Night Owls: How To Tap Into Your Optimal Productivity Period

Did you know that it’s been scientifically proven that night owls get more done?

Yes — you read that correctly the first time.

Just because you dread early mornings, and have trouble focusing (and maybe even being human) before noon, it doesn’t mean you can’t be super productive. Night owls may have a bad rep because their internal clocks run a little differently than the bulk of the population, but that doesn’t mean they accomplish any less than everyone else.

Working at night is great and can be an extremely productive time for people who enjoy staying up later, but how can you best optimize your work time when you’re a night owl?

Check out the tips below to discover how to optimize your productivity.

Find a Distraction Free Zone

No matter the time of the day, it is easy to become distracted if you don’t take steps to keep yourself on track.

Time wasters like checking your cell phone every few minutes, getting sucked into new social media posts or doodling horns on a picture of your boss can really kill your productivity.

The evening is a time when you can avoid all distractions, and get into a good work zone. It’s the best time for night owls to use their creativity without any interruptions. During the day we’re constantly receiving notifications, texts, phone calls, email alerts, etc., but at night it all lays to rest. Use this to your advantage.

Schedule Your Work Strategically

Morning people sometimes perceive night owls as lazy because they are not up at the crack of dawn, but this is not true. Night owls just work on a different schedule.

The key to creating an optimal productive period for anyone is sticking to a schedule, and night owls should be no different. You should set “time blocks” that lay everything out: time to get things done, time to wind down, time to sleep, time to wake up, and the list goes on.

Although your “morning routine” will be different than a morning person’s routine, you should still set one so you get started on the right foot at the start of your day. Having a set schedule will ensure that you get your work done to meet deadlines rather than procrastinating and cursing yourself tomorrow.

Go Ahead, Exercise at Night

Tired of hearing all the benefits of exercising in the morning when you know the snooze button will be the only one getting a workout?

It’s hard for night owls to wake up, and that’s okay. Exercising at night can be a great thing for people who like to stay up late. Since happiness can increase productivity by up to 12 percent, taking advantage of that post-workout high can give you nice boost.

Studies also show that night owls motor cortex and spinal cord excitability increase later in the evening. So besides being physically stronger in the evening, you’ll also notice the gym isn’t as crowded at 9 p.m. Take advantage of this and use it to make the most of your optimal productive period. Practice an assortment of exercises, like yoga or running before you get to work, and see which type helps your concentration and productivity.

Make it Feel Like You Are at Work

Instead of lounging in your bed with your pajamas on, find a specific place where you can get your tasks done. Working in your bedroom can be negative in a number of ways. For example, your brain may start to associate work with your bedroom, which will make it harder for your body to wind down when you are trying to sleep later on.

Another tactic that you can use to make it feel like you are at work is to get dressed as if you are on your way out the door. It’s hard to feel good about yourself and your work if you are wearing sweatpants and a dirty t-shirt. Dressing for work can actually heighten your attention, making you more focused into the late evening.

Also keep in mind, that if you were in an office with co-workers, a TV would not be playing in the background. You might think that it is not distracting, but it is impossible to focus on more than one thing at once. That means, every time you pause and hear something on the TV, your brain switches focus and you disrupt your thoughts and creative flow.

Bonus: Tips for Night Owls With an 8 to 5 Job

Sometimes you don’t get to be the maker of your schedule….

When you work for a company where you are required to be into work before your eyes are even fully open, try starting your work day with tasks that are more simple and don’t require too much focus. Allow yourself some time to “wake up” before you start diving into deeper work.

Another strategy you can use (if you’re able to work it out with your employer) is to take some work home with you. Companies that understand the benefits of reward and recognition, might even give you the opportunity to come in an hour later if you work at home in the evenings. Demonstrate to your employer that you are responsible before you request a later start time to increase your chances.

Lastly, schedule your most difficult tasks at a time when you perform your best. Make sure those on your team also know what times are better for you so they can try to work with you when these types of projects roll in.

Are you ready to have one of the most productive nights of your life? Ease into some of these suggestions so you don’t get too overwhelmed all at once. Do you have any other advice for night owls? What routine works best for you?