Is it better to be an early bird or night owl? Many people fall solidly into one camp or the other. They wake up before the sun comes up, eager to start the day, or they prefer to work late into the evening hours, burning the midnight oil. If you're a startup founder in your 20s you might be both of these at the same time -- burning the candle at both ends, because your body is still young enough to handle that kind of unnatural stress. Interestingly, new research reveals that one of those two extremes may be better for the quality of your work, while the other makes you more prone to things like grammatical errors.
Today's technology professionals increasingly have the power to choose their work schedules. This frees them up to adjust their work hours to match their early bird or night owl tendencies. However, the research shows that even when their work duties don't mandate that they work a standard eight-to-five schedule, they may make more mistakes based on their nighttime-vs.-morning preferences. Here are a few facts from Grammarly's analysis of more than one billion words corrected by the software.
Who Makes More Email Mistakes?
Both groups may kick off the day by checking their email, but those who define themselves as "early birds" may be winning in this category. In the analysis, fewer grammatical errors were found in emails sent between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. than in those sent between the night owl hours of 10 p.m. of 2 a.m. Early birds made 11.8 mistakes for every 100 words they wrote in email, while night owls had 14.3 mistakes per 100 words. More than half of all mistakes in the emails were misspelled words.
For some reason, we are especially prone to errors when we update our social media platforms. The study found that we're more than three times as likely to make a mistake when writing one of our social media posts than when writing any other type of business-oriented text. Early birds win in this category, as well, logging only 30 mistakes per 100 words, while night owls make 41.6 mistakes per 100 words.
For businesses that maintain a blog, early birds may be the best professionals to maintain that content. The study found that early birds make only 5.6 mistakes per 100 words compared with night owls, who make 9.1 mistakes for every 100 words of content. The best time to write those blog posts is after lunch, with only 3.7 mistakes per 100 words when blog content was written between the hours of 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The study also extracted some interesting differences between night owls and early birds when it comes to confusing words. Overall, night owls confuse words 66 percent more often than early birds, once again giving early birds an edge. For both groups, apostrophe errors are the most common, followed by the incorrect usage of "too" and "to." Both groups express confusion about whether "every day" should be one or two words.
Overall, early birds were the winners on all content types, making 13.8 mistakes per 100 words on average. Night owls, on the other hand, made 17 mistakes per 100 words overall. For those who prefer to save all of their work for later in the day, working long after the rest of the world has turned in for the night, it may be time to set work aside and finish it in the morning. For people who choose to continue their night owl tendencies, though, this information could serve as a prompt to double check any work completed between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., since it's more likely to have errors. The folks at Grammarly put together the following infographic on their findings: