Conventional Wisdom 1: Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise

I'm starting an experiment this year. Or, rather, I'm starting a project made up of a series of experiments.

It's easy to assume conventional wisdom is meaningless, especially if you don't put much stock in tradition. Who cares what a bunch of long-dead people have to say about living your life? What do they know? But progressiveness isn't a licence for wilful ignorance of the past; there's a reason they said the things they did, and a reason those things survived to the present day. Perhaps ancient advice deserves a bit more consideration, at least as much as we'd be willing to give the latest self-help fad.

So this is the Conventional Wisdom Project. Each month I'm going to pick a hackneyed old proverb, the hackneyeder the better, and try to live by it as best I can for that month. I'll turn it into something actionable, record how well I did and any changes I notice, and evaluate at the end of the month whether the old wisdom was actually wise or just old. I'm hoping that some of these will lead to beneficial changes in my life in particular, so I'm going to be biased towards proverbs that say the opposite of what I currently do.

In that spirit, January's conventional wisdom is "Early to Bed, Early to Rise". I've basically always been a night owl. Even as a teenager I was often late to school, or if I did get there on time I was tired because I stayed up late the night before. That pattern's never really changed. For a long time, I felt like night time was the best time, because it's kind of a time beyond time, when the whole world is asleep and it's just you and whatever obsession is keeping you awake. However, people who get up early are pretty, uh, effusive about how good getting up early is. Perhaps it's worth a try?

For January, I'm going to bed at 10pm and waking up at 6am. I'll record how well I stick to that schedule, how well I sleep, and any impact I notice on my work and life in general. I've actually been doing this since January 2 (January 1 was a lost cause), but haven't had a chance to write about it until now. Things are going well so far, but I'll write a more complete update on my observations shortly. For now, I'm just happy to announce this project is actually happening. It's going to be an interesting year!