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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 April 22, 2021

    How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

    How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

    Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

    Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

    In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

    One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

    “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

    Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

    Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

    Motivation Is Not the Answer

    How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

    If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

    We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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    Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

    Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

    How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

    Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

    1. Define What a Win Looks Like

    In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

    Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

    Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

    When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

    4 Steps to Define a Win
    • Know the outcome you desire.
    • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
    • Write the outcome down.
    • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

    Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

    As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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    Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

    2. Evaluate Your Activity

    Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

    Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

    Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

    Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

    • Do now
    • Plan to do it later
    • Delegate to someone else
    • Delete it

    Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

    • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
    • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
    • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
    • Does this activity have to be done at all?

    Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

    3. Prioritize Your Calendar

    If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

    First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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    It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

    “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

    Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

    “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

    Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

    It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

    4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

    We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

    Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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    Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

      But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

      “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

      Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

      Use these questions to reflect on your day:

      • What went well?
      • What didn’t go well?
      • What can I change?
      • What do I need to start doing?
      • What do I need to stop doing?

      The Bottom Line

      Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

      Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

      “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

      Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

      That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

      More on Creating Healthy Routines

      Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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