Stop Telling Me I Need to Wake Up Early to Be Successful

by | BiggerPockets.com

You do not need to wake up early to be successful.

You do not need to eat breakfast to be successful.

You do not need to meditate to be successful.

You do not need to journal to be successful.

You do not need to believe anyone else’s mantra to be successful.

You need to do what works for you to be successful.

You need to produce results to be successful.

I am tired of people telling me that I have to get up early to be successful. I am tired of people telling me that I have to perform a morning routine. I am tired of people telling me that I need to exercise, journal, meditate, reflect, or whatever other stuff it is people do between the hours of 5:00 and 8:00 a.m.

[Cue the flood of comments from people who wake up early about how wrong I am.]

This article is not written for the guy who likes getting up at 5:00 a.m. This article is written for the guy who would never under normal circumstances get up at 5:00 a.m. but does so in the name of productivity and/or success. This is a myth. It can work for some people, but it is not the act of getting up at 5:00 a.m. that does anything for you. It is the act of setting aside time and producing results with that time that counts. If that happens to be at 5:00 a.m. for you, great. If it happens to be later in the day for you (like it is for me) that’s great too. Please, stop listening to those folks who tell you to get up early to be more productive. You do not have to wake up early to be successful. You do not have to do anything anyone tells you about rituals or mornings to be successful.

I do not have to do these things to be successful. And neither do you.

 

Success Doesn’t Have to Happen at 5:00 a.m.

I do not do these things, and I believe that I am off to a semi-successful start to my career.

I have achieved a modest level of financial independence; I own well over $1M in real estate. My assets produce thousands of dollars per month in passive cash flow, and I wrote a best-selling book. I have helped grow BiggerPockets to 800,000 members. I have generated close to $2M in direct revenue for BiggerPockets. I have my real estate license. I enjoy my evenings and weekends, and I play rugby, ski, bike, and maintain my body. I’ve read literally hundreds of business, success, management, and other books related to my career. I am 26 years old, and I hope to continue to produce results in perpetuity. I’m just getting started, I hope.

I wake up most mornings between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., which I feel is pretty standard, if not a little on the late side for your typical worker. I do not mess around with the alarm clock and do not snooze past the time I set to wake up—that IS a waste of time, in my opinion. I drink some water, take care of personal hygiene by brushing my teeth and showering, pack up my things, and bike or drive to work, depending on the weather. Sometimes I eat breakfast, but much of the time I’m not really hungry when I wake up, so I wait until lunch to eat my first bite of the day. Surprisingly frequently, I’m just truly not hungry until a late lunch (1:00 p.m. or later). That’s how I roll. You’re going to tell me that’s less effective than forcing myself to eat a healthy breakfast? Duly noted.

Related: Search morning The 7-Step Morning Routine That Transforms My Entire Day

I go to work, work hard, set goals, track my progress, work out in the afternoon or evening, track my progress, and plan my day the night before. I have had success doing this.

Yes, I Tried the “Miracle Morning”

I understand that there are books out there like The Miracle Morning that talk about the “profound” impact that waking up early can have on your life and the morning routines of early risers who have an almost mystical air of self-righteousness. I read The Miracle Morning. And I tried it. All that happened was I went to bed earlier. Then, I wasted 30 minutes doing the S.A.V.E.R.S. (Silence, Affirmations, Visualizations, Scribing, Reading, Exercise).

Great.

I experienced no increased results and no profound change over my body. I did not get into shape. I did not suddenly achieve at a higher rate. I did not suddenly feel more energy. I did not write better, communicate better, look better, or produce more. I still felt groggy (I did this for several months and approached this with the highest level of enthusiasm), and I produced less in the mornings that I did in the evenings. I know a large number of people who have read this book, gotten really excited, talked with their noses in the air about how incredible it was that they got up at 5:30 a.m., blogged about it, and then went on to wake up at a more reasonable time within a few months. They now acknowledge their pattern with an abashed grin. They continue to produce results regardless of when they wake up.

I was one of those people. I did this in early 2015 for a few months.

Again, the big change for me was that I DID start going to bed earlier. I can’t go to bed at 11:30 p.m. and get up at 5:30 a.m. and feel good. So, I went to bed at 9:30 p.m.

Great—I went to bed earlier.

However, there is a problem that comes from waking up early. Because it is so unpleasant for some people (like me), we feel the need to justify our sacrifice. We try to point to any improvement in our lives as a result of this early morning slog. And, when we look for any reason to justify our actions, we find them. Then, we shout them from the rooftops — “See! I’m not getting up so very early in the morning and meditating and visualizing and affirming all for naught! Something happened!”

Well, of course something will happen if you spend three hours per day on it! Getting up early had nothing to do with it though.

Again, some people do find this to be a beneficial practice in their lives. But, be wary of any overnight success stories from waking up early. That’s a farce. It doesn’t matter when you get up if you are productive with your waking hours.

I went back to my old ways and continued working and producing results between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00–7:00 p.m. And I’m doing just fine. In fact, I do almost all of my writing between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. That’s just when I tend to get in the groove.

Stop telling me I have to wake up at 5:30 to produce results.

Stop telling me I have to eat a hearty breakfast to produce results.

That’s simply not true.

