Is being a night owl counterproductive?
Is being a night owl a detriment to personal productivity, given that the rest of the world is sleeping when the night owl is most active? Do you perceive night owls as lazy or any less effective than those following typical circadian rhythms? This question is directed to the self-employed, but all experiences are appreciated.
Yes, I'm a self-employed night owl, KorenKartalis. I admit it can be counterproductive at time because I don't get enough rest. On the other hand, when I get started on an article, I can't turn off the creative juices. Before I know it, it's 2:30 am when I intended to stop at, well, . . . 1:00 am. Anyway, not matter how productive I can be in the wee hours of the morning, not having proper rest is counterproductive and I usually end up paying for it.
I am a self-employed night owl, and find that it's only counter-productive if I can't follow my natural circadian rhythms. I have three young kids. My husband usually gets up with them in the morning, and I'll stay up with them in the evening if one or more has difficulty getting to bed. It worked great. Unfortunately, in the last several months, for whatever reason, my husband has decided to stay up until they're all in bed. One just hit the "terrible twos." The result? I'm taking Benadryl to go to bed as soon as everyone else does so he's not stuck with them by himself for half the day. This means that I'm throwing away the most alert and only truly focused time I have. Going to bed too early for me means that I have difficulty going to sleep, don't sleep soundly, and still wake up at the same time as if I'd worked until 3:00 or 4:00. Before the schedule got changed up, I could get a full days' productivity done in the 2-3 hours after everyone went to bed, significantly improving our family income.
So...in short, when I'm allowed to be a night owl, I think it helps rather than hurts my productivity. That said, I'm not a very social person. I go to the library every now and then, and then to the YMCA for afternoon classes or some time in the weight or cardio room. These fit into my normal day. When I have to go to the dentist, doctor, or other such daytime obligation, that does cause an issue.
My wife and I are night owls, though it's because of our jobs more than anything else (both of us work 2nd shift). Technically we could get up and do things before work, but who wants to go to work at the end of a long day? So we just shifted our schedule into the night hours. While I would say we're slightly less productive on this schedule, I think it's more so because nothing is open. Running errands is difficult when no one else is awake. Plus, it's harder to tell what time it is when it's dark out, so judging how long something will take is very skewed.
I do think, however, that night owls get an unfair reputation for being lazy. The thought is that they sleep in every day, when in reality they're on the same schedule as everyone else (it's just shifted).
I do my best work at night. Plus, with the internet, there is always someone awake somewhere. As for being lazy, maybe. It certainly is healthier to sleep during the normal day/night cycle. I would probably have to do it on a regular basis before I could be as productive as a day person.
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