What time do you get up in the morning? I ask because I recently read that most successful CEOs get up no later than 6am. Apple’s Tim Cook gets up at 4am while JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon (paid $34.5m last year) likes to rise at 5am and voraciously read for up to two hours. (When Jack Dorsey ran X (formerly Twitter) Corp, he even favoured an early morning ice bath!)

I always wonder about these chaps in power who get up at ungodly hours to start their day (of course the car with driver and private jet make for a good start. And household help means they never have to clean up after themselves nor prepare anything).

But we never know how productive they really are, if they take a nap during the day to recharge (Bill Gates admits to a daily snooze) and what time they retire for the evening. Do they leave their phones on at night to check messages? What kind of quality sleep are they getting? There is so much more we need to know than just what time these CEOs wake up and what they do afterwards. We could all improve our lives if there were details on productivity and health-related issues too.

Much is always written about what time people get up, but then what time are they going to sleep? Surely if you’re having to work well past midnight most nights then getting up at 4am or 5am might not be so doable.

Basically, there’s no single recipe for success, no one size fits all. Successful people wake up before 6am, successful people also wake up after 11am. Knowing that some high-profile CEOs favour an early morning routine is hardly inspiring or convincing. Some other jobs demand a 6am start too (think about those labour intensive ones) but then they pay considerably less than Jamie Dimon gets…

Developing certain routines and habits that work best for you is the way forward. Do you WFH? Is there a commute, if so, how long? What other responsibilities do you have? In the final analysis, you should always do what works for you and aim for a satisfactory work/life balance on a daily basis.

We all know very successful people have a lot of energy and are highly disciplined. Not everybody’s going to be like that, but introducing some discipline into your life to move forward is never a bad thing.

Moreover, research shows that people divide up into morning people, evening people and those in the middle. If you force an evening person to do the 5am wake-up routine, you end up with a zombie until lunchtime.

Well, each to their own but I get up when I want except on Mondays when I get rudely awakened by the bin men. Get dressed, cup of tea, then feed the cat and take the dog for a long walk.

Personally, that gives me an enormous sense of wellbeing. But then I am neither a functioning sociopath or megalomaniac. Hence the probability of becoming as successful as Jamie Dimon is next to zero. Hence I have no interest in losing an hour of my sleep. Nuff said.


Nora Johnson’s 12 critically acclaimed psychological suspense crime thrillers ( all available online including eBooks (€0.99; £0.99), Apple Books, audiobooks, paperbacks at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.                                   

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Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.