I am not knocking people who do get up early. Good for you. Glad it works. Stop telling ME that I have to get up early. I do not. Maybe I’ll change one day, but for now, my current routine is just fine.

makemore

Related: The One Thing Every Real Estate Investor Should Do Each Morning

Conclusion

The point of this article is to save those of you who are not interested in waking up early from believing the fallacy that waking up early will suddenly change your life for the better. For some people, waking up early is an obvious solution to getting time to working on their most important goals. If that is an obvious way to improve for you, then great, act on it. You don’t need someone else to tell you to get up early if that’s the only time you can do some specific type of work.

But stop thinking that waking up early will have a “profound” change for you if you are not a morning person.

I do get up early sometimes. I do go through phases where I get up a little earlier or get really into making awesome breakfasts. I am not bashing those things. They are great.

I like to meet people early in the morning because I don’t want to book up my evenings. So, if you want to chat about real estate or personal finance, I’ll typically meet you for a coffee at 7:15 a.m. I’ve literally never had someone tell me they are busy at 7:15 a.m. It’s a good time to schedule meetings.

Sometimes, my evenings book up, so if I want to work out, I HAVE to work out at 7:15; otherwise, I just won’t get it in.

There’s a time and place for getting up early. I’m no robot, and I may alter my pattern if future life changes take effect and some advantage to waking early comes back into my life. My pattern has changed in the past and may change again in the future. But that will have everything to do with my circumstances. It will likely not be influenced by my goals, which I plan to achieve with my waking hours regardless of what those hours are.

Rising early is not mandatory for success. In fact, I’d argue that it has little or nothing to do with MY success.

It may also have little to do with your success.

Wake up when you want. Make whatever hours you keep count. Don’t feel guilty for sleeping in. Focus on producing results whenever you so please and in whatever manner works for you.

Be a normal human being, but achieve superhuman results. And do it however and whenever best works for you.

Do you believe there is truly some unique power in waking up early—or do you think similar results can be achieved by best using your time throughout other parts of the day?

Weigh in with a comment.

About Author

Scott Trench

VP of Operations at BiggerPockets.com, Scott is also a licensed real estate broker/agent, real estate investor managing 8 units in Denver, CO with a partner, a house-hacker, and personal finance nerd. His book, "Set for Life" (published through BiggerPockets Publishing) thoroughly details a step-by-step journey to early financial freedom for full-time workers earning median incomes and starting with little or negative net worth. When he's not helping full-time workers move toward early financial freedom, the 26-year-old can be found playing rugby, biking, or skiing.

94 Comments

  1. Cindy Larsen

    Scott,

    I’m with you. Some people are morning people, some are night owls. Being a morning person does not make you more successful, nor does it mean you are more virtuous. Unfortunately, our society values early rising. Maybe it is because the puritans espoused this value. Maybe it is a holdover from when most people were farmers and needed to work dawn to dusk in order to survive, and candle light and lantern light was expensive.

    Then is not now, thankfully. Scientific studies have been done that show that even farmers don’t need to get up at dawn to milk the cows. It turns out that cows are perfectly happy to be milked at 9am everyday, or whenever, as long as it is a consistent time.

    I believe that people should live however they choose, including setting their waking hours whenever works for them. I do my best thinking between 10pm and 2 am. That is just my natural rhythm, and even years of forcing my sleep schedule earlier (because of going to college and/or work at early hours) did not affect my natural rhythm: as soon as I stop using the alarm clock, within days I’m right back to getting up late and staying up till the middle of the night. I’m very productive, and very successful. So successful that I don’t have a W-2 job with a boss telling what hours to work.

    Work smarter, not just harder. I work hard at the hours that work for me. So should everyone. After all we have electric light now (unlike our puritan agrarian ancestors) and computers so we can communicate any time, day or night, no matter the sleep schedule of the people we need to communicate with. It is possible for morning people and night owls to have face to face meetings in the afternoons. Why not?

    Stick to your guns Scott, and don’t let other people tell you how to live. If what you are doing doesn’t hurt anyone else, you have the right to do it. If sleeping in makes you happy, go right ahead and pursue happiness.

    • Scott Trench

      Thank you for your comment Cindy! I think it’s all about doing what makes sense to you. I’ll stick to my guns, and I hope that others are able to do the same for what makes the most sense in their circumstance. Not get guilted into getting up early in the name of being productive.

    • Liz Brown

      Yes! I’m all about this Scott. This was morning reading today and it put a huge smile on my face. Hard work is hard work whether its at 7am or 7pm. You are dead on – we are not robots. If every day is the same, I get bored. Boredom is my productivity killer.

      Related: Some believe (and I know) that we solve problems more creatively in the morning while our brains are still in a fuzzy state. We tend to be less inhibited and cautious than we might be during times where we are more alert. We don’t immediately rule out “crazy” ideas, we allow them simmer. The morning following a tough day, I come up with some of my best solutions. My mind can re-arrange the puzzle pieces so I see the picture in a different way. It’s so valuable, and it requires sleep.

      I don’t mind the “wake up early to succeed” philosophy, but the school of thought that sleep is boring or unnecessary scares me. A recent BP blog post linked to an article where a bigwig CEO said, “I’ve never been big on sleep. Life is too boring to sleep!” Totally inspiring, but completely unrealistic for me. I’ve tried running on 5 hours. I am not more productive. My body plots revenge against me. Glad I’m not alone.

      Thank you again for this post and affirmation for the rest of us. Kudos on Set for Life. It was a great read.

