October 17, 2011

Are You A Lark?

A lark. (Not actually me)

I am a morning person. I like getting up reasonably early, and find that I am most productive before noon. According to "Brain Rules" by John Medina, this apparently makes me a "lark".
In general larks report being most alert around noon and feel most productive at work a few hours before they eat lunch.  They don't need an alarm clock, because they invariably get up before the alarm rings - often before 6 a.m. Larks cheerfully report their favorite mealtime as breakfast and generally consume less coffee than non-larks. Getting increasingly drowsy in the early evening, most larks go to bed (or want to go to bed) around 9 p.m.
In recent years, my morning tasks look pretty much the same during the work week. I find that I can get a lot done before the flood of meetings and other tasks begin each day.

My morning workday routine looks like this:
  • Wake by about 5 a.m. without the benefit of an alarm clock
  • Shower, shave, and get dressed
  • Make coffee for myself and my wife
  • Make my lunch
  • Have breakfast (sometimes) and drink coffee while watching the local television news
  • Leave for work around 6 a.m.
  • Drive to work copyrightjoestrazzere
  • Turn on the lights, since I'm usually the first one in
  • Arrive at my desk about 6:30 a.m.
  • Read and respond to overnight emails, cleaning out my inbox
  • Read bug reports that have been filed or updated since the previous day
  • Check on the status of monitors and logs for some key Production and QA systems
  • Check the results of any overnight test automation
  • A quick chat with the India QA team as needed
  • Review the schedule of meetings planned for the remainder of the day
  • Plan the day and reserve blocks of time in my Outlook calendar as needed
  • Address anything that needs my immediate attention
  • Have another cup of coffee around 9 a.m.
  • Deal with any corporate administrivia needing my attention
  • Get on with the rest of the day

This works out really well for me. It makes me feel good to get these things out of the way early, and have a good, quick start to my lark day.

How about you - are you a lark, too? What does your morning routine look like?

This article originally appeared in my blog: All Things Quality
My name is Joe Strazzere and I'm currently a Director of Quality Assurance.
I like to lead, to test, and occasionally to write about leading and testing.
Find me at http://strazzere.blogspot.com/.


  1. I thought I was a lark - but in work at 6:30am ??? What time do you finish ?

    wake at 7:30 ( loving not having the 2 hour commute )
    shower and shave
    breakfast whilst my puter boots
    check mail and STC site and QA Stackexchange
    Realise I've spent too long surfing so hurry out and get to work for 9

  2. I like to leave work around 5:30 PM. I can usually (but not always) accomplish that.

  3. 11 hours workday? Ouch!
    Is the coffee really helping that much?

  4. Really, it's not a big deal when you like your job.