Productivity

Night Owls: Don’t Fall Into This Productivity Trap

Productivity for night owls

“It’s 5 AM. Just woke up. 

Grab a coffee, make myself a healthy smoothie, and get in a 45-minute workout, then I hit the showers. 

I take another 30 minutes to read my new book and spend 15 minutes doing a mindfulness exercise.

It’s 7:45 AM and I still have time to enjoy a light breakfast with my family and walk my child to school.

Now I’m ready to crush the day.”

Does that look familiar?

Chances are you’ve probably seen a similar statement as a LinkedIn post or in an article about “healthy habits of highly productive people”.

But does your day really need to start at 5 AM in order to be productive in your career?

What about people who reach peak productivity later in the day?

The challenge is that the traditional workday is truly not designed for self-proclaimed night owls. If your mind and body don’t wake up until later in the day, it can be difficult for you to be successful within the confines of the normal 9-to-5 workday.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that traditional working hours will change anytime soon, so what can night owls do to remain productive and competitive within the job market?

This article will share a few key strategies to help you adjust to expectations of the normal workday and to maximize your productive hours.

Rest well before you start work

People who are prone to working later in the day are much more likely to be unrested before they need to start work.

This is simply because they are probably staying up later since this is when their minds are the most active. If you still need to get up at 9 AM like all of your co-workers, this probably means that you won’t be getting enough rest before starting your workday.

This can cause a self-fulfilling cycle of tired and sluggish mornings that negatively impact your productiveness throughout the day.

No matter what time you start work, you need to get a good night’s sleep to maximize your efficiency.

Prioritize your most important tasks for later in the day.

While early risers will typically tackle their most demanding work early in the day, it’s better for night owls to prioritize their important tasks for later in the day.

Spend your morning doing low-effort or simple activities that don’t require your brain to run at full-speed. This will help you stay on top of your workload and free up your afternoons to focus on the more challenging aspects of your role.

This can actually provide a productivity advantage to night owls since most of your co-workers will be checked out by the late afternoon, which means that you will be at the top of their inbox when they get started in the mornings.

Try to establish a more flexible schedule.

The vast majority of roles require some level of collaboration with co-workers, so it’s really not possible to entirely escape the 9-to-5 workday.

However, not every moment of the workday needs to be done in coordination with others and there is usually plenty of time for self-guided workflows in most roles. Particularly with the rise of remote work as a result of COVID-19, there is plenty of opportunity to define more flexible schedules.

If you are more productive in the evenings, see if you can establish a schedule with your employer that allows your to maximize on your most efficient hours in the day.

Improve your time management skills.

Productivity is all about time management and pursuing tasks with a clear path to completion.

night owl productivityNight owls are much more likely to be slow and unresponsive in the mornings, so its important for them to plan out their day’s activities in advance. If you have a clearly mapped task list, then it will be much easier for you to be productive in the mornings.

Try writing down a list of tasks that you would like to accomplish each day, then arrange that list based on level of difficulty.

Start your day with your easiest tasks and you will find a signifcant improvement to your daily levels of productivity.

What Else Can Night Owls Do To Remain Productive During The Day?

Ultimately, it’s important for people to be aware of themselves and identify the conditions that they need to find happiness and fulfillment within their career.

Adaption and resilience will benefit anyone in their career, but some things can’t be forced otherwise you may actually be doing a disservice to yourself and your full potential. It’s undeniable that you will need to make concessions in your career, but keep a keen focus on your path forward and ensure that you are moving towards a destination that reflects your skills and personality.

Productivity is only unlocked when your needs are reflected in your workstyle, so the better you understand yourself, the better you will be able to adapt to tackle new challenges in your career.


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