  2. Todd Hanks

    It is so refreshing to see an article like this. You would think that by the age of 46, I would have this subject down already. But, believe it or not, I still sometimes feel a tinge of guilt about being a night owl and not waking up earlier after I see those posts about strict early morning regimen. For years, I have tried to get into that groove, but it never lasted. Simply put, my brain works best from about 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. I usually get to bed between 1:00 and 1:30, and I usually get up around 7:30 like you. Sometimes I get up earlier and go to bed earlier, but MOST of the time, that is the routine. I get less sleep than most of the early morning people I know, yet I am more productive and more successful than many of them.

    Thanks again for the perspective. You have given me renewed hope in the fact that I’m not too different after all.

    • Scott Trench

      I need more sleep than you! I usually go to bed around 11:30 and wake up at 7:30. Whatever works for you works for you. Nobody knows your body and pattern and what makes you successful better than you. Why should you care? It sounds like you put in the time late at night… when the early birds are all asleep – how lazy and undisciplined of them not to work until 1:00 am on their passions 🙂

  3. Thank you Scott. Getting up early was what I did when I was a corporate drone. Got up at 5:15 every day for 20 years. Worked out. Drove to the office. Arrived by 7:30 am because that was what was expected. Got home at 6:30, played with the kids, ate dinner, supervised homework, put kids to bed if we were lucky by 10:30. If I was lucky, I watched Jay Leno ( yes I am that old) for 15 minutes and was asleep at 11pm. 6 to 6.5 hours sleep tops every night. I felt like crap, especially by Friday. Drank loads of coffee. Very stressed out.

    Thankfully, I was pushed out and got a “package”. It was ok and it tided us over. Started building a rental business. Now I have 40 properties. Several million in equity. Roughly 120 grand cash flow. Few taxes because of all the writeoffs.

    Go to bed at 11 . Get up at 7 or so feeling great. I plan my day. I set my schedule unless I have an inspection or closing or something that cannot be moved. My renters are working families. They usually call me in the morning, at lunch or sometimes around 5 to 6 when they get off work. They are my customers; I have to take care of them. I don’t do the physical work. I hire that out, but I am the boss.

    I prefer to pay bills and make phone calls in the am. I drive my properties 2 to 3 times a week ( rotate them around) in the afternoon. Every 3 weeks, I have seen every house. I run 4 days a week. I lift weights 4 days a week. I walk my dog 3 miles every day.

    I am not rich, but I have a nice life. Sure beats corporate America.

    Get organized. Get a system that works for you. Don’t worry about what everybody else is doing.

  4. Completely agree. I’ve tried these sleep models but what gets me each time is the “entrepreneurial curse”, ideas churning in one’s head and/or excitement to jump on a problem while trying to go to bed early. So I’ve finally just accepted this and stopped forcing myself to tire myself out as much as possible during the day and/or to try to force myself to sleep (it becomes a waste of time) and just go with the flow and needs of my body. Note: I have the liberty to do so because I’m running my own business.

    I think problems arise when your sleep schedule gets too much out of alignment with the rest of the business world’s and that of your friends and/or relatives, and/or it’s inconsistent and makes a mess out of your circadian rhythm. In which case your health and performance is impacted and you go into periodic sleep debt to keep up and then you have to pay it off at some point (hopefully). The problem is compounded if you’re not tracking your sleep because studies have found that we get worse and worse at estimating our sleep deprivation the more our sleep debt piles up. A solution to help pay off the debt as you go is taking naps (probably best to have them scheduled), used by some famous and successful figures (some who went counter to the traditionally recommended sleep models, btw): http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/famous-nappers-albert-einstein-salvador-dali-bill-clinton-go-to-bed-to-get-ahead/news-story/8e764c1d50a13d122641bcbd4086624d

    Regarding not eating breakfast, are you aware it’ll significantly increase your risk for obesity by 450% according to the Abs diet? Just a heads up on that one as your metabolism slows down as you age and/or if you have a genetic predisposition towards gaining weight.

    In terms of meditative time etc. any time I engage in a monotonous task, or take a shower, that’s my meditative time! Which is also called diffused thinking time in neuroscience, whereby introspections or even solutions to problems you’ve focused on during work just pop up in your head, which is no accident, your brain has actually been working on a problem as a “background task” all along! You just need to periodically do something else to let it come up with the answer. I just always have a pad or device to write down my thoughts and introspections so they’re not lost — yes, even while in the shower (look up shower idea pads on Amazon). If I really need to slow things down, then I practice cardiac coherence, where you just breath in and out with smooth transitions, none deep breaths required as long as you inhale/exhale at equal intervals, for 5 to 10 minutes, there’s a great TED talk about it here: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/famous-nappers-albert-einstein-salvador-dali-bill-clinton-go-to-bed-to-get-ahead/news-story/8e764c1d50a13d122641bcbd4086624d

    • Scott Trench

      this is awesome! I think that the breakfast thing can certainly lead to obesity (I’m no stranger to putting on weight, I gained about 15 pounds during the last year) but I do believe that had more to do with my inability to exercise the way I would have liked (broken foot). I’m rapidly regaining my prior fitness level now that I’m back to lifting, running, cycling, and swimming 4-5 times per week.

