My lovable Mutts, Sugar and Spice, have an internal clock that tells them when to go to sleep. At that time every night, they hit the sack. Doesn’t matter if the lights are on and the television is going full blast. They often dream in unison, with their paws and noses twitching as they snore. They are definitely not “night owl” dogs.
Are you a morning lark or night owl? Look up night owl in the dictionary and my picture is by it. I catch a second wind about 10:00 p.m. and switch into super creative/dreaming mode. In this mode, I can sit for 2-3 hours listening to the Beatles or watching youtube documentaries on the Three Stooges. I often hear a neighborhood owl when he starts his nocturnal sonata. At 1:30 a.m., I feel a bond with my nocturnal friend as he hoots away while the neighborhood sleeps, except for Mr. Owl and me.
Morning Person vs. Night Person
I have a couple of “morning people” friends. They bounce out of bed no later than 5:00 a.m. and knock out half their to-do list before I finish hitting the snooze button. Morning people are demented. They arrive at the office 15 minutes before THEY are supposed to be there, much less before the night owls start crawling in. If the meeting starts at 8:00 a.m., the morning people are in their seat by 7:40, staring at the night owls who come running through the door at 7:59 with a look that says “why are you late?”
Fascinating studies try and explain the differences between morning and night people. According to some research, morning people tend to be slightly better adjusted, more proactive with a tendency toward conformity. Night people may be a tad smarter and more creative, but tend to procrastinate.
Truth is, we can all adapt. While I’m a night owl by nature, I can operate as a morning person when necessary. When I’m working on a major project, such as writing a book, I go total morning person. I get up at 4:45 a.m., exercise and get an hour of writing in before heading to the office. Writing chapters in a book requires a different type of brain power than editing a video.
Night Owls Beware
From my personal experience as a life-long member of Night Owls of the World, allow me a moment of introspection. I’ve done some of my best work late at night. I can dream big ideas and tap into a creative side that comes out long after the sun goes down.
However, I live in a morning lark world. I can’t sleep late and come into work on time. I’ve also learned that a particular part of my brain works better in the morning. Work that requires analytical brain power is better done in the morning. I can call myself a night owl all I want, but a well-worded project analysis is better done in the a.m.
Also, I get more work done if I start early. As the day progresses, and the interruptions pile up, my priorities get blown to pieces by others if I don’t get a head start. Coming into work late and tired sets me up to be reactive rather than proactive, meaning I’ll spend the day reacting to what the morning larks already have going than pushing my own priorities.
If you are self employed and prefer to work at night, being a night owl can be a wonderful thing. However, I’ve learned that morning people typically make the rules, and they don’t have a rule that allows me sleep till noon and come dragging in. If I want that type of job, I need to work a night shift somewhere. (which is great for a night owl. I’ve done it and loved it.)
Balance your Perspective on Time
Learn to balance your perspective on time. Our world needs morning people who hit the ground running, execute plans and generally get stuff done. We also need night people whose creative flare makes life more interesting.
If you’re like me, a night owl trapped in a morning lark world, learn to adapt. I often get up early to catch at 7:00 a.m. meeting and have found I can be just as productive as the creepy morning people who actually enjoy it. After a week of early meetings, writing deadlines, etc., I allow myself the luxury of sleeping in on Saturday morning. It keeps me from losing my mind.
If you’re a morning person, try this experiment. Stay up late on Friday night. It’ll do you good to to learn that midnight is a real thing for real people, not just a figment of the late night creature feature. In fact, stay up and watch the late night creature feature with a night owl. They’ll be tickled to show you the ropes.
Meanwhile, let me conclude this blog so I can plan out tomorrow morning. I’m currently going through re-entry into morning lark mode so I can write a book on time management. I’ll need those early morning hours to finish on time.