What Time Should CIOs Wake Up At In Order To Be The Most Productive?

What time should a CIO's day start?
What time should a CIO’s day start?
Image Credit: Charity

I think that we can all agree that the life of the person with the CIO job is a very demanding life because of the importance of information technology. It seems as though almost from the moment that we walk in the door at work, there is somebody who has some problem that they feel that we are the only person who can fix. Undoubtedly you have a list of things that you would like to accomplish each day. Just exactly how many of those actually get done? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some way to get more control over your day? It turns out that there is…

Early Risers Get The Worm

So what’s the secret you say? How can the person in the CIO position gain more control over their day when it seems like every minute is already taken up by someone or something? The answer is amazingly simple: start getting up earlier in the morning. This, of course, brings up an interesting question for you: what time does your alarm clock go off normally? If you are like most of us, it’s probably somewhere between 6:30am and 7:00am. You get up, do the normal morning routine, drive to the office and then the day hits you squarely between the eyes.

How about if we change things here. Let’s have you get up at 4am in the morning. Just imagine what that would be like. Who else in your life would be up at that early hour? I’m willing to bet the answer is just about nobody. That’s the secret to this technique. It turns out that when people are not clambering for your attention you can finally have some peace and quiet. When this happens what you are going to discover is that you’ll be dramatically more effective and this will provide you with an opportunity to get important things done.

The reason that buying yourself a couple of extra hours at the start of the day works out so well is because of how we use all those other hours during the day. We have placed a number of different barriers in our way to being productive. Our offices are filled with a wide variety of things that can distract us from getting real work done. We’ve installed email pop ups, our mobile phone apps are always chiming for our attention, and Facebook has yet another news feed to occupy our attention.

The Downside To Getting Up Early

Getting up at 4am may seem like a big challenge, but once you start doing it you may find that it simply becomes part of your routine. With a little luck these early hours can be the most scheduled and organized part of your day. As good as you may feel about having a way to take control over two hours of each day, you need to realize that as with everything else in life, this benefit does not come without its own downside.

The first thing that you are going to realize is that you’ll get tired earlier that you do now. Your body is willing to propel you through a day, but when you reach the hourly limit for what your body considers to be a day, you are pretty much done for. The time of day that you’ll be calling it quits varies from person to person. Some people start to call it a day at 8:30pm and some wrap things up at 10pm.

Shortening your day is going to have an impact on your social life. We all have friends who are most defiantly night owls. If you change your day to start out earlier, then what’s going to happen is that you are not going to be able to spend nearly as much time with this set of friends. When their evening is just getting ready to start, you will pretty much be done for the day. Don’t ever think that you can suddenly change your sleep schedule when the weekend rolls around because you can’t. Your body gets used to one schedule and you’re going to have to stick to it.

Another down side to getting up early is that you are pretty much going to be spending this time by yourself. Since most people will still be at home and in bed, you will need to be comfortable finding things to do by yourself. A lot of us like to work with other people in order to find solutions to problems that both our department and our company are facing. However, in the early hours of the day these people will not be available and so you need to instead pick tasks for you to work on that only you can do. Save the social meetings for later in the day – but not too much later!

What All Of This Means For You

As CIOs it is very common for us to feel as though we are being pulled every which way. Almost from the moment that we arrive in the office, people are going to be asking us to help them solve problems. This is good work, but unfortunately it takes away from the other work that we’d like to have a chance to get done. What we need is a way to add a couple of uninterrupted hours to each day.

It turns out that there is a simple and easy solution to this problem. All we have to do is to change our schedules and start getting up a couple of hours earlier at 4am. If you start to do this you’ll discover that all of those interruptions that eat away at your time during the day no longer exist. You are in full control of your schedule in the early hours. All of the distractions that we’ve created in our lives are removed and we can get some serious work done. Getting extra time each day is a good thing. However, there are consequences to getting up so early. The first is that we’ll be tired earlier and have to go to bed before most other people. Next, our social life will be impacted because we’ll no longer be available to hang out with friends at night. Finally, if you like to collaborate to solve problems, then you won’t be able to do so early in the morning because nobody else will be awake.

Finding a way to get control over any part of our day seems like a magical discovery. Getting up earlier in the morning is a simple solution to a complex problem. However, making this kind of change in your life will cause ripples that will affect other parts of your life. Give it a try and then you make the call – are the benefits worth the cost for you?

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: If getting up at 4am buys you more time, do you think that getting up at 3am would be even better?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When you talk to the person with the CIO job and ask them what magic power they would like to have, right after the ability to fly you’ll more often than not hear that they’d like to be able to predict the future. The ability to peer into the future and know today what’s going to happen then would be a great skill to have – too bad none of us actually have it. Because of our lack of this magical power, we instead rely on experts to use their knowledge to make predictions about what is going to happen in the future. However, just how good are those predictions?