  5. It really doesn’t matter how what time you get up, if you are sleeping the same amount of hours as people who get up at 5 a.m. You’re just accomplishing things at different times. If you are going to bed at 11 p.m. and getting up at 5 a.m. (dead tired) then you aren’t going to be that productive anyway. So yeah…it’s basically about just going to bed earlier, not getting more things done.

  6. Those are great points. I’m an early riser – usually at about 0630-0700 each morning. Which is late by some people’s standards. I don’t know what it is for me but I just feel more accomplished if I take care of things earlier then have the rest of the day to do whichever I want. As long as you’re productive with you’re time that’s all that matters.

  7. That “Early to bed and early to rise” mantra was devised by pedantic conservatives who assumed that anyone still in bed after 5 AM is committing nefarious acts. One could make the argument that people who live by strict rules set by god knows who are probably not going to be the most successful in any business that requires thinking outside the box.

    • Scott Trench

      Makes sense. Back in the good old high school football days, our coaches used to have a mandatory practice on Saturday at 7:00 am sharp. We also had offseason workouts at 7:00 am M-Thurs. I suspect that the reason for this is that we would have gotten into trouble out late as high schoolers with nothing to do.

      However, I am now an adult and not going to get in trouble in the evenings. I also have more opportunities (and more work) than I can ever possibly take advantage of. No advantage inherent in waking up early there..

  8. Michael Steven Harris

    I have been following the miracle morning plan and it has had big results. But I view the regimens as instilling discipline in life something many never cultivate. It matters less whether you are an early riser or night owl then having a system to produce. I wake at 4 and do whatever I want to get done by 7 then go and work for the man. I come first in this arrangement just my 2 cents.

  9. Justin Spitzer

    Scott,

    I love this post! Very invigorating! I totally agree. One of my past college roommates, a brilliant entrepreneur, tried following Thomas Edison’s sleep habits involving mid-day naps to see if it would improve his productivity. What he discovered was that he actually wasted more time trying to plan his day around these mandatory naps, sometimes missing important mid-day events and activities.

    Only you know your most productive hours of the day. Plan your life around that and don’t be shamed into following whatever everyone else is doing. I know that in school, I worked best from 7-10 PM, so I would sleep in when I didn’t have early class and do most of my work in the evenings.

  10. Jackie Botham

    Great article! I wholeheartedly agree. I am a night owl by nature as well. I usually go to bed about midnight and get up about 8:30am unless I have an early appointment. Mostly, I try to schedule things for 10am or later. My husband is an early riser and sometimes I feel like he judges me for my later-than-normal schedule but it is working out just fine for me and my business. Thanks for the post!

  11. Darren Sager

    I’m usually up between 4:30am- 5:30am every morning. I don’t use an alarm clock. I go to bed early and wake up early. I do find that (as I’m writing this at 5:15am local time) getting up before the rest of the world wakes up allows you to get things done without distraction and I think that’s the greatest aspect of the early morning riser thing. If you’re able to do work efficiently and be a night owl so be it. I used to be one.

    I agree with you Scott that you need to do what works best for you, and your body’s natural clock. But you need to have a life that allows you to do that. I’m fortunate enough that I’m able to have a life that is not dictated by a job. This allows me to do what I want when I want. My rentals allow me to do this. If you’re able to do this now while having your 9-5 that’s awesome! As long as you get your work done no matter how long or short of a time span it takes, that’s all that matters.

  12. Luis Vilar

    Awesome article. I agree. Unfortunately, in my engineering job, I am required to be in the office between 7-8 am. I compare my productiveness to my days in school, and definitely I feel a lot more productive working afternoon. I worked 2nd shift for some time and I was doing so much with my time that it was incredible.
    My short term goal is to buy my first rental (house hack). Long term is to create enough passive income to be financially free.

  13. Shannon S.

    Total agree. I recently read the Miracle morning, and see some value in it. I certainly see the value of working out early because it’s often tough to fit it in later in the day, thus it can get missed. That’s one thing I’m trying to incorporate. Also, there are obviously benefits to journaling, meditation, affirmations, etc. Your post did a good job of pointing out that early is not for everyone, and it’s certainly not the main component of any success routine. I’m
    not an early riser nor a night owl: my natural rythym when I am following a healthy, productive lifestyle and routine is in bed by 11/12 and up by 6.30/7.30. Bottom line: it’s about what you do with the hours in between! 🙂

  14. Richard Potts

    This was a gutsy post, Mr. Trench. Kudos. Your successes at such a young age obviously give you credibility on this issue.

    I am a frustrated morning person. I know that the Miracle Morning would be beneficial for me. Unfortunately, I suffer from insomnia. Unless I have a Miracle Night, there can be no Miracle Mornings.

    So, your post helps alleviate some growing guilt.

  15. Ben Raygor

    Great post Scott. You included all the necessary disclaimers in there. Very helpful and thought provoking. For purposes of conversation among peers, it sounds like you are saying we should be much more results focused instead of process focused.

    “What have you been doing lately and how has that been working for you?”
    instead of
    “What time do you wake up and how many minutes do you spend working out or reading about real estate?”

  16. Erik Orozco

    Great article Scott! For those struggling with this decision (due to all the motivational gurus telling you to get up at 3 or 4 am) I would suggest do what works for you, but more importantly listen to your body and be flexible with your schedule if your circumstances allow it. I prefer to get up around 4-5 am, between 5-8am I get a work out in, read, listen to podcasts, and eat breakfast. Occasionally I’ll sleep in till 7 or 8am and get some much needed rest.

