “recharging” and “clearing my head.” Maybe training myself to be a morning person would subtly reconfigure my entire life in ways that would add up financially. I’d work better, stronger, faster. I’d be a well-oiled machine who goes to the gym at 6, showers at 7, eats at 7:30 and answers all the emails by 8, like someone who lives their life as efficiently as possible.

I could try it, I guess. Something might change! Or I can keep doing what I’m doing, because for me, right now, it’s just okay.

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