You don’t have to get up at 5:30 in the morning. You don’t have to exercise first thing in the morning. You don’t have to write an hour every day. You don’t have to take 3 AP courses. You don’t have to concentrate on one task for hours at a time. You don’t have to be good at everything. And you can still be successful.
To be successful you have to do one thing really well: know yourself. If you know yourself, you can set yourself up to succeed. If you’re a night person, you’re never going to be a morning person. I know; I’ve tried. I hated getting up at 5:30 every single morning to be in my classroom by 7:10. I hated it every. single. morning. If you’re a night person you do your best work in the afternoon or evening. Own it, embrace it.
Does Your Focus Wander? Do You Have ADHD? Go with it!
If you do your best work in 30 minute sprints because you have a short attention span or ADHD, then work in sprints. Work 30 minutes, take a break, go back to work. Research shows it’s a very productive way to work. My magic sprint length is 45 minutes with a 5 minute break (I use the Breaktime app to time both). I know sprints work for me so I use them.
Seth Godin Doesn’t Tell
Seth Godin, the original internet marketer, famously refuses to talk about his morning and work routines because he knows that you can’t be successful copying what works for someone else.
So pay attention. When do you do your best work? How much sleep do you need to be alert all day? Did you know that people with ADHD typically need less sleep than most people! When does it work for you to exercise? What food makes you feel good? What work leaves you feeling energized? Get to know you and how you work best.
You do not have to change who you are to be successful at school or at work. Indeed, the only way to guarantee your eventual success is to honor your talents, your passions, your skills, and your work rhythm. Then, find a place that honors and respects them, too, and you will find yourself accomplishing more than you ever dreamed possible.
Now, go out and do ferocious work.