Work when others are not

I read an interesting blog post from the Time Management Ninja where he talks about getting things done at the office during the last week of the year.

However, it wasn’t quite what I expected when I had seen the title (same as this blog post).  For me, working when others are not is typically about quiet time at home or on the road working on personal or academic pursuits.  To get this quiet time I typically “work when others are not” by getting up earlier than the rest of the house or staying up later.

While you can stay up later to work on things, I have found that past a certain time it just doesn’t matter.  The mind fogs and the body starts forcing shutdown routines to run!

The approach that requires more discipline but I find is ultimately the better choice is to go to bed earlier and get up earlier.  You awake refreshed, with clear head and a quiet house.  Here are some tips to help you get that time in the morning:

  • Figure out how many hours of sleep you need and how many hours you want for yourself before you have to leave for work or school in the morning.  Set your go to bed time accordingly.
  • Set an alarmed reminder for 30 minutes before your go to bed time.  Start your shutdown routine.
  • Use the alarm on your phone as your alarm clock and have it set to the minimum volume necessary.  Set it up to not beep through the night for email or social network alerts.
  • Shower the night before (but not at the last minute which wakes you back up)
  • Lay out your clothes the night before.  You may need to get dressed in the bathroom or other location so you don’t wake up others in the house.
  • Have your workspace ready to go.  Leave yourself a note of what you are going to work on.  Have a bottle of water and perhaps a light snack there too.
  • Pack your lunch the night before.
  • If you are going to check email or your favorite sites, set a timer so you don’t blow all your quiet time on that.

I hope you find this information useful and are able to enjoy a more calm morning and enjoy some more sunrises!


  1. You are so right, Bryan; it's not about staying up late. Often, and especially if I've been at the computer all day, I just run out of steam and then it messes up my energy for the next day. But if I go to bed early and get up early, I awake refreshed.

    I also like your point about not wasting all the quiet time on e-mails. I often do this, and I'm going to make an effort in 2011 to work on projects during quiet time. E-mails can wait for the start of the business day.

    Thanks for sharing these excellent insights!

    Happy New Year of Productivity,


  2. I hear you. I'm not perfect on doing this either. I view every day as an opportunity for change and improvement.