Personal Note #2 – How I went from being a night owl to an early riser

Article publié le 31/01/2019, dernière mise à jour le 19/09/2023

I  can’t remember a time when I was not a night owl, even as a kid and  then as a teenager I had trouble to fall asleep at night. Like many  people, immediately after lying down to my bed, all the thoughts of the  world were coming to my mind to make sure I would not fall asleep…

It  got worse when I was at the university because I had an excuse, we had a  ton of different projects we had to finish overnight. It is hard to get  up in the morning when you finished working at 4am, but when you work  during the night, when the entire city is asleep, it’s kind of  mesmerizing, there is a weird feeling as is you were smarter or  something like that, and I still love this feeling.

When  I started to work as a freelancer after I graduated in 2016, I was very  often home alone, which meant I could work at anytime I wanted. Back  then, a regular day of work for me was starting at 11:30am to finish at  3:am, I was sleeping in my office for a few hours and another day would  start. I liked living like this, but there was a major drawback:  Whenever I needed to call one of my partners or customers, everyone was  available during the morning only, while I was asleep, but nobody was  available at night, that’s the first time I realized I would need to learn how to get up early.

I  kept living like this for 6 months or so and then I got hired by a  startup where I worked as a freelancer before. We had office hours,  9:30am to 6:30pm, it took me a few days be able to get up at 9am again,  but it was painful. Even if everybody was very satisfied by my work, I  was frustrated to be fully operational and motivated only after 10am, I  was working slowly in the morning, getting easily distracted by small  things.

Between  2016 and 2018, I had different positions in different companies, and  from April 2018, I started to work remotely for a startup based in  another city. The thing is that finding the motivation and having the  self-discipline to get up early even if it is not mandatory was way more  difficult. I started to get up at 9:30am to start working at 9:31…

But one day…

In October 2018 I decided to do the «Inktober» challenge.

What is the Inktober challenge?

Inktober  is a challenge which consists of drawing something everyday, only made  of paper and ink, and posting it on the internet during the month of  October. It’s only for yourself, there is no competition, but it’s  really motivating as you see the progress you do, and the most  important, you learn much self-discipline.

In 2018 I was really into drawing, so I really wanted to try this challenge I had never done before.

The  problem was that I didn’t have enough time during my day to do it,  between my full-time job, my startup and my family, the only way I had  to make it happen, was to get up earlier than usual, everyday (including  saturday and sunday) for 1 complete month. I estimated that I needed to  get up 2 hours earlier, meaning getting up at 7:00am and starting to  draw right away to produce complete piece everyday.

This was exactly the kind of challenge I needed

I  won’t lie, it was hard, not only because I was getting up earlier than  usual, but anyone who has done the Inktober challenge will tell you that  it is a real commitment and that producing one complete drawing per day  is exhausting.

By  the end of October it was getting harder to find the inspiration for  the drawings BUT it was easier to get up in the morning ! And guess  what… I was falling asleep really easily at night, which never happened  to me ever before.

At  the end of the challenge, it was a big relief, I succeeded and I was  happy to think about the possibility to sleep until 9am in the morning  again! And guess what, the next day, I got up at 7am, for no particular  reason, and the day after, even during the week-end!

Now  I feel great about it, I feel like I can do anything during these 2  extra hours I got, everyday, for the rest of my life, which is a pretty  big deal for me as a former night owl.

PS:  I know many people get up at 5 in the morning and have no problem with  that and I admire you, but anyway I hope that this story can eventually  help a fellow night owl who is looking for a way to change his/her  sleeping habits.

PPS:  Inktober is a challenge for people who like to draw, but there are many  other challenges like NaNoWriMo during November for people who like to  write and I’m sure you can find one you’ll like! Or create one!

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