Magical Morning People: The Simple Math Behind Why They Get More Done

I see them heading out of the coffeeshop at 10 AM as I’m stumbling in after a long night playing music. They’re smiling, adjusting their crisply folded white shirt collars, heading out to the second half of their work day. 


That’s right- second half. Rising in the wee hours of the morning, they’ve already put in 4+ hours of work and are leaving the coffeeshop feeling productive and accomplished. I haven’t figured out that I’m wearing my shirt inside out yet. 


Until recently, I thought morning people were magical. So I sat down with a scheduler and tried to figure out how they get so much more done every day than us late-risers. Here’s what I realized: 


• Since we’re still getting over the industrial hang over of working 8 hours a day, let’s stick with the assumption that most of us are going to shoot for about 8 hours of productive work each day. Here’s what that looks like on a calendar:


•If I start work at 9 AM, that means I’m going to have to work non-stop from 9 AM to 5 PM to get in a full 8 hours. But there’s something I didn’t think about: I have to eat. Let’s put in an extra 30 minutes for lunch (that’s assuming I eat really fast):


•Now let’s re-arrange my schedule to mirror my early-rising friend’s calendar. I’ll take my 8 hour day and drag it back to a start time of 6 AM:


Suddenly I’m finishing my day at 2 PM. If I eat a late lunch, I could legitimately snack from the start of my day until an after work lunch. Even with factoring in an hour-long nap to recharge, that still gives me from 3:30 PM until around 11 PM to hang out and do whatever I please. That’s a lot of time. In the morning, we could satisfy ourselves with a quick cup of coffee and some eggs, and then start work right away, cutting prep time down to just a few minutes. 


Is this schedule possible for musicians? I think it is. We regularly do strange stuff with our schedules for late shows and early morning radio interviews, and I can’t see a reason why we couldn’t just as easily transition to a more productive work lifestyle if we really want to make it happen. 


Musicians: let’s change our schedules, get more done, and start finding out why that morning guy leaving the coffeeshop is smirking at us. He knows the secret, and so do we. All we have to do to get his magical abilities is be self-disciplined enough to make it happen. 

   I've never met a morning person that didn't credit part of their productivity to quality coffee. 


I've never met a morning person that didn't credit part of their productivity to quality coffee.