Mr. E’s sleep experiment

Good morning!

It is round 4.30 am here in Norway while I am writing this. Yup, you read that right. Other people might get up at five to go for a run or do other exercises before work.

The two of us on the other hand? Quick splash of water to the face, brew some tea, perhaps a small bite to eat and then hunker down in front of the computer until 6 am to work on our sidehustles.

Why on earth would we do that? Why not just do it when we come home from work/lectures in the afternoon? It’s not as if we have children to mind or pets to walk. So why? 

The valuable morning

Trust me, it is not because we are both of us morning people. Mr. E. can testify that he certainly falls more on the B-person side of the spectrum.

But we are both more efficient in the morning. We are more creative, less exhausted from more, and certainly less inclined to just relax on the couch and turn on the magical viewing box.

By our logic, why should we let work get all of our best creativity? If we can try to steal at least an hour every morning, that’ll quickly add up! Not that work is suffering either, I’ve actually found myself more productive and awake, since I’ve already been up almost four hours by the time I get to work.

I will admit, some days are harder than others, let’s make no illusion about that. But if I am too tired to write, at least I can pick up any one of my creative physical projects and work on an upcoming birthday present or two. Sometimes I read a book.

We do our best to not feel guilty about it if we can’t work one of the mornings, or even one of the weeks. It’s showing up that counts.

The price

Obviously, experiments like these do not come for free. For us to be in any sort of frame of mind to get work done in the morning, there is one obvious thing that has to go: The evenings. When we can, we are in bed by 8.30 pm.

Good thing we’re homebodies. I’m pretty sure that would sting a lot more for some people than it does for us. If we watch a movie at six, seven or eight in the evening, it makes no difference to us. Especially now in the winter period when it is dark when we go to bed and get up anyway.

I am curious about how this project will work when summer rolls around with its endless, glorious light. I’ll be sure to let you know.

What about friends?

I find this to be one of the harder parts about the project. I don’t know what sort of genes Mr. E. has, but he can throw his day rhythm around as if it was nobody’s business.

If we are with friends, having a blast with board games, crafts and tea or other awesome frugal activities, then I am happy to say that friends take precedence. Usually, when we visit friends in the middle of the week, that does mean we are not in bed until ten pm, or even 11.30. I know, hold on to your hats people, because ours is a wild life!

On those mornings, we do not get up at 4 am.

My body, unlike Mr. E’s, is one of habit, so these occasional sudden changes in bed time do throw me out of sync for a few days. To my defence, I have the heaviest sleeping heart between the two of us, so I can usually make it up with the help of that.

The payoff

This is where it is at, isn’t it?

I will admit, I was sceptical when Mr. E. first proposed this experiment. He tried time and time again to tell me that I could just stay up late if I wanted to, and get up at my normal time. But knowing that he is a much lighter sleeper than me, I was convinced that would not work. So we did it together.

Before the sleep experiment, I would try to write all my blogposts in the weekend. There simply was not the time or the energy left over after work to write coherent sentences, never mind somewhat coherent posts.

This worked well when we, homebodies as we are, were, well, home.

It did not work half as well when we were invited for weekends away, or had guests over. I would quickly burn through the one or two weeks of pre-scheduled posts I managed to keep up most of the time.

Getting through

Now, on the other hand? I can write and research during the week!

This has been a game changer to me. Not just because I do not have to cram all my writing into the weekend, but because I have more time to work on each post. Plus, I can choose to get my weekends back to relax a bit and catch my breath and work on other projects, or I can choose to keep writing, and get ahead on my posting schedule.

The latter is amazing for when hectic periods are coming up, like exams, guests, travel, or just plain feeling a bit tired of writing and taking a break from it for a week or two. I can even work on other writing projects!

Will we continue this when we are financially independent?

I, for one, hope not. Just because one of the things I really look forward to as a perk of being employer independent is to be able to set that alarm clock to rest.

There are few things I enjoy more than waking up on my own on the weekends and enjoying the calm, quiet sense of not having to be anywhere, at least not anytime soon.

Over to you

Have you tried any unusual or creative ways to steal time for projects? Did it work? I’d love to hear of different ways you make room for your passion projects. Be it blogging or something else. Please let us know in the comments!

getting more done

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13 Comments on “Mr. E’s sleep experiment

  1. Agree, I’m more productive in the morning. Especially in spring/summer when my brain wakes up with the sun (5am). I’ve thought of getting up earlier but I haven’t worked up the courage… Bed is so cozy and comfy in the dark! And we live in a bachelor (no separate rooms from living and sleeping area). So not sure how that would work out with my partner with the alarm going off that early.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can totally see the issue with disturbing a partner if they’re not on board (which is why we decided to both do it), especially when there are no separate rooms to work in! I have occasionally considered coming to work early and spending half an hour to an hour working there. But working on non-work related projects at work just seems… wrong somehow. 🙂

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      • I can explain why but I agree with you on the non work projects at work.

        I’m a light sleeper so when my partner switched jobs where he started work an hour earlier, I switched to his schedule. I wouldn’t get back to sleep anyway. Now I get a jump on things!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone with a toddler who routinely crashes for the night when he goes to bed at 8/8:30, getting up early is the easiest way to have me time to do whatever (though lately it’s been for blogging). I’ve found it is SO much easier to get up crazy early when your bedtime is the same 7 days a week.

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  3. 4.30, that’s amazing! I’m such a night owl that I usually end up going to bed after midnight. Winter mornings in particular I find tough when it’s still dark, summer not so bad when it’s light at 4am and the birds are singing!
    I once read a book called Miracle Morning which almost got me to change my ways (but not quite).
    Good for you though, it’s clearly a system that’s working well for you and you are maximising your productivity.

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  4. I have adopted a regimen of being up at 4:30 on weekdays and no later than 6, on weekends. Having time for devotions and reading the morning paper, before work, is crucial to my equilibrium. I take a 15-30 minute nap, after work, then can devote my evenings to writing, study and exercise, before being in bed by 10 P.M. or so, every night.

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    • That sounds like a pretty rock solid schedule as well! Glad to see we’re not the only ones who have found that this works for us. 🙂

      Like

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