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Get the Worm: Combating 'Morning Bias' and How to Get to Work Early

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on May 23, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The sayings about being early are numerous. From Benjamin Franklin's "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise," to "the early bird gets the worm," we always hear that being early leads to success. But is it true?

It turns out, to a certain extent, it is. A new study, soon to be published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, shows that managers have a "morning bias," where they associate an early start time with conscientiousness, reports Quartz.

Here are some ways to combat morning bias, and get to work early.

Combating Morning Bias

What is morning bias exactly? According to University of Washington researchers, who conducted three separate studies, they found a "natural stereotype at work," that is, "Compared to people who choose to work earlier in the day, people who choose to work later in the day are implicitly assumed to be less conscientious and less effective in their jobs." The only exception seemed to be when the manager herself was a late starter.

So it would seem that there are two ways to combat morning bias: (1) get to work early; or (2) work for someone who comes to work late. Since you can't always choose who you work for there's really only one way that you can proactively combat morning bias -- come in early.

Get to Work Early

If you want to get to work early, you'll need to prep the night before, and that usually means getting to bed early enough so that you can rise early enough. If you go to the gym in the morning, and that's getting you to work late, consider going to the gym after work, or during your lunch break. It's about creating new habits to enable you to get to work early.

Once you change your schedule, you may find that you like it. With fewer people (and distractions) in the office early in the morning, you can be super productive. And you may just be able to leave earlier too, which is always a nice bonus.

Since we are on the verge of a three day weekend, we thought this would be a great time for you to reboot, and start the short work week with a refreshed outlook. Good luck on your new schedule -- it may just help your career.

Editor's note, May 24, 2016: This post was first published in May, 2014. It has since been updated.

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