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Sleepy millionaires give hope to late risers


Is rising daily before the crack of dawn an essential to success as an entrepreneur? Apparently not. Sleep-loving Carol Roth has interviewed seven fellow millionaires for Entrepreneur to prove the point.

The successful American TV and radio personality, author and investor cites positive reasons why she and her interviewees get out of bed between 8am and 9.30am.

If it works, do it

Bryan Clayton is currently CEO of GreenPal, an online platform for lawn care professionals. Having tried for some time to rise at 4am or 5am, he realised it was making him much less effective and went back to sleeping for eight or nine hours.

Ross Andrew Paquette, founder and CEO of enterprise platform Maropost, believes that if your best ideas come at night, that’s when you should be working.

For Paul Koger, owner of the Foxytrades trading strategy website, enjoying an easy morning is a key to being more productive in tackling harder tasks later in the day.

Rise late but be disciplined

With business interests including the CelebriDucks gift range, Craig Wolfe’s manufacturing takes place across different time zones. Although a late riser, he has a disciplined schedule of time blocks for specific activities throughout the day and evening. These include set times for taking and returning calls, PR work and attending to his overseas factory.

Daily organisation and planning for Natasha Nelson, owner of the Kauzbots toy firm, begins the previous evening. That way she is ready to start the next day’s work without any delay.

‘Business matchmaker’ Brittani Nelson allocates every hour of her working day to productive tasks, and ensures that those relating to existing and new clients are balanced to keep the pipeline full. She resists the temptation to be distracted by social media, emails and unexpected calls until the allotted sessions for those activities.

Roth herself also believes strongly in scheduling. While avoiding early meetings as much as possible, her days are tightly organised and she uses alarms to keep to her set plans.

Get your priorities right

Prioritisation of tasks is another key for Roth, ensuring those that advance her business and generate income take precedence over those that just make her busy.

Roth believes it is vital to have the right systems in place to maximise the effect of time spent. This view is echoed by Michele Scism, a business consultant with entrepreneurial advice and support provider Decisive Minds, who is confident that her systems and team are handling everything while she sleeps.

Bryan Clayton of GreenPal stresses the need to distinguish between importance and urgency when it comes to deciding which tasks to tackle as priorities. The most important activities – like strategic planning – are not always urgent but are more productive. His aim is to avoid much of the day-to-day grind.

Clayton has a trick to avoid having to address the same issues repeatedly. By asking himself five times why the task is necessary, he gets to the root of the problem and then works out a way of preventing its recurrence.

Look after number one

Roth acknowledges that her pattern of activity creates difficulty in achieving balance with other needs and demands, including caring for her family and herself, but feels her success depends on it.

To maintain that success she needs to look after her health and ensure she is physically and mentally fit for work. To this end she exercises four or five times a week.

Achieving balance is essential. That might mean, for example, interspersing short meditation breaks with work sessions, using lunchtime for positive relaxation and setting aside some quality downtime for you and your family in the evening.

In summary, there is no reason why those who hate early starts shouldn’t enjoy their sleep, make millions by using their waking hours effectively, and achieve a healthy work-life balance.