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6 Ways To Be Highly Productive at Night

6 Ways To Be Highly Productive at Night

We constantly hear about the early risers of the world and how uber-successful they are. Even though I now get up early, I will never be a morning person. My peak creative hours – where I’m at my most focused, calm, and energized – will always be from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. I made the switch to mornings because my family couldn’t remember what I looked like, not because of all the studies that say “morning people” are happier and healthier. Of course they’re happier: the world literally revolves around them!

There are many benefits to working at night:

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  • Since you’re the only one awake, there are no interruptions or distractions. You’re literally free to work in your own time and on your own terms.
  • Even when you’re working on an intense project, there’s a calmness to working at night. The outdoors are still, the air is cool, and you don’t have to deal with emails, phone calls and text messages cluttering your mind.
  • Because you’re able to completely focus, technically you have more time to work at night since there’s nothing to get in your way. Working in the present moment allows you to not only complete your work faster, but accomplish a higher quality of work.
  • It’s a lot easier to feel a sense of accomplishment, even with things that will never truly be “finished,” such as checking your email. You can reply to all of your e-mails before anyone’s awake. An empty inbox equals an empty mind, which then improves the quality of your sleep. Win/win.

If you know you’re more productive at night and want to make the shift over to the dark side (okay, pun intended), here are 6 tips to keep in mind.

1. Test the waters to find your rhythm.

When you know you’re more productive at night, it’s important to figure out exactly when at night. When are you naturally at your most energetic? From there, you’ll be able to create a routine for yourself that suits both you and your loved ones. It’s difficult with a 9-5 job, but not impossible.

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2. Maintain a consistent sleep cycle.

No matter when you work, a consistent sleep cycle keeps your circadian rhythm synchronized and prevents you from the physical and mental slumps that happen when you wake up at a roller coaster of different times. Once you know when your peak productivity strikes, choose your sleep cycle and do everything you can to stick to it.

3. Think long-term.

Planning way in advance will be one of your best assets when wanting to be productive at night. There’s nothing worse than needing to make a call or run an errand when nothing’s open. Set long-term goals to make sure you accomplish what you need to during business hours.

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4. Set a “morning” routine.

No matter what time you get up to start your day, having a routine in place starts it off right. Even when I was getting up in the afternoon, I didn’t set foot into my office until I completed my “morning” routine. It helps to center your mind and prepare for productive night ahead.

5. Set an “evening” routine.

When you’re productive at night it’s really hard to wind down because of how inspired you feel. Create an evening routine of activities that help you unwind or don’t require a lot of focus, such as minor housework or listening to soothing music. Set a cut off time for your work night and stick to it.

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6. Set yourself up for a successful “night’s” sleep.

A consistent sleep pattern’s difficult when those damn morning people make so much noise. Purchase blinds that block out the light where you sleep or bust out an eye mask. Use a white noise machine or a nature sounds app to block out exterior noises. And most importantly: never ever forget to shut off the ringer on your phone. Just trust me.

Are you a morning person? Or are you more productive at night?

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

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