Six Ways Owls Can Be Successful in the World of Work From Nine to Five
Dawn conference calls, breakfast meetings, or even the fact that the office coffee machine always turns off by noon are just a few examples of how the working world is truly designed for early risers. On the other hand, night owls thrive on a different schedule.
This post was originally published on LearnVest .
“Night owl is usually from noon to deep night roll on a wave of energy and alertness,” – says Robert Matchok, PhD. , associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania at Altuna, who studies circadian rhythms in physiology and behavior.
“There are biological differences between early birds and night owls,” Matchok says. The hormone melatonin, an increase in which reduces alertness, decreases in night owls later in the morning. Nocturnal people also have a fever during the day, which could be a sign of increased energy during this time, he adds.
Most of us are not particularly early birds or night owls, but fall somewhere in the middle of these categories. But the time of day at which each of us strives to develop depends in part on genetics. “People in the morning wake up relatively early with little sleep inertia or lethargy,” he explains. “They peak at the start of the day.” People at night “usually wake up later in the morning. If they have to get up early, they usually experience more severe sleep inertia, ”and they achieve higher performance later in the day.
Unfortunately, you cannot redesign the modern workday to suit your habits, and neither can the internal clock you were born with. But the good news is that you can still succeed at your job by making small changes in certain habits and routines. Here’s how to tap into your biology and use a little strategy to come out on top.
1. Create a worksheet the day before
If you are a night owl with a day job, you are more likely to arrive at work before your brain is fully aware of the tasks you have to complete. Instead of wasting your morning hours in unproductive fog, make a to-do list the night before when you are energized and focused, ”suggests Anita Bruzzese, work expert and author of 45 Things You Do Drive Your Boss Crazy … »How to avoid them .
Make it as detailed as possible and prioritize what you need to do. “Mark where you left off, who you need to call, whatever you can do to clean up the mess until your brain turns on,” Bruzzese says. Having a concrete roadmap for the morning can help you overcome your lull.
2. Optimize your morning routine
Take a shower, lay out your clothes, pack your suitcase, and prepare breakfast and lunch the night before your work day. Doing these treatments can shorten your morning by an hour and bring you an extra hour of sleep each night. “This can lead to significant improvements in reaction times, activity, mood and productivity,” says Matchok.
While this is not a suitable solution for everyone, you may want to consider moving closer to your workplace so that you can only get to work from your bedroom to your home office so you have more room to sleep in the morning. “I once rented an apartment next door to my office and woke up at 8:30 to start work at 9 am,” says Alexandra Levit, leadership consultant and author of the book “ College doesn’t teach corporate . “Coming to work is critical in terms of how early you really need to get up.”
3. Perform autopilot projects first.
Not all job responsibilities require the same mental ability, Leviticus says. Night owls should use the morning hours for robotic tasks that don’t require a lot of thought, such as answering certain emails, keeping records, expense reports, viewing blogs or websites you follow, posting to LinkedIn, and responding for calls. When the mundane but necessary things are behind you, you will be ready to do your most productive work as soon as your body and brain have a chance to get on with the work.
4. Plan more challenging tasks during periods of peak productivity.
Combine work that requires you to limit your thinking – an important report, presentation, or brainstorming session with your team – with your peak energy windows. For night owls, this means late afternoon and evening, but there is room for flexibility.
“For night owls, even scheduling complex tasks in the late morning hours is better than early morning,” says Matchok. “I recommend late in the morning before lunch or very late in the afternoon, as after a heavy meal, there can be a decrease in alertness, body temperature and glucose levels – what we call postprandial failure, which makes early noon difficult.”
5. Take your work with you
From 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, many night owls shoot full blast. Take advantage of your biology by dedicating those hours to hard work. “It means taking work home, it’s true, but it’s worth it because you’ll be more productive than trying to get it done at 10 am,” says Helen Cafasso, founder and president of Enerpace, Inc. Executive Coaching in Chicago.
Dedicating an hour or two in the evening to solving complex problems from home makes sense for the “owl”, but set a limit on how long you go to bed. “Working after midnight when you have to be in the office by 9 am is counterproductive,” says Matchok, and this leads to sleep deprivation. This increases the risk that you will not be able to work at full capacity in the office the next day.
6. Ask for a later start or even working days from home.
Since even an extra hour of shooting can help an owl function better in the morning, it might be worth seeing if you can change your working hours from 9 to 5 to 10-6. “Instead of fighting biology to keep up with working hours. , we can change the working hours according to biology, ”says Matchok.
While not all bosses will realize that there is nothing unusual in most jobs these days, ask for a slightly different schedule to accommodate personal and family needs. “Sometimes people ask to adjust opening hours to avoid rush hour congestion or to use babysitting services,” says Cafasso. “What’s really important is that you explain how this will help you do your job more efficiently.”
It’s even better for an owl to work from home, even just a few days a week, so you don’t have to commute to work and can get 20 minutes of sleep, she says (studies show that they help improve performance, Matchok says). Depending on the culture of your office, this might be a reasonable request in today’s work environment. “As long as someone knows how to contact you, your boss may work from home from time to time,” says Cafasso.