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5 Reasons Why Night Owls Are Highly Productive

5 Reasons Why Night Owls Are Highly Productive

When it comes to productivity split between Night Owls and Early Birds, stereotypes have put the nocturnal workers at a great disadvantage. They were always seen as poor choices for employees because their nocturnal living habits allegedly stifle their productivity. Well, due to the developing culture of the “Internet nation”, a big chunk of which are passionate Night Owls, there have been many studies recently that show the people who live when it’s dark in a completely different light.

1. They have unique energy bursts in the evening

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    You would assume that the energy that is at your disposal during a day is steadily depleted until you are tired and ready to sleep, but you are wrong, at least when it comes to people that are active at night. According to one study, Night Owls have an energy peak that naturally occurs in the evening and at that moment, they feel refreshed and ready for action.

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    It is bad for their sleeping pattern but definitely great for their productivity and this is something that their early rising counterparts do not have. Early birds steadily deplete their energy throughout their day and do not have the energy burst in the morning after they wake up. This phenomena is strictly attributed to people who are used to having active night lives.

    2. They strike success more often

    A lot of you may be skeptical about this, but if you take a look at the facts and start researching backgrounds of successful people, you are quickly going to realize that there is a lot of truth to this statement. The current president of the US, Barack Obama, is an admitted Night Owl and the list of successful people who prefer doing work at night goes on and on. There have been numerous studies that have confirmed the hypothesis that Night Owls have a better chance of making it in the world so don’t worry, you are in good company.

    3. They are statistically more intelligent

    Of course, this isn’t a strict rule and should not be taken as a given but a study conducted at the London School of Economics and Political Science, seems to indicate a firm correlation between higher IQ and adaptive behavior with the genetic predisposition of being a Night Owl. Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary scientist who conducted this research, classifies this kind of behavior as the “evolutionary novel”, which is basically a deviation from the more common behavior of our ancestors.

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    4. They have a better concentration after long hours

    A study conducted by a joint team of scientists from Belgium and Switzerland conducted a trial with 16 early birds and 15 night owls in an attempt to compare their productivity and concentration. Although both groups performed similarly in the beginning, somewhere around the 10 hour mark into the day, early birds started lagging behind.

    During this study, the team used MRIs to monitor the regions of the brain that are responsible for our ability to focus and pay attention. Professor Christina Schmidt led this experiment but the entire project included quite a large team and was published in the Science journal. Our ability to concentrate has a lot to do with our productivity and the facts are actually stacked in favor of Night Owls.

    Still, depression is three times more present with Night Owls than their counterparts, according to a study published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, and this can be attributed to two factors. Less exposure to sunlight can cause a deficiency of vitamin D, which can lead to depression. This is something that you need to keep in mind and adjust your diet to compensate for this loss.

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    Again, there is nothing better than the natural way of things, so take a vacation this spring and take a week to spend time outdoors soaking in the sun and getting some fresh air. Furthermore, the fact that it is our pattern to be awake and active when everyone is asleep makes socialization a bit difficult to accomplish, the lack of which can cause depression as well. Still, if you manage to get these two factors under control, you are going to be far more effective than you thought you could be.

    5. They have a flexible sleeping schedule

    In the book Sleepfaring: A Journey Through the Science of Sleep, professor Jon Horne explains that people who are Night Owls have a much easier time adjusting to their 9 to 5 schedule than Early Birds have. If you invest serious effort into the change, you will soon realize that you can readjust rather quickly and remain productive. And remember, that energy boost that happens in the evenings, still applies so if you really need to take care of your business, you can always rely on it to tie up any lose ends and put in some extra effort.

    The myth that people with the “bad habit” of being active at night and sleeping in late in the day is really outdated and should not be a real factor during hiring. After all, approximately one quarter of the World’s population has this genetic trait, so businesses and hiring experts need to keep in mind the talent that they might be passing out on based on outdated prejudice.

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    Furthermore, the 9 till 5 schedule is slowly dying out with the rise of the online business model and the globalization of the work environment, so it seems that the situation is getting a bit more favorable for Night Owls. A big part of the online freelancer community falls into this category and the majority of them really enjoy the freedom that this work style offers.

    Featured photo credit: Young female architect working at home.She works late into the night. via shutterstock.com

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    Aleksandar Ilic

    Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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    Last Updated on January 6, 2021

    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

    14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

    Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

    In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

    For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

    For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

    Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

    Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

    Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

    How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

    1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

    Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

    For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

    2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

    Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

    Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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    Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

    3. Create a System

    Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

    This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

    You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

    Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

    Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

    4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

    We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

    If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

    Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

    5. Use a Ratings Scale

    Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

    Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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    It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

    6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

    This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

    You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

    You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

    7. Offer Feedback Forms

    Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

    First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

    Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

    You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    8. Track Cost Effectiveness

    This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

    Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

    Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

    9. Use Self-Evaluations

    Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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    Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

    10. Monitor Time Management

    This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

    Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

      The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

      While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

      11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

      We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

      Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

      For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

      Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

      Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

      From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

      12. Utilize Peer Feedback

      This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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      Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

      Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

      It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

      13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

      When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

      Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

      Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

      14. Use an External Evaluator

      Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

      They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

      While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

      Final Thoughts

      These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

      The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

      The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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      Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

      Reference

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