    Andres as far as your comment on “Regarding not eating breakfast, are you aware it’ll significantly increase your risk for obesity by 450% according to the Abs diet?” This is a statistic from a “fad diet”, where independent studies use words such as “linked” “risk” etc. loosely. Simply because you skip breakfast doesn’t mean you will become obese or your chances of becoming obese increase dramatically. Yes, eating a well balanced breakfast can provide the energy you need to power through your morning. That being said what’s most important for a person who is seeking to live a healthy life is not when you eat and don’t eat (or how many times you eat a day) but eating macro-balanced and micro-nutrient dense meals with the appropriate portion size according to your goals.

    Sorry guys I know this is a real estate forum just felt I had to share my thoughts! The healthier we are the more we can enjoy the fruits of our labor!

    • Scott Trench

      Erik – thanks for the words here. I think that it goes back to “what’s working for you lately.” I definitely eat breakfast occasionally and am highly active. But, I am no stranger to weight gain. I put on 15 pounds this past year, as I broke my foot (lisfranc injury) and was out of activity for almost 8 months. Those pounds are quickly coming off now though, as I get back into my athletic routine.

  17. Thank you for this article, I’ve been saying this for years. I grew up on a ranch where you had to work during sunlight hours and it was terrible, I was always tired. I now work in film and set my own hours. I go to sleep whenever I’m tired and wake up whenever my body is done resting, I haven’t set my alarm in years and it’s made a huge difference in my mood. It’s like every day is the weekend, I get out of bed whenever I like. I feel like I have so much more control over my life.

  18. Michael Woodward

    COULDN’T AGREE MORE!! Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day. There’s nothing magical about early morning hours unless you’re internal clock thrives on that time period. It all depends on the person. My internal sleep clock is most efficient between 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. If I go to bed too early, I’ll wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 and can’t go back to sleep….. then I’m GARBAGE for the rest of the day! I don’t function well on less than 7-1/2 hours of sleep… 8 is better… 8-1/2 is great!…. and at 48 years old, I’ve learned that early doesn’t work well for me.

    Regarding “The Miracle Morning” (I read it) ….. In my opinion, personal planning and self discipline are a different subject altogether that should not be directly linked to what time someone wakes up in the morning.

    Thanks for the article Scott!! It was refreshing!!

    • Scott Trench

      Thanks Michael! I agree and have a similar internal sleep clock and need the same 7.5-8.5 hours. I find that if I get 8.5 hours too many days I can’t sleep going forward, but that if I get 7-7.5 for a few days, I’ll sleep 8-9 hours on the weekends. So it’s somewhere in there and I suspect that my body does not want a consistent amount of sleep but a bit of variation in that zone.

  19. Nika Dobrovolna

    great post!
    I’ve been getting up whole my childhood as a figure skater and got my results from doing my practice in the morning (as ice was not available for us later).
    But now I love getting up later, spending some valuable time with my partner before we leave to work and focus on work related activities later. I am productive evenings the most!

    On a diff. topic – I’ve been following BP for a while now but I am excited to learn Scotch is only 26!! What a great accomplishments you have achieved already!
    I am 25, managing my first rental property for a year now and this is the solid motivation to keep going. Thank you!

  20. Good points here Scott. Once you find out how many hours of sleep are sufficient for you and when you perform your best, you can organize your day around that.

    I do like the ideas in the Miracle Morning, and I tried all of the SAVERS for a few weeks. The only ones that kind of stuck with me are meditation, reading and exercise so I just do that every morning and it works great. Doesn’t take too long either. So my advice is to just do what works and not follow anyone else’s formula to a T.

    I will say though if you have a family and/or kids you live with, waking up early in the morning to get stuff done is helpful if you don’t want to sacrifice your time with family. Hal Elrod does have a wife and kids so I’m guessing he does everything early so he can spend time with them. On my days off my family is usually up and about around 9am so I try to wake up about an hour or so before to get some stuff done. I don’t wanna be that dad or husband who has his face in the computer all day because I’m not a morning person.

  21. Michael Orlandoni

    Scott, I agree with you on this article. I think the main factor behind the push to get people to wake up early and tackle the day is to set routines and develop self-discipline. I think that anyone who has control of their life does not need to wake up at 5am every morning.

    When i read The Miracle Morning, I noticed that this was not so much a book telling people to wake up, but a book trying to instill order and discipline into people’s lives. By giving them a “guide” for how to wake up and start their day, I think this helps to steer people in to a more purpose-driven life.

    I, myself, do not wake up until 7-8am each morning because i’m also more of a night owl (many years of bartending through college have done this to me). I still make it a point to follow a routine and make sure that what i’m doing with the 17 to 18 hours a day that I am up are used wisely and with purpose.

    Once a person can control what they do with the hours that they are up, they will be able to sleep whenever they want. Maybe you can write a book title “The Miracle Evening” 😉

  22. Jonathan Boyd

    I think I read this in some of the forums the other day… lol I agree. Work when it’s best for you. If I’m studying or writing, evening is best time (like between 9 and midnight). If it’s tasks, I get up at 6 and find my steam better that way. Just find what works and do it! Good article.

