Paul L. Caron

Sunday, February 6, 2022

WSJ: The Quiet Joy Of Working At 4:00 AM

Following up on my previous post:  Wall Street Journal, The Quiet Joys of the Very, Very Early Morning Club:

4 AMI’m writing this column at 4 a.m., but I need to level with you: It’s nowhere near as romantic as that sounds. I am not sitting in a hotel lobby, tuxedo bow tie unfurled, cigar smoldering in an ashtray, pecking at an old Underwood typewriter after a long night out with movie stars, rock gods and other assorted fabulous people.

The truth is I fell asleep last night right after reading to my kids. I passed out shortly before 9 p.m. ...

I’m awake because over the past two years, I’ve joined a new club: the very, very early morning club. I know a lot of people have lives and jobs that require them to wake up extremely early, but this is a new lifestyle for me. It took two small children and one pandemic that kept us all home to figure out that if I was going to continue to be productive, and write nonsense humor columns like this one, I was going to need to be productive at an uncommon hour, sitting alone in the dark.

Staying up late is out of the question. Sure, I used to be able to do it when I was younger, have a cup of Dunkin’ at 9 p.m. and slug it out, but these days, asking me to stay up to watch the 11 p.m. news is like asking me to climb K2. “Saturday Night Live” actually live, on Saturday night? That’s something that hellions do.

Plus, my brain is fried by midafternoon. Honestly: Tell me anything after 3 p.m. and you should make me scribble it on my arm. As for my writing, everything I write after 1 p.m. looks like a ransom note written by miniature horses. I mean, more than it usually does. But 4 a.m.? At that hour, I’m sharper. ...

The benefits are obvious: My home is quieter, as is the world, and my head. Nobody’s reaching out to me at 4 a.m. Email has slowed to a halt. Texts are nonexistent. Emergencies are waiting until 8 a.m. ...

There are drawbacks, of course. My body has fully reset itself. By midmorning I’m looking for lunch. Midafternoon, I’m ready for dinner. ... If my wife wants to plan a dinner with friends, I have to prepare my body like an astronaut.

It’s worth it. Lately, I’ve begun to wonder: Do I dare join the 3 a.m. club?

Wall Street Journal, The Joy Of Working At 4:00 A.M.

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