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5 Reasons Why Night Owls Are Highly Productive

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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 October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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