What I Learned Getting Up at 3:45 AM Last Week
Twice in my life as a broadcaster I've had the privilege of helping people wake up in the morning. That's also given me the the dubious honor of waking up at dark 30 so I could start a morning show at 5:30 or 6:00. The last time my job required that I do that, I did it for six years. I didn't think that much about it, I just did it. Last week, I found myself filling in for Behka on Awesome 92.3's More Music Morning Show, and I learned some things about myself, my current job, and getting up at dark 30.
When my radio job in Lubbock ended and I was told there was no reason for me to return to the station after my vacation it was a tough pill to swallow. There were more things I had left to do there. Yet I was glad I wouldn't have to continue the grind of getting up to go in and do a morning show at 6:00 AM every morning.
So last weekend I found myself somewhat dreading having to get up at 3:45 AM to fill in for Behka while she took a week off. I haven't had to do mornings very much since leaving Lubbock, but when I have, I haven't liked having to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Yet this time it was different.
Having to be at the station to do a show by 6:00 AM kept me on a morning schedule. Especially since I wanted to get up as late as I could, but still be at work early enough to know what I was talking about when I opened the mic at 6:03 AM. In other words, I hustled to get my shower, make my lunch, eat a little breakfast, walk the dog, feed the dog, and be in my car for the ride to Sedalia by 5:10 AM. When I go to work normally, my morning routine isn't as effective.
I liked doing the show first. I love being on the radio it's fun. It's why I got into the business. However, I also like the business of radio, which is how I wound up going into management. Yet, when you're balancing the business of radio as a manager and being responsible for doing a show it's a balancing act.
Many days I walk into the studio at 3:00 PM with lots on my mind besides the show. There's promotions. Things that need to be done for the people I work with. Things the company asks me to do. I could go on and on. Yet walking into the studio at 5:40 AM, it's easier to compartmentalize all of that for "later" and just focus on the show. And it's nice that at 10:00 AM I can focus on the business of radio fully.
That sad I was reminded of some of the drawbacks to doing morning radio. The sleep deficit is real. Going to bed at 10:00 PM, which is 30 minutes to an hour before I usually do, gave me five hours and forty five minutes of sleep a night. And by the end of the week I was feeling that sleep deficit. It's a weird feeling, and when you do this for years, it's something you feel a lot. Especially if you have a hard time adjusting your schedule to get to bed early enough to get seven or eight hours of sleep.
Rolling in at 5:40 AM, the day should be complete by 2:40 PM. As a manager though, I found myself there till about 3:30 PM most days, and a couple of days until 5:00 PM and even one night almost 7:00 PM. Wrapping up at 3:30 PM was nice. Yet it was very easy, too easy to hang around later to "finish up" something. And really, by 4:00 PM, everything is just harder to do because of the lack of sleep.
So as I go back to my normal schedule what did I learn from getting up at 3:45 AM and doing the morning show?
My normal morning routine, the things I do from the time I get up to when I leave for work, needs more hustle. More hustle will mean less hassle later. Seriously, there are times where my morning routine just takes longer than it needs too. And that, can lead to walking into work later than I expected.
Second, I probably should go to sleep a little earlier and get up earlier. If I can deal with a 3:45 AM alarm and not be miserable. I should be able to deal with an earlier alarm and get up at the same time every day. I'm not very disciplined with this. If I can do these two things I might find my work life somewhat easier.
And finally, there is no perfect schedule. Any shift you work. Any schedule you keep has it's positives and negatives. In other words, the grass isn't always greener doing mornings.