Why are night owls the black sheep of productivity?Personal Development

As a night owl,  I’m tired of reading self-help articles that praise early birds as the productivity kings and queens of the universe. What about me and my fellow night owls? We get work done. We produce quality work. We just don’t do it when others are awake and can see us completing tasks.

Earlier this month I saw many of my Facebook friends boasting how productive and successful they were based on the Forbes article, 5 things super successful people do before 8 a.m. I had to check out this list that they all were sharing.  I was curious to know if there was a magical success formula I had not yet discovered?

I made it 11 words in and my eyes were rolling so hard, they almost got stuck. “Rise and shine! Morning time just became your new best friend.”

Unimpressed is an understatement. According to the author, super successful people who get up early are productive because before 8 a.m. they: exercise, map out their day, eat a healthy breakfast, visualize, and make their day top heavy.

Well. I do all that too and I do it before those people wake up, so am I not super successful?

Below are some ways I have also completed that same list before the super successful person wakes up.

Exercise

I like to exercise at night. Aside from my school gym, all the gyms I have been  a member of have been 24 hour gyms. Sometimes I would go in for midnight madness dance class or I would play pick up basketball at 3 a.m. or take a spin class at 6 a.m. These are all things I would do before I went to bed and before the super successful early riser.

Map out their day

I am planner. As an organized person, I wouldn’t wait until I woke up to plan out my day, I actually do it the night before and often I do it at the beginning of the week. Again, all things done before the super successful early riser.

Eat a healthy breakfast

I like to eat every 4 hours, so the time I wake up or go to sleep does not interfere with the time I eat. If is 6 a.m. and I am getting ready to go to bed, I will eat something light, like an apple, a  green smoothie, or maybe some eggs.

Visualize

I’m a daydreamer, I’m visualizing all the time. I’m actually visualizing as I type this blog post. You don’t have to wake up before 8 a.m. to visualize.

Make their day top heavy

This is one bullet point in the article I do not do. I actually prefer doing all my easy tasks during the day and doing my hard work at night. I still get my work done, but I do it in reverse.

To me success and productivity is all relative to the person. All the articles I read about success and productivity praised early morning risers and not late night sleepers. So for years, I tried to fight against being a night owl because I thought I was doing something wrong.

Over time I learned not to fight my style of working. I enjoy working at night because the day time is too energetic.

I like to talk and daydream. I get distracted easily. During the day, I cannot focus because there is too much going on. So many people to talk to. So many blogs to read.  So many things to look at.  And to top it all off, nature is so beautiful, I often get lost gazing at trees or animals.

At night, I don’t have people to talk to, nature to look at, or social media updates to read. At night I’m at peace because no one is awake, my best ideas come to me, and I am more likely to finish a difficult task. I’m able to find quiet and use that alone time to focus.

I hope in the future to see articles that focus more on the skills, values,and background that successful people tend to possess instead of focusing on the time the person wakes up or goes to bed.

Are you a night owl or early bird? Do you feel one trumps the other when it comes to success and productivity?

***Lisa-Marie 

An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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