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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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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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