Lark or Owl? How your Habitude Affects Your Productivity

owl jpgWe all have such different predispositions, don’t we? Some of us rise early as the lark, or stay up into the wee hours of the night just like the owl. If we pay attention to these proclivities, perhaps we can use our time more optimally.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

To know me well, is to know that I am definitely not an early bird. Truthfully, I’m not my ‘natural’ best self early in the morning.  I know this.  It takes my brain a little while to get into a groove and catch up with my body. So in the event when I do need to rise early, I must give myself extra time to adjust and wake up my body and sync it to my brain. I always marvel at those people who start their day really early and have already been to the gym and back, ran some errands, showered, and completed several tasks, way before I’ve even opened my eyes!

I suspect that those early risers are also ‘early to bed’ people too.  Knowing how much sleep you require is important, but actually getting it, is even more essential. We try to calibrate our sleep patterns in accordance with our body rhythm.

There is probably a valid reason as to why I’m not such a an early riser.  I’m really more of a ‘late night’ person, always have been. Although I don’t always get it, I require a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night.  For me, after a busy day, I need several hours in the evening to unwind. After dinner spills into a myriad of to do’s, to calls, and ultimately leads me upstairs to relax and watch some entertaining (sometimes mindless) late night TV.

For most, this is the moment to drift off into a delicious deep slumber. Well that’s not exactly how it works for me, lol.  Firstly, I need quiet to sleep. I cannot fall asleep with ambient voices emanating from the TV, so after my husband finally falls asleep and I’ve had my fill of late night talk shows, it’s light’s out for me.

The interesting phenomenon about my body rhythm is that although I’m asleep, I’m often woken up by my brain in the middle of the night. Thoughts invade, ideas percolate and poke at me. Truly, I am a ‘natural’ night owl, but I’ve learned how to manage this. I always leave a pad and pen by bedside to ‘catch’ my thoughts because I’m afraid I will forget them in the morning. Sometimes I wake up multiple times to remind myself to add to my to do’s for the following day.

When it’s still and quiet, my brain does not shut down.  Actually, the silence activates and provides clear space for me to think.  I must confess, it’s not like I choose to stay up all night, it’s more like an unconscious tug that urges me to empty my brain so I can have a more restful night’s sleep.

I’ve learned to stop fighting the nudge,  and turn on the lamp for a quick jot of genius.  In fact, most of my blogs are crafted from these late night epiphanies.  I jot down key words and phrases, sometimes even full sentences! When I wake up the following morning, I’m frequently shocked that I wrote such legible and focused content in the wee hours of the night. It sometimes feels like I’m ‘working’ in my sleep!

But clearly, every day is not perfect and I cannot manage my required hours of sleep all the time. Without a doubt, after a great night’s sleep, my days are physically active and very productive.  I am operating on full throttle with my best self.  On those other days when I might be more sleep deprived, it’s not so pretty, lol.  My productivity suffers and so does my sleep cycle. I must adjust to catch up.

The key is to know thyself.  Are you aware of when you are your best self? If you are indeed an early bird, are you taking advantage of the gifted hours? Do you use late nights to get more things accomplished?

We all structure our day and use time differently because we all have unique lifestyle and habits. When are you most productive? Lark or owl?

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