Super-early risers describe why 4 am is the most productive hour

Hilary Potkewitz, The Wall Street Journal:

Peter Shankman, a 44-year-old entrepreneur and speaker based in New York City, is usually out of bed a few minutes after 4 a.m. Twice a week he meets a buddy for a 10-mile run in the dark around lower Manhattan.

The city’s streets are usually deserted, providing a nearly distraction-free space for thinking. “If I’m busy dodging people or noticing who’s passing me, my ideas won’t come,” Mr. Shankman says.

By 7 a.m., he claims he is “showered, fed, watered and sitting at his desk” answering emails, writing or working on Faster Than Normal, a podcast focused on harnessing the advantages of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The flip side is that he is in bed by 8:30 p.m. “I’m exhausted, but in a good way, which means I won’t have the energy to do something stupid like eat two gallons of Ben & Jerry’s at 10:30 p.m.” He also says the early start gives him time to make his 3-year-old daughter an omelet for breakfast.

This is tempting. I like the idea of having a couple of hours to get started before the demands of the world crash in. 4 am wakeup seems extreme, but an hour or two earlier than I now awaken? Sure, why not?

Right now I feel like I rush into work on too little sleep and I’m already behind once I’m at my desk. That’s a problem with doing journalism for an international industry while based in the West Coast. Likewise, on days off it feels like I’m sleeping the day away.

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