  23. Hey Scott- Great inspirational article and fun to read. My main struggle is time management and self- discipline. I have to get a consistent routine going. Also need to surround myself with more positive minded colleagues and also seek out a mentor in order to grow. Any suggestions Scott on how to seek out a mentor. I am interested in Wholesaling. Very eager to learn and looking forward to grow. Again great article Scott

  24. Nathan G.

    First, there is an old idiom that says, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” That saying may not apply to everyone but it is generally true for the masses. Is Scott Trench claiming to be wiser than Benjamin Franklin?

    Second, Scott Trench is not an ordinary 26-year-old. It’s ridiculous to claim that what works for him works for everyone. We all know someone that can eat whatever they want and in whatever quantities they want – without exercise – and still remain skinny. It works for them but would be disastrous for the majority. Scott was clearly raised with a little more financial savvy than most of us. Someone taught him the importance of budgeting, setting money aside, and even investing in real estate, which most of us had to learn through self-discovery much later in life. He is employed at BiggerPockets where he is surrounded by people that live and breath real estate investing, something most of us dream of. On top of all that, he’s smarter than the average bear. Claiming we should follow his routine is like claiming we should eat like Obama and smoke cigarettes to get skinny. The sound advice in the Miracle Morning and similar books applies to the majority of people. I can find people that do not follow Scott’s financial advice yet they are still wealthy. Does that mean Scott’s advice doesn’t apply?

    Third, Scott Trench has not proven himself. Yes, he has some investments and is on an amazing trajectory but that doesn’t mean his system is proven. Scott wasn’t married with three kids when he discovered the benefits of real estate investing, having to live on a tight budget while trying to save every penny to afford his first home and then figure out how to save for investment property. He hasn’t survived a major market downturn like 2008. He didn’t grow up poor, enter the workforce as a minimum-wage slob punching the clock, work his way up the chain for ten years before finally earning enough to get ahead, and THEN discover he had been limited the entire time by his upbringing and mindset. He hasn’t been fired, broke, or bankrupted by $400,000 in medical bills three months after his 18th birthday and leaving his parents insurance. Scott is single whereas many of us work a full day then come home to kids, spouses, homework, and other responsibilities and we don’t get personal time until 10PM, at which point we are brain-dead and ready for bed. Early morning is our only opportunity for complete silence and focus! The point is this: the podcasts are full of people that were very, very successful in 2007 and broke in 2009. People should be learning from them, not the guy that hasn’t dealt with the struggles of life yet (No offense, Scott!)

    Fourth, I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that the majority of people poo-pooing the “Early to bed” mantra and jumping on the Trench Train (Trademark 2017) are probably not at the top of their game. Scott’s post tickles their ears because they want to feel good about their lack of discipline. It’s much easier to listen to someone you agree with so you can continue binge-watching TV and sleeping in while never making any significant progress in life. About 96% of our population prove that a lack of discipline will never build wealth.

    Fifth, Scott is a unique individual in a unique situation. What works for him will not work for the vast majority of people and 94% of the population is proof of this. His financial advice is time-tested and should be followed most of the time by most of the people. Early to bed, early to rise is also time tested and should be followed most of the time by most of the people.

    NOTE: I just had to look. There were around 40 comments so I went and looked at the profile of everyone praising Scott for his sage advice. Guess how many of them are independently wealthy?

    • Michael Woodward

      Nathan… good grief… cool the jets! No need for a full frontal attack. You clearly missed the whole point of the article. There’s no Trench Train to jump on… Scott’s just pointing out the fallacy that simply getting up early will make you (everyone) more productive. He never said this would work for everyone…. quite the opposite… he said it DOESN’T work for everyone. You should have read the article and responses more carefully before unloading both barrels on everyone. You’re the one missing the point so your condescension and vitriol are completely out of place.

      Regarding your “NOTE”…. You have no clue whether or not people are “independently wealthy” but regardless of that, you have no right to make that a judgement against anyone. What’s the purpose of that?!? It’s completely irrelevant! Is there a “Nathan G.” empire out there somewhere that we’re all supposed to be impressed with that would give you the clout to justify your response? Your apology is apropos.

      • Scott Trench

        Michael – no point in writing a post that everyone agrees with and that contains obvious information. That’s a boring piece of writing that helps no one. What helps people is to get them to think, and not about getting up early or late, but about producing results. That’s why I wrote the post. Clearly, Nathan’s schedule works for him, and I believe my schedule works for me.

        I don’t expect nor want an apology. I am thankful to Nathan for expressing his view.

        • Michael Woodward

          Scott – I respect your decision to excuse Nathan’s extremely disrespectful response but I disagree that he was simply expressing his view. I support full expression of opinion but that expression should be void of direct attacks on others and should be very accurate. Nathan’s piece was neither. I fully support anyone’s right to disagree and I’m not asking for his agreement about the sleep schedule but everyone else expressed their agreement or disagreement with due respect. There’s no reason he couldn’t do the same. In my opinion, he still owes an open apology….. not just to you but to the posters he was criticizing. I admire your ability to take it on the chin but I can’t tolerate a bully.

        • Nathan G.

          Michael, you’re taking this way too far. I’m not bullying anyone. I did not conduct a “full-frontal attack” on Scott any more than he conducted one on Hal and those that agree with the Miracle Morning or other processes. I’m also not “judging” anyone any more than you are judging me. I can see where someone could read it that way but that’s due to my inability to convey meaning through written word.

