Morning Glory

The Secret to Success is a 5 AM Wake-Up Call.

Early risers are more successful in the business world. Here’s why. „The early bird catches the worm.” This motto has been around in American top management as a success formula for years. Today this management style has spread to other corners of the world, and it’s becoming increasingly more accepted.

early risers are more successful

Countless studies and numerous prominent examples indicate that early risers are more successful in their professional lives: employees are more disciplined, active, and capable of achieving at a higher level of productivity and have a better sense of their responsibilities.

At the same time, these “early birds” are usually more relaxed, and lead a healthier life. To discover their secret to success, and how you can profit from the same routine, read here.

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, starts his day at 3:45 am. He checks his emails to keep up with his colleagues on the East Coast, then he goes to the gym. AOL’s top executive Tim Armstrong’s alarm goes off at 5 am, then he works out, and takes some extra time for his daughter.

A half hour later, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey starts his day with jogging and meditation. And Virgin founder Richard Branson, even while on vacation on his private island, still rises at 5:45 am to hit the gym and eat his breakfast in peace.

Treasure Your Early Mornings at the Office

Lots of top managers, successful companies and celebrities are known for waking up between 4 and 5 AM, while the rest of their neighbors sleep peacefully through the night. How do they use this extra time? Hours before their work day officially starts, they begin to plan their workday, check and answer emails, or directly attack complex projects.

The advantage: in the morning, the brain is more productive, and concentration is higher. There are fewer distractions, and one can work with a higher level of focus.

More Time for Sport and Family

But that’s not enough. Besides getting a head start on work, lots of early birds go to the gym, get their body adjusted to the start of the day, read newspapers to stay informed on the important topics of the day, and spend time with their family by indulging in a relaxed breakfast.

For those who start their days early on, and cross the first set of things off their list, the rate of success increases greatly, according to scientific studies. In direct contrast, those who sleep in as late as possible are typically more stressed as they begin their days, with no time for breakfast before leaving the house and rushing to work, to be at their desks before 9 AM.

Early birds are also known for a great love of their jobs. They find that life is too exciting to sleep in.

Study: “Morning Larks” Enjoy Better Career Opportunities Than “Night Owls”

A cooperative study between the University of Bologna and the University of Education Heidelberg, revealed that “night owls” on all continents performed more poorly in an academic capacity. The researchers examined all studies conducted, worldwide, on the topic and conducted a meta-analysis, explained biologist Christoph Randler, a professor at the University of Education Heidelberg. “Night Owls,” according to Randler, were people who experienced their highest levels of productivity in the afternoon or evening.

However, early risers, or “morning larks,” already felt that their highest level of productivity was reached in the early mornings. Their takeaway: early risers had a much better chance at a successful career, because they were more proactive than those who found themselves in top form late at night.

The study also noted that “Night Owls” had plenty of advantages. The Night Owls all had a better sense of humor, were smarter and more creative than the Morning Larks. Regardless, Morning Larks, as a result of their increased productivity, typically had a much higher chance at professional success, and higher incomes.

Morning People Are More Consistent

A study from engineer Jens-Michael Potthast, of the Institute of Integrated Production in Hannover, Germany, revealed more exciting findings. Potthast investigated the biorhythmic differences between morning and night people. It’s already known that the capacity for productivity changes throughout the course of the day.

These fluctuations depend strongly on what kind of preference a person has; morning people are much more productive in the early hours of the day. Night people first hit their stride in the later hours of the day. So far, so good. But Potthast found that the performance highs and lows of morning people and night people are starkly different.

His findings: morning people demonstrate a much more constant capacity for high performance throughout the day. However, in contrast, the night people experienced clear fluctuations in productivity throughout the day, and reached a definite peak at night.

Findings: Early Risers Get More Out of Life

The early bird gets the worm… and so much more, as plenty of top managers continue to discover.  Whether it’s more time for fitness, a relaxed breakfast, quality time with the family, relaxed newspaper readings, checking one’s emails, planning one’s day or even getting a headstart on the first project of the day, there are plenty of advantages to starting the day off early.

Those lucky enough to be born as “morning people” are predisposed to be more cheerful in their daily lives. It may not be easy for “night owls” to change their natural body rhythm. But they should remember it’s not necessary to be as extreme as Tim Cook, setting their morning alarms for 3:45 am. A wake-up call for 5:45 will do just fine, just like Richard Branson.

About the Author:

Markus HofelichMarkus Hofelich is a journalist specializing in economics and finance. He lives with his family south of Munich. He gained his experience in journalism as the Editorial Leader of the DIV, the German Industry Publisher, as the Editor-in-Chief of Cash, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the economics magazine “Unternehmeredition,” from GoingPublic Media AG. Markus Hofelich studied at the University of Passau and the Sorbonne in Paris. His newest project is a website,, an online magazine for philosophy, happiness and motivation, and is always open for new opportunities.

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