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6 Ways To Be Highly Productive at Night

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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?

More by this author

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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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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