It is often advised to work during your peak productivity hours in order to have better work. But what do you do when you feel most productive during the evening and night hours? Some people purposely look for work that aligns with their preferred hours. However, for most people, their job is from nine to five.
There's a misconception that night owls don't get nearly as much done in a day as early birds, but that's actually not true. I used to be a night owl but since the birth of my son and because of my constantly changing schedule, I've learned to regain control. Here are a few strategies you can implement so you can work with your biology and not against it.
Regardless of what your chronotype is, everyone is prone to distraction right before bed. These distractions can be social media, television, or aimlessly searching the internet. Before you know it you've cut your sleep by at least one hour.
When you're a night owl who has to get up early in the morning for work, you're already cutting into the time you have to sleep. So to get the most out of your morning, you have to eliminate all distractions before bed and go to sleep. That extra hour of sleep can make a tremendous impact on your productivity for the entire day.
Save time in the morning.
Before you retire for the night, plan out your next day. This means getting your outfit ready, preparing breakfast, setting up the coffee pot, and scheduling your day. By getting ready at night you have a little extra time in the morning to sleep.
Also, by scheduling your day when your brain is active and alert, you save yourself time in the morning from trying to piece everything together. I have found that by doing this, you are not only more organized and rested, you're also a lot more put together. It may not seem like a lot, but it makes a big difference.
Help your body wake up.
If you take a shower in the morning to freshen up before work, then take a cold one. Cold showers have a wide range of benefits, including 'shocking' your body into alertness. It works by causing you to take deep breaths when the cold water starts to hit your body. These deep breaths increase your oxygen intake and heart rate resulting in you having more energy.
However, if like me you don't normally take showers in the morning, then place a cold towel on your face. While it's not the same as taking a cold shower, it can still help alleviate some of your grogginess. I place one of my face and neck that I stick in ice water. It helps.
Early birds' energy levels are high during the morning, while night owls reach their peak productivity in the evening. So when your early bird counterparts are tackling are their heavy-lifting work in the morning, you use this time to complete tasks that require no effort or creativity.
Updating documents, making phone calls, and answering emails are all ways I use my time wisely. Only you know what task you can do on autopilot. Schedule them accordingly, and complete them until you feel your energy increasing.
See if you can arrange for a more flexible schedule.
Not everyone in the office works the same. Depending on your job, asking for a schedule change or tweak that fits your needs may not come as a surprise to them. They may even be eager to allow you to work with your internal clock so that you can be more effective with the time you do have.
However, not all employers will understand why a nine to five isn't a good use of your or their time. Explain to them how a half-hour or hour schedule change can increase your productivity. You may even see if you can work from home for a few days during the week.
If you're a night owl, there is nothing wrong. You just operate on a different internal clock. You can be just as productive as early birds when you take actions to work with your nature and not against it.