There are a million and one programs and tips to help you start getting up earlier, but if you've tried them all and none has really worked, don't feel too bad. Science suggests many of us are simply hard-wired to be night owls -- differences in our genes make it extremely difficult for some people to be productive in the morning.

But trying telling that to your boss. If you work in a company where 8 a.m. status meetings are the norm and your colleagues regularly discuss their crack-of-dawn exercise routines, simply informing people there's a biological basis for your different rhythms is unlikely to win you sympathy, or scheduling concessions.

So how can you cope in a world that's unsympathetic to your inborn preference for a later wake-up time? Writing on LearnVest recently, Dana Hudepohl compiled several practical suggestions. Here are just a few of them.

Leverage the afternoons.

When everyone else is sitting around dazed and fuzzy-headed at five o'clock, you're brain is just about hitting its stride. You can't make your colleagues stick around for an evening work marathon, but you can leverage those hours to compensate for the fact that you're barely awake when you walk in the door.

"Instead of wasting the morning hours in an unproductive haze, create a morning to-do list the afternoon before, when you're energized and focused," Anita Bruzzese, author of 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy--and How to Avoid Them, suggests to LearnVest.

"Make it as detailed as possible and prioritize what you need to get done," Hudepohl further explains. "With a concrete road map for your morning, you'll be able to make it through your a.m. lull."

Streamline your morning routine.

You hate getting up early, so the obvious solution is to sleep later. How do you do that?

"Take a shower, lay out your clothes, pack your briefcase and make your breakfast and lunch the night before the workday. Taking care of these routines can shave an hour off your morning and score you an extra hour of sleep every night. That can lead to dramatic improvements in a.m. reaction time, alertness, mood and productivity," claims the article.

Be schedule savvy.

Even if you manage to stay in bed a bit longer and plan your mornings the night before, you're never going to be at your mental peak early in the day. Don't try to do your most difficult tasks when you're not at your best.

"Pair work that requires you to put your thinking cap on--a crucial report, presentation or brainstorming session with your team--with your peak energy windows. For night owls, that means the late afternoon and evening," suggests Hudepohl. Or, if that's impossible, at least make sure you're not being asked to
come up with creative ideas or insightful analysis first thing -- 11 a.m. is still better than 8 a.m.

Night owls share your secrets -- how do you survive in a world that's often not designed for your rhythms?

Published on: Jul 21, 2016
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