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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 March 15, 2019

    How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

    How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

    When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

    Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

    In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

    What Makes a Leader Fail?

    A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

    If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

    And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

    What Is Effective Leadership?

    Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

    Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

    Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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    “… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

    How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

    To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

    1. Courage

    The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

    “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

    Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

    For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

    In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

    It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

    Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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    2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

    If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

    The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

    To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

    3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

    Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

    Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

    4. Likability

    Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

    When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

    Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

    So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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    5. Vulnerability

    Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

    When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

    6. Authenticity

    Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

    Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

    7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

    Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

    Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

    Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

    Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

    As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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    “A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

    8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

    Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

    This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

    9. A Passion for Continual Learning

    Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

    These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

    Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

    The Bottom Line

    No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

    Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

    More Resources About Effective Leadership

    Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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