As I’m writing this, it is 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday. My day job starts in less than 12 hours, and I am wide awake and ready to tackle the day (err... night). From 7:00 p.m. to midnight, I’m in my groove and at peak performance for getting important stuff done.
My name is Taylor Henriquez, and I’m a night owl working a 9 - 5 schedule.
There’s not much written about the benefits of night productivity . Instead, many articles cite the advantages of being an early riser, give tips for creating a productive morning routine, and provide examples of successful people who have 5:00 a.m. wake-up times. Benjamin Franklin I am not , and it has taken me years to acknowledge and accept that I’m not a morning person, and will probably never become one according to my circadian rhythm, no matter how many tips or hacks I try.
Which brings me to my 9-5. Every Monday through Friday, I’m expected to be a fully functioning human by 9:00 a.m. This is not easy for me, but I’ve found a couple of tricks to help my traditional schedule work best for me and my team, without relying on three cups of coffee, two cans of Diet Coke in the afternoon, and a prayer to tackle work throughout the day. Below are five ways you can take advantage of your 9-5 schedule if you’re a night owl.
1. Write out your work to-do list first thing in the morning
The first thing I do when I get to work is make myself my first (and usually) my last cup of coffee for the day. The second thing I do is write out my work to-dos, followed by a quick scan of any important emails. Most productivity articles will tell you to start your day working on the most challenging assignment. I would not have a job if I had to do this. For me, tackling mundane administrative work is the best way to start my morning: little creativity and problem solving required.
2. Tackle the hard stuff at night
So when do you get to the demanding assignments? Do it at night or at your peak afternoon hours, if possible. Granted, this will require some planning on your part to make sure deadlines are met, but tackling projects during a peak rather than a slump, can make all the difference in your work, taking it from good to great. Just refrain from sending out midnight emails to your team because you are on a roll.
3. Take a break: nap, meditate or read
By now, it’s widely known that taking a lunch break can actually boost productivity when you return. We all know that breaks are good for us, but no one wants to be the person who leaves every day for an hour to go to Panera Bread. Stop being a martyr. Take an actual break: a break where you aren’t riding around looking for a sandwich, but one where thinking and reacting is kept to a minimum.
4. Go out and network
Your 9 - 5 is over, and while you could take the evening to catch up on your side hustle or finish work, you could also use this time and newfound energy to network and go out to industry events to build connections. You know what your colleagues are doing after work? Passed out on the couch watching Netflix.
5. Prepare for your day the night before
Mornings aren’t so dreadful when you’ve prepared the night before. For me, that means showering before bed, picking out my outfit, prepping lunch, and packing my bag. Now if I could only remember my keys.