Whether or not you want to admit it, rising early in the morning is linked with higher productivity and a brighter mood. But at the same time, night owls are often deemed more creative and able to think outside the box. It is possible to combine the best of both worlds?
It's possible to prefer the evening hours and still be just as productive as your early bird friends. With some careful planning and a great routine, you can harness the creativity of late nights with the super productivity of early mornings. Here are a few of our favorite tips to do it.
Devise a schedule.
Night owls don’t want to stay up all night; they just want to go to bed and get out of bed a little later than most. You may read about the tycoon who only needs 4 hours of sleep a night, but that may not really be the case. Most people need between six and eight hours of sleep to be their healthy best. So, figure out how much sleep you need – usually 7 or 8 hours – and create a schedule. To bed at midnight and up at 8 a.m. or to bed at 1 a.m. and up at 8 – or 9 a.m. if you need a full 8 hours. Once you have a schedule, stick to it. Just like those early birds, you’ll benefit and sleep better if you have a regular sleep schedule.
Choose a place that's close to your office.
It may sound silly, but if you tack an hour commute onto a job that expects you to arrive by 8:30 or 9, you’ve got to get up and get going. If you live close to the office, you can roll out of bed, get there on time and it’s not half as bad. So, if there’s a great neighborhood near your office, start house hunting.
Advocate for a different work schedule.
OK, you can’t move within miles of the office. Talk to the boss. Be honest and admit that you don’t do your best work at 9 a.m. See if you can change your schedule so you can come in later and stay later. Better yet, see if there are a couple of days when you can work from home. You can sleep right up to that first conference call and answer the phone in your robe – catching the extra morning sleep you love. If your boss agrees to a change in schedule, make sure you follow through and get all the work you are expected to complete finished.
Take advantage of nighttime energy.
Whether you lose it to get some of tomorrow’s work done. There’s no distractions, no meeting and no phone calls. If it’s your best time of day – challenge yourself and your mind. Or, clean the house (quietly!).
Create a wakeup routine.
Prepare for the day ahead the night before when your functioning at full stream. Know what needs to happen and how you’re going to tackle the next day. Put what you need in your briefcase, make a list – you can even get out your clothes so you don’t have to search for the right shirt in the morning. You’re not going to jump out of bed ready to take on the world. So, get started gently. Have that cup of coffee if it helps get you going. Do something simple like trashing all that junk email and, then, when you’re ready tackle the important ones.
You can do it! You can enjoy the part of the day you like best – the night – and still create a schedule that allows you to function with the rest of the world. And, don’t forget a supportive, comfortable mattress is just as important to you as it is to that early bird. Don’t put off getting a new mattress.