Productive Larks and Creative Owls

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

Tim Berry writes in Productive as a Morning Person, Creative as a Night Person

As a morning person, I’m generally more productive.
As a night person, I’m generally more creative.

Which I hadn’t considered before, but felt exactly right when I read it. I find I always feel productive when I am awake and working by 7:30AM–which may help explain why I believe we have “serious conversations with serious entrepreneurs” at the 7:30AM Bootstrappers Breakfasts.

We tend to schedule our hard core work sessions for the morning and defer phone calls and errands for the afternoon, one of the benefits of running your own business.

Late at night I tend to blog, although I will sometimes not publish a post until I have reviewed it “in the clear light of day.” Some startups (and VC firms) we have worked with have a “no E-Mail after 10pm” rule as folks can become more carried away. It’s one I try to follow as well.

Postscript: I submitted Tim Berry’s post on Hacker News and several folks commented, which led me to add some thoughts from that discussion as a postscript here:

  • In this context productive for me means “focused on closure” or “getting things done” and creative means “generating possibilities, exploring new approaches.” Obviously inspiration can strike at any time, and you have to find ways to get things done and even when you are not inspired. 
  • I notice that when I get enough sleep I will sometimes spend the last dream of the morning solving (or at least advancing on a solution) to a problem I have been wrestling with.
  • My dead time is after lunch until early evening, I try and schedule phone calls and interaction with other people to renew my energy.

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Comments (1)

  • SKMurphy » Cecily Drucker’s Startup Secrets


    [...] I have said before that entrepreneurship is an ongoing self-improvement project. This involves a certain amount of dissatisfaction with the status quo–including your own approach to the business. In my experience this can lead to a certain number of sleepless nights, some of these are productive. I have found it prudent to keep a pad of paper and a pen by my bed, it’s not unusual for me to wake up at 3AM or 4:30AM or 6AM with my mind racing with ideas: I will take ten or 20 minutes to get them written down before I forget them. I haven’t found it useful to stay up worrying, but sometimes I will get inspired and do good work. I blogged about this in “Productive Larks and Creative Owls” inspired by Tim Berry’s observation: “As a morning person, I’m generally more productive. As a night person, I’m generally more creative.” 4. Once you’ve invested your money, it is a company asset. [...]


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