Habits and the Clock

April 16, 2015
coming atcha at 5:15am

I have to say, developing new good habits — or breaking bad ones — is hard.  However, I find the process interesting in and of itself.  Even when I fail (and I do, more often than not) I definitely learn something.

Recently I have noticed that the strongest factor determining whether or not I will be successful with a habit is simply . . . the time on the clock.  I am a pretty extreme morning person, and fade out most nights before 10 pm, unless there is something exciting/social/fun going on (and usually there isn’t, to be honest!).

Give me a to-do item at 5am and it will get done.  I am great about working out in the morning and have an essentially 0% success rate at any other time.  It is easy for me to eat a healthy breakfast, but by 6 pm I am often searching for (dark) chocolate*.

Over the years, I have learned to structure my days so that this isn’t so much of a liability.  As in, I schedule the things I really want to get done for the mornings.  However, I still find myself tempted to put evening items into my planner.  And they never get done, and I often feel bad and find myself moving them to the next morning, anyway.

So . . . I probably should try to keep the PM habits to only fun things that realistically could happen (reading in bed, going to bed early enough so that I can enjoy productive mornings, and the like).

* not trying to vilify dark chocolate, but it may not be the best 6 pm habit


  • Reply Laura Vanderkam March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    One thing that’s been most challenging with the new baby is that it shifts my schedule from what I’ve grown comfortable with. I’d love to be able to stay up late working, and then reading, but with a wake-up in the works around 5 a.m., this isn’t an option. But I’ve been telling myself when I go to bed at 9:30/10 that I can get some me time in the morning doing whatever I would have at night (reading over coffee instead of reading with a glass of wine…)

  • Reply Erica March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    I’m very similar. If I have to plan things for life (vacations, buy clothes, organize parties, etc) I often do it at work when I’m more focused. Sure, it cuts into my work time, but then I can save some mindless work things like data entry and making figures for evening when I’m watching TV before bed. Knowing what works for your personal motivation timeline is the best way to be productive.

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