Project Early Bird

By: Alexander Mervar

The school year so far, has been incredibly profound in the sense that I’ve been accepted into colleges, I have achieved the ability to maintain my 4.2 GPA, I feel closer to my girlfriend every day, and my friendships are continuously bringing me value. Although these past few months have been incredibly successful when placed in contrast to broad and general objectives, I still have a deep passion and emfatuation with workflows, offices, and organization that catalyzes continuous progress (for good or for worse) to become more productive with my time. This blog post is about the most recent addition to most interesting projects that I have begun to undertake.

If you are unaware, I am partaking in some academic research this year. The research is not of a considerably difficult subject matter, but the magnitude of work that this ongoing project is demanding, is perpetually humbling and demanding of my attention in order to guarantee the level of success that I wish to reach by the end of my senior year of high school. Furthermore, my alternative studies also demand my attention. This year, I have taken it upon myself to complete five AP (Advanced Placement) classes (including my research). This is the most amount of AP classes that I have decided to undergo and thus, my school workload is no small feat. On top of all of this academic workload, I still wish to maintain a job, successful relationships, and a few hobbies and projects on the side (like this blog).

These obligations led myself to the self-analysis necessary to create major change in my daily life. That has led me to the discovery of the website of Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega. Dr. Pacheco-Vega is an Assistant Professor in the Public Administration Division of the Centre for Economic Research and Teaching, CIDE (Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas, CIDE, AC) based out of CIDE Region Centro in Aguascalientes, Mexico. He considers himself a man of many areas of study but, he recognizes that he is more of a political scientist and geographer, as those are the two major fields he studied during his doctorate. Dr. Pacheco-Vega thus has many responsibilities and his success is thus dependant on his own organization and workflow in order to guarantee his own success, which reflects my necessity to maintain organization to fulfill my duties.

Upon initial reading of his blog, I was filled and overwhelmed with information on how to setup an office, the fact that an Everyday Notebook is a thing, as well as many other pieces that pertain to bettering the way research is conducted. This new information was incredibly enticing and I begin what I would like to call, Project Early Bird.

Alongside my colleague and friend, Hailey Hendricks, I began to wake up every morning at 4:00 AM. Now, this may seem like an incredibly ludicrous idea but, let me explain.

During my studies, I find that my productivity as well as the quality of my work decreases as the night progresses. So, I decided to cut the last two hours of my night, which usually lasted until midnight where I would fall asleep, and displace them to the mornings before school, which starts around 7:00 AM.

By waking up at 4:00 AM, I find it easier to focus due to the lack of distractions and people who could soak up my attention. I allocate 30 minutes to reading and 30 minutes to some sort of predefined task (usually it’s writing for this blog). Then, I use the remainder of my time until 6:15 AM to work on homework, study, and complete other necessary tasks.

There were a multitude of sources that pushed me to make this decision below are a few:

Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life (my reading notes)

Why did I switch to starting work at 4am and how did I do it?

Carving time to read: The AIC and Conceptual Synthesis Excel Dump combination method

A few warm-up strategies to start your workday

Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega Twitter

Overall, I would highly look into this method of work and productivity. Paired alongside a restrain on technology in order to create a more impactful work session, which I will expand upon in a later blog post, this has done miracles for productivity.

Best Wishes!