          Scott, I didn’t mean to imply you are successful because of a privileged life. I’m making the point that some people have advantages based on upbringing, education, careers, etc. A surgeon making $600,000 a year doesn’t need the same tools as a single mother of three working as an accountant or the single 24-year-old college graduate with an entry-level job as a data processor. I’m not attacking you or the surgeon for having an advantage over others; I’m just saying your situation enables you to use a different system and still find success.

          Hal didn’t write his book with Scott, Michael, or Brian as his primary audience any more than Scott wrote his book with Dave Ramsey in mind. Hal’s system is excellent advice for the vast majority of Americans that are stuck in dead-end jobs, drowning in debt, chained by limiting mind-sets and wasting too much time on non-productive activities. Isn’t that what BP is all about?

    • Scott Trench

      Nathan – you are absolutely right in each point here. Except – I personally know a good number of the commenters on this post and about 10 are independently wealth (and all of them have given me both positive and negative feedback over the years on my writing!).

      Ben Franklin – my personal hero and role model. I take *most* of his advice in life and try to live life as he did. I just work a little later. I wonder if his opinion might be different now that we have electricity and one can work productively well into the evening in the 21st century. Something we will never know though.

      I was raised in an upper-middle-class household. I was not really taught about money or investing at all growing up, but I did know not to spend more than I earned, and I certainly had opportunities to succeed and fewer barriers to success than many folks in this country. I had all the food I could want, transportation, and was able to do all the normal things in childhood (sports, video games, biking the neighborhood) and high school (I even was able to drive a beat up old toyota corolla thanks to my parents generosity) .

      So you have me there. I cannot feel bad about my upbringing, but I believe there are a good number of folks out there with similarly carefree childhoods that are able to make a median income.

      It is not for us to tell other people to get up early or stay up late. I believe it is up to us to let people know what *actually* matters in achieving one’s goals is focus and discipline. I prefer to wake up between 7:00 and 8:00 and attack my goals ferociously from 9:00 AM to 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 PM or even later on many days. Many other people say the same.

      Obviously we are in agreement on a few points. If my posts tickles a reader’s ear and makes them feel good about binge watching TV, that’s a shame. That person will not be successful. But if my post helps someone that works late and gets up late stop feeling guilty about the pattern that works for them, I’m happy.

    • Michael Chambless

      I have 3 kids and don’t wake up until between 7 and 8am everyday. I also grew up in a regular middle income home that my parents still live in which is still only worth about $100k. I don’t start working on anything until after I drop my kids off at a private school at 9am. Why am I saying all this? Maybe because by your, Nathan, standards we should be bums who binge watch tv. But we are independently wealthy by our standards. We stay up late watching tv, reading, playing board games, etc. We also do whatever we want whenever we want because we built our life around our personal desires. I work as much or as little as I want and I’m no different than any one else. I went to college got over $100k student loan debt and don’t even use the piece of paper I paid for. You can’t say a majority of people who don’t get up early aren’t successful nor can you say anyone is unsuccessful because everyone has different ideas of what is successful to them. I have lived through the 2008 downturn lost everything and still built myself back up. I lost everything while following everyone else’s rules. Such as get up early, go to school, and get a job. Now I’m following my rules and no one will ever take away my success. Just because something works for you doesn’t mean it’s right for the majority Nathan. People like myself, Scott, and others on Biggerpockets want different paths than the normal path. The point of this article is to open people’s eyes to not listen to others telling us what to do and do what is best for us.

  25. Joe Sillaman

    This is exactly how I succeed. Why wake up early to try and force a rhythm on your body when you don’t have too. Wake up just a bit later, feel rested, be more productive and find you own rhythm. I’m the same as you. I can get my best work done late night. There is no exact formula to life.

  26. Brian Burke

    I’m so glad you wrote this article Scott. Until I read it I didn’t even realize that there were two five o’clocks in a day. LOL

    Nathan brought up a lot of interesting points, and he is right that your advice is not for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that early to rise is right for everyone nor that late to rise is wrong for everyone. To each their own, I say.

    And maybe Nathan is right that Scott was raised with financial savvy, was taught the value of real estate investing, is immersed in REI by working at BP, got lucky in a lot of ways and is unproven. Or maybe that’s wrong, I can’t say for sure because I don’t know Scott’s story.

    But I know mine. My parents idea of budgeting and setting money aside was to always hide the car in the garage because the repo man can’t get it from there. My lesson in financial savvy was to make the kids answer the phone when the bill collectors called. And my first job was bagging groceries for $5 per hour and it was a very proud moment for me when I was promoted to janitor and got a $0.39/hr raise.

    I bought my first real estate investment when I was 20 and still working in the grocery store eating macaroni and cheese for dinner every night. I had no money but my mother, brother and sisters were soon to be homeless, so what to do when no landlord would touch her bad credit? Yup, buy a house and rent it to her myself. Thankfully I was able to convince a seller to carry back the down payment I didn’t have.

    Then I bought my next investment by maxing out credit cards and struggling to make a few bucks. And these early investments were losers…but I kept going even while working full time and putting myself through the police academy on nights and weekends.

    Now it’s been almost 30 years. I have survived market cycles. I’ve bought over 700 properties in the expensive state of California. And the real estate in my portfolio is worth close to $150 million and counting. I’ve raised tens of millions from investors to grow this business even though I started out not knowing a single person that could rub two nickels together, including myself. I had no advantageous upbringing. No high-paying job. No immersion in real estate. No BiggerPockets to turn to for advice. And without getting up early.

