Alright, I’ll admit that heading is kind of bogus.  Who can really determine how productive they are at work?  We’re not robots after all.    That said, given the best metric I have–the dreaded billable hour–I can honestly say that one small change I made this week was the impetus for me billing 25% more hours than I do in the average work week.

What did I do?  I simply started waking up at 5 a.m., instead of 7 a.m.

So now you’re probably thinking–well you work two more hours each day, so of course you’re billing out at a 25% higher rate. But here’s the thing–I am working the same exact amount of hours.  Let me explain:

I didn’t ease myself into my new alarm schedule.  I didn’t make any big plans for the change.  I just simply started setting my alarm for 5 and refusing to hit the snooze button.  I now arrive at work at 7 instead of 9.  I now leave work at 5 instead of 7, so I’m actually working the same amount of hours. And yet I have increased my billable hours (again, an admittedly soul-sucking metric) from an average of 4.5 per day to 6.  And I’m a night-owl, so if I can get up early then I know you can too.

WHY? (As In Why Am I Billing 25% More Hours Per Day)

I’ll admit, I didn’t make this change to start billing out more hours.  My plan at work has always been the same: I work hard all day and let the chips fall where they may.  The second you worship at the alter of the billable hour is the day you lose your soul in my profession (and probably most others).

What has happened is that when I get into the office in the morning there is nobody else there, and thus no distractions.  That’s true after 5:00 as well–which is why I always worked late–but by then I was always drained.  I was “working” but not really focusing and accomplishing tasks.  I don’t charge my clients for time it takes to complete something that should have been done in less time.

So, the early rising has made me more focused at work.  I procrastinate less and work more efficiently.  I don’t feel bad about billing for all the time I am working, because I am working damn hard.  And that leads to more billable hours.

The strange thing is I don’t even feel more tired.

WHY? (As in Why Don’t I Feel Tired?)

I think it’s because I simply made a decision.  “From now on I will wake up earlier,” I said to myself last Sunday.

I hate that stressful feeling every day during my commute where I always stress that I’ll be 5-10 minutes late.  I decided I didn’t want to live like that anymore.  Perhaps this is all so easy now because  it’s new, and with time I will revert to my old oversleeping ways.  (sounds sort of like dieting).

But I hope not.

I bet my bosses hope not too.