I was always the kid who ended up awake while all of his friends were asleep in a sleepover. Up until college, I would be up reading for a test using my phone as light in the dark room as my roommate snores. And because of these habits engraved in me, I understand how my family and friends are worried about my health from my lack of sleep. However, I still make sure to get enough hours of sleep while also eating healthy to make sure I’m not compromising my body.
My point here is that you can hack your way to be a productive and healthy individual, even if you are a night owl. Not all people are capable of waking up with a smile on their face and ready to jog at 5 in the morning. Perhaps you’re someone like me who’s not awake until after 10 am and goes jogging at 7 pm instead.
Stop Trying to Be the Morning Person That You Are Not
Night owls can be productive too. In fact, they might even have the capacity to be more productive than those who wake up early. To make you feel much better on your difficulty of falling asleep early, did you know that a study showed that us night owls are intelligent individuals?
In fact, there is another study in a university in Belgium that showed how night owls remain alert mentally for a much more extended period compared to early birds. If science says so, then we might as well take advantage of our superpower in the night. But of course, there are other factors that can contribute to these findings. Nonetheless, my takeaway here for you is that just because you are not productive in as early as 6 am, doesn’t mean you are lacking the capacity to be as efficient.
Another discovery that I found about myself is that I tend to be more motivated to work out in the evening. On the contrary, I always end up convincing myself to stay in bed when I plan to jog early in the morning. If you feel like you can stick to a routine much easier in the evening, then perhaps you should skip the morning doubts and do your routine later that day. After all, according to science, we have increased excitability in our spinal cord and motor cortex in the late hours. You don’t have to always have a mental debate with yourself when both you and the voice in your head can find an agreement in the evening.
Besides working out at 9 pm, I also find it more relaxing to do my work in the evening. I sleep from the morning up to the afternoon, then do other easy tasks until the evening. And when I feel much more inspired later that night, that’s when I’ll write and create presentations. I understand that your nature of work might not be compatible with this timeline, but I was lucky that I work at home.
I feel much more peaceful at night because I don’t have distractions. The quiet house plus the phone that’s not ringing plus a brain that is focused; it’s the best equation for a productive hour, isn’t it? It’s much easier to concentrate on a task and do it more efficiently if you don’t feel overwhelmed and annoyed. More so, I put on a soothing night light projector like this to keep my creative juices flowing.
And did you know? This study has shown how night owls like us tend to be more efficient, especially in problem-solving. So if you’re a student who struggles in understanding a concept, why not try to embrace the night owl in you and study later at night instead.
Since I am no longer forcing myself to be a morning person, I also noticed how relaxed and happier I am during the day. Because I’m doing my work and other tasks at night, I do much simpler duties in the morning. I even get to catch better sleep, so I’m not really neglecting my health.
Lay Down Your Plan and Tasks for the Next Day
So how can you make the most out of your night? A good tip that I can recommend is that you can take this opportunity to plan out the next day. For example, you might have a day job, unlike me, who is much more flexible in time.
What you can do is that you can lay out our plan and tasks for the next day or morning. You won’t end up wasting the morning hours with a hazy brain. At the same time, you don’t have to panic about tasks that you might forget about in the morning. Simply enjoy your morning coffee and let your night owl self last night do the work for you. Note every responsibility from the people you need to call, items you need to copy and bring, and even chores for the morning.
Speaking of morning chores, you can check which tasks in your morning routine that you can do in the night. They might be as simple as laying down your clothes or packing your bag. Maybe you can do meal preparation so you can just microwave your breakfast. Think about the extra minute or hour of sleep that you’ll get thanks to advancing these tasks at your most productive mood.
Segregate Your Tasks According to their Difficulty
As I have mentioned earlier, you can do much more complicated tasks at night and then the easier ones in the day. Although this might not be feasible for certain people, I think some parts of your to-do list are still easy to segregate.
Since you might feel much lazier and unmotivated to work in the day, you can use those hours to do autopilot tasks instead. What I mean by autopilot tasks are those that are somewhat robotic and wouldn’t require a cumbersome thought process and problem-solving skills. For example, they can be proofreading your emails, highlighting items in blogs, checking reports, or returning calls. They are all mundane, but getting to do them ahead of time will still lessen your workload.
On the contrary, tasks that require a lot of comprehension will be much easier for you during the night. Perhaps this includes writing a critical presentation, brainstorming for content, and other projects that you should do at peak performance times.