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7 Differences Between Early Birds And Night Owls

7 Differences Between Early Birds And Night Owls

Being an owl or a lark is just a matter of preference. Or is it? Some – and by “some” I obviously mean scientists – say that it can be imbedded into our genes. So if your mama or papa were late nighters, chances are you will be too. In fact, it may run in the entire family. Geneticists are now looking even more into depth to figure out which particular “gene(s)” determine our day-loving/night-loving fates. Here’s an in-depth study on the subject by a team of geneticists from the University of Leicester.

For now, let’s focus on how the choice impacts our productivity. Late nighters you are in for a surprise! Some of you CAN actually dominate and be even more of a genius than the average morning person.

According to Satoshi Kanazawa and his study, “More intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be nocturnal adults who go to bed late and wake up late on both weekdays and weekends.”

This is contrary to popular opinion which holds that early “morning birds always get the worm”. Even owls catch the rodents and insects they are looking for with their amazing sensory capabilities – and they do it darn well without sunlight.

Still, many would argue that early risers are better prepped up for success because “they are more proactive” and ready to make things happen.

Regardless, it can’t be denied that both early risers and night owls have their own strengths and weaknesses. It doesn’t make one better than the other—only slightly different. Let’s observe these differences – some of which are actually very surprising!

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1. Early Birds are Persistent Perfectionists; Night Owls are Go-Getters

According to a study conducted by the University of Barcelona, Spain, morning people tend to be more persistent and less likely to experience “fatigue, frustration, and difficulties”. Night owls, on the other hand, are more likely to indulge in “extravagance, impulsiveness, and novelty-seeking”.  While the larks hunt for stability in their lifestyle, night owls seek game during late hours.

2. Early Birds Wake Up With Smiles; Night Owls with Frowns

Night owls are more likely to hit the snooze button a number of times before they get up in the morning. And when they do, they don’t enjoy it at all. Morning persons, on the other hand, welcome the morning sun with a big smile on their face. Like a lark, they chirp away their mornings humming in an oh-so-delightful mood—and they don’t even need coffee for it. Night owls tend to experience the feelings of euphoria during evening after 6 pm.

3. Early Birds Are Proactive; Night Owls are Smarter

Success doesn’t have to be linked to “intelligence” at all. Apart from Satoshi Kanazawa’s study, Psychologist Richard D. Roberts and Patrick C. Kyllonen measured 420 participants and gave them intelligence tests that involved mathematics, reading comprehension, working memory, and processing speed. The results were in favor of the evening types who were reported to have better scores. This, obviously, doesn’t make them more likely to obtain success. Evidently, early birds are probably doing most of the work during the hours that fit the world of commerce, allowing success to be in their favor.

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4. Early Birds like Tea; Night Owls like Alcohol

The lark is more likely to consume more tea than the night owl. But what about coffee? Here’s the interesting part. According to another study with 537 participants, night owls are more likely to consume caffeine from coffee and cola and they are also more likely to consume alcohol and nicotine. The latter is apparently related to the fact that owls are more likely to indulge in night life where intoxication is prevalent.

5. Early Birds are Creative during Night Hours; Night Owls are Creative in Morning Hours

No, there is no typing error here! Reportedly, night owls and morning birds have their bursts of creativity during their “off hours”. In a study conducted by Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks in 2011, participants that included both night owls and early birds were given analytical and insight problems to solve. While analytical problems were successfully solved during optimal timings, insightful problems that required creative thinking were better solved during non-optimal hours – meaning during their less preferred hours. What do you know? Apparently those bursts of creativity are common occurrences during periods of mental fatigue.

6. Early Birds are Older; Night Owls are Younger

This obviously doesn’t meant that the clocks of time are cheated and being a night owl makes you younger—although we wish it were that simple. This simply means that your optimal hours might depend on your age. Older people are more likely to be early birds while younger people tend to enjoy late night bed times. Scientists found that this could be due to circadian clocks of skin cells and circadian genes. According to researcher Steven A. Brown, of the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology, “he can tell whether you are a ‘lark’ or an ‘owl’ simply by looking at your skin cells”. Not surprisingly, elder people tend to have earlier peak expression in the body cells causing them to go to bed early and wake up early.

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7. Early Birds Love Breakfast; Night Owls Love Dinner

Our most preferred hours not only affect moods, choice of stimulants, and how we tend to work, but also our favorite meal choice. While early birds tend to wake up in the morning and eat a healthy breakfast while reading the newspaper simultaneously or doing something else productive, night owls tend to skip breakfast all together and use their last few minutes before work to get dressed and rush to the office. For night owls, dinner and day-time meals are the best and they make sure they are full of it.

Dr Simon Archer, a researcher from the University of Surrey did a test on himself and found that he had the “physiology of an owl” so he can’t eat breakfast first thing in the morning. Another study revealed that owls are more likely to eat fewer but larger meals during late hours. Thus, these individuals were more prone to obesity, elevated stress levels, and even sleep apnea.

Featured photo credit: d26b73 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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