    Thus, I reject the idea that Scott is unique because of only outside influence or luck. Success comes from within, no one else is going to do it for you.

    • Scott Trench

      I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet that this man Brian Burke is in the top 0.1% of users on BiggerPockets in terms of success found through a real estate career. Thank you for your support, I would be fortunate to find as much success in my career as you have in yours one day.

      I do have a question though – I HAVE to imagine that you are not sleeping in past 9:00 AM every day. Or are you? Do you keep “reasonable” hours of going to bed between 10:00 and midnight and rising between 6:00 and 8:00?

      • Brian Burke

        Back in my law enforcement days I sometimes got off work at 2AM, 5AM or 7AM. So I would get up at 10AM, noon, or even 2PM. But that feels like a lifetime ago.

        For the last 15 years I’ve been doing only my real estate biz full time, so now I’m down by midnight and up at 7AM…except on weekends I get the treat of sleeping in until 8.

        I’m in the office between 9:30 and 10 every morning. Some people work a 9 to 5. I work a 10 to 6. By design I have a five minute commute…I wouldn’t lease an office any further from my house. So I’m home in time to spend some quality time with my wife, have a meal without work interruptions, and then I can catch up on any other work demands as needed through the evening…and post on BP, of course.

  27. Julece Glaum

    Scott

    Finally someone who agrees with me. I’ve hated mornings and early mornings especially since birth. No literally. I never did well in my first two classes in school and even chose afternoon and evening classes my first year of college.

    I told my mom (s dedicated early riser) at noon. I proved it to her dismay.

    Your point is right work when you are at your best not some guru’s best. Your productivity will reward you.

  28. This is great, but I think you’ve missed some things you may understand a lot better in a later phase of life.

    Apart from the obvious point that everyone has a different natural body clock, getting up crazy early is ‘miraculous’ for those whose time is easily commandeered by others (colleagues, work crises, KIDS…). Every sane person is fast asleep at 5am so no one calls, cries or CCs you on an email. This provides a golden opportunity to do the “Important but not Urgent” tasks that lead to results, but can often get pushed aside throughout a busy day.

    Scott, you’re a single guy, so you don’t have a family to invest your evenings into. And I highly doubt Josh Dorkin is calling emergency meetings or sending out stressful emails that demand a reply at 9pm (unless the office has asbestos again). For the most part – your time is your own. This is not the case for a corporate family man/woman who has many important people & tasks clamouring for their attention during ‘waking hours’.

    You could argue that the ‘miracle morning’ could be replaced with the ‘miracle evening’ from 10-11pm, but the science on willpower would defeat that pretty easily. (setting aside the natural body clock point again).

    Also, what single 26-year old wants to go to bed at 9:30pm?

    I think you’ll find that most of the ‘miracle morning evangelists’ are people who either have a natural body clock that enjoys getting up (as you mentioned), or people who have a demanding day job & young family.

    Find a girl, have a few young kids, and THEN see if you can write another best selling book from 6-9pm. Hahahaha! You’ll either dip in productivity for a season or start waking up earlier. 🙂

    • Scott Trench

      Haha! I left plenty of wiggle room in this article to change my mind in future circumstances. I am sure that future children and a family may impact my sleep schedule. I still suspect that I will not be awake for the 5:00 AM part of the day even then though.

  29. Steven C. Suarez

    You’re such a slacker Scott! Maybe if you Miracle Morninged every day you could learn to 4 Hour Work Week all your work to a third world country then you could really GTD and Get Things Done! After that, sprinkle some 10X on that shtuff (not sure how that works) but 10X it son! Dang millinials with their Nintendos and slacking ways!

  30. Che B.

    Hello Scott – Cheryl here from Melbourne, Australia. 🙂 As I was reading your blog, it made me create a task for myself to post a comment on this particular blog of yours. For years, I have been struggling to make this early-riser “habit” stick. I also have the audio book version of Miracle Morning and failed to follow the steps. If someone would have been listening to me while I was reading your blog (I kept saying.. Yess!!… Yess!!.. Yess!!), they may have misinterpreted it in a wrong way – if you know what I mean… Thank you for posting this blog. It made me realise that I do not have to follow the norm, do what works for me and I am not alone. 😀

  31. manuel gonzalez

    Their is alot of variables but lets just say you have two exact same guys performing the same task the guy that is awake more hours is going to accomplish more its just the way it works so when you are hitting it hard those extra hours come in handy especially if you are trying to make as much money in the shortest amount of time Grit life!

  32. Ash Lynn

    I am definitely not a morning person, however being a single a single mother, that works long hours M-F, I do find that I am able to maximize my day (complete more tasks) if I wake up an extra 30 mins to an hour earlier in the mornings. I don’t do any special routines, such as The MIracle Morning, but I do knock off tasks on my to do list. As a result I get to work earlier and get to bed earlier than I normally do when I choose to sleep in an extra 30-60 mins. I am by no means consistent with doing this, BUT I’m working on that. For me, early mornings increase my productivity and in turn decreases the stress of having so little time at the end of the day to complete daily tasks.

Leave A Reply

Pair a profile with your post!

Create a Free Account

Or,


Log In Here