You don't need to be an early bird

6 minutes


There’s a popular saying that goes, “an early bird catches the early worm.” It talks about how being early or being first in action would give you the most opportunities. Although it might be true for some, it doesn’t really mean that you’ll be left out when you come later than others. People work at a different pace and a different time. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is you get the job done right.

Hello, and welcome to the Traveling Introvert. Today, I am going to talk about not being a morning person. There was a conversation in a Slack group that I am in of people, and we were doing this particular thing that we were doing and people are like, "Ah, I'm going to get up early and I'm going to seize the day. Do exercise, and yoga, and eat right, and go for a run, and all the things that you do because when you wake up early, you're a better human being."

And we realized that there's really not a lot of information out there about not everyone has to be a morning person. There was a lot of Buzzfeed articles and listicles in general about the top things that CEOs do before breakfast, and why waking up early is good for you, and you have to dig a little bit to find any information on, hey, you don't have to be an early bird. You could be ... Wait, you could be a night bird because technically night owl is still a bird. But you can be a night owl and still be productive because there is definitely this myth surrounding the fact that if you don't get up early, you cannot be a productive human being.

And this is not the case. What you find is a lot of writers write at night because everything that could disturb you and bother you, is probably not around, be it your kids, or work, noise outside. At night, a peace tends to descend on certain places on earth, and therefore people find it easier to write, to compose, to paint. There was a famous painter who went, and she had access to a studio. She would only go at night because that's when she felt that she could be her, as she said, "Weird, but not really," herself. She could put her hands all the way in the paint pots and fling them around to create her art. She was free to express herself without other people judging. Whereas if she'd gone during the day, she'd feel like people would kind of judging.

You can be productive. I found that I have my most productive time between sort of 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. at night. That's when I can just sit and get either creative work done or organizational work done. It just works out better for me, but I found hard, with being productive in the evening, is that any communities that I am part of, generally the community events or the coworking events tend to be during the considered to be the normal working day between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00, and I found that I've had to find communities maybe on the other side of the world that will do things in their time zone when it's like 9:00 a.m. for them but 11:00 for me.

That's how I've worked being a night owl, and being a night owl, you can enjoy being by yourself. You can get a lot done. You can use tools that you're not getting pinged by your email, you're not getting interrupted, and what that will send your email out 8:00 a.m. In the morning so everyone thinks that you sent the messages at 8:00 a.m. In the morning. Being an early bird is something that seems to be prized in a lot of industries and communities and cultures. But if you take a look at it, as long as you get the work done, no matter when it is done, it shouldn't be a problem.

And this is something that should be true for remote work and remote workers. We definitely have a culture of, well we're having a 9:00 a.m. meeting because it's the start of the day. And so most people's Mondays are chockfull of Monday morning meetings to catch up on stuff when really you could have done it on Thursday and then doing on Monday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon instead when things have settled down rather than, "Oh, I have all this bunch of emails but wait, I'm spending my entire morning in meetings."

If you are a night owl or you work better in the afternoon, try and adjust your work or what you're doing or your creative time to enjoy that because you will feel better and you'll be more productive in your own way if you work with what times work good for you. Set up a spreadsheet. And if you don't know when you work best, and just do sort of 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., noon, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, 9:00, and take a note of your energy levels during those time over a week, and then you might be able to figure out when you will find it best to work. And honestly, I get so much more done in the evening than I do during the day because I figured out that, oh, it's okay for me to work at that time. And I also tend to try and have clients that aren't time pressure-sensitive for the stuff that needs doing.

How do you work best? Are you an early bird? Are you an afternoon bird? Are you a night bird? Are you none of the above? Do you like to do things in small chunks and then take a rest? How you work and how you work best is for you to figure out. There is no one right way. Thanks for listening. This is Janice from the Career Introvert helping you launch your podcast.

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