One of the biggest productivity myths is that you have to get up as early as possible every day. All the major CEOs talk about getting up before the sun rises to accomplish more. But if you’re a night owl, you don’t need to change a thing. Working at night can be just as, if not even more, productive than doing everything early in the morning.
While the definition of night owl varies, it usually applies to anyone who naturally feels more awake, energetic, and focused at night or early evening.
Work During Your Productive Hours
Everyone has a certain time during the day when they’re naturally more productive. For me, it’s late at night. I can work in the mornings, but I’m at my best at night. In fact, I’m usually working after midnight and getting far more accomplished than when I try to tackle something at eight or nine in the morning.
It’s easier to stay focused during your natural productive time. Of course, everyone has their own time, so experiment to find what works for you. If that time is at night, you do more in less time without being so easily distracted or falling asleep.
While working at night isn’t possible for everyone, if you can do it, it’s worth it just to avoid all the daily distractions. Let’s face it, you’ll get far fewer phone calls, notifications, people walking in, and so on. While everyone else is sleeping, you’re quietly plowing through your to-do list with no problem.
Suddenly, what took you eight hours during the day may only take four or five at night. All it takes is a little adjustment of your sleep schedule.
Stay Productive Longer
I can’t count how many times I’ve been called lazy for sleeping late and staying up late. Yet, it’s been proven that night owls are productive for much longer periods than their early bird counterparts. In fact, night owls perform well even when working in the mornings, even if they’re not happy about it.
In one study, extreme early birds and night owls were tested. Each group kept their usual sleeping patterns. While both sets did well on the morning reaction tests, the early birds didn’t fare so well in the evening tests. No matter the sleep schedule, everyone’s tests occurred 10.5 hours apart. While the night owls had no trouble, the early birds were far less focused.
Boost Your Creativity
If your job requires a lot of problem-solving or creative solutions, working at night helps you be more productive. Simply having an unconventional schedule is enough to change how your brain works. In one study, participants were given a series of creative tests. It’s no surprise if you’re a night owl that those who prefer working at night excelled at the tests while early risers and those who fall somewhere in between didn’t do well at all.
Unique Energy Peaks
Working at night should work against you. After all, you’ve probably been up for a while and should be getting tired. For instance, you may get up at 11 AM but not start work until 8 PM. At that point, your energy levels should be waning. For early risers, they’re usually exhausted by the time they finish working, which is usually just eight to twelve hours after they get up.
Even if you’re active during the day, night owls have unique energy peaks that make them productive multiple times per day. The study where night owls were still productive 10.5 hours later also showed the power of these peaks.
Better Work/Life Balance
Having a better work/life balance makes you naturally more productive. Working at night comes with the benefit of fewer distractions. This means you can stay focused for longer periods. Instead of working longer hours, you have more time for your personal life.
You also tend to do all the things you enjoy before you start working. Instead of sitting around daydreaming about what you want to do when you get off work, you’ve already done it, leaving you free to focus easier.
You get the benefit of an active personal life, while still being more productive at your job. It’s a win-win for night owls.