Early Riser or Night Owl: is there a right way to promote productivity?

The Tales of a Night Owl.

For a night owl, life starts early which is a problem because you’ve been up late. Night owls lack productivity during the day but can whip up an essay in 2 hours, provided they start after midnight. Many of the individuals that identify as night owls long to achieve morning person status. This is justified as the society we live in is undeniably suited to early risers. Primary school rings its first bell at 8:45 am, Media-Hopper starts recording at 9 am and the typical workday is from 9 to 5. Furthermore, evenings are conventionally spent socialising, facilitating night owls to procrastinate further.

However, night owls are proven to be more alert during the night than morning people are in the morning, and are more creative than their peers. In my experience, motivation only kicks in when it seems near impossible to finish (or even start) the tasks I intended for that day. As it slips away, the fear that nothing has been accomplished causes an outburst of productivity, punctuated only by breaks to make more tea. So, although I spend all day feeling guilty about my distinct lack of productivity, my nights are free of procrastination. Thus, tasks get done, to-do lists get ticked off and I go to sleep content, only to wake up 5 hours later to catch my 9 am.

Ellen Harper

A Night Owl turned Early Riser

I started university as a self-confessed night owl. I routinely began essays at 1 am and found it hard to focus before it got dark.

Nowadays, I’m most productive in the middle of the day. I’ve discovered how daylight, rather than darkness, can be inspiring and that my brain can work faster after a good night’s sleep. Evenings have become a time for switching off and socialising. Not only are these nights guilt-free but they are more enjoyable when you aren’t thinking about impending work to finish later that evening.

However, I hesitate to say that I am now an early riser. I’m certainly not one of those super-humans that get up at 4.30 am and spends an hour working on ‘special projects’ before pilates, a smoothie bowl and writing in their bullet journal. Whilst it works for successful individuals like Oprah Winfrey, Mark Wahlberg, and Tim Cook, there’s a discipline required to get out of bed early which I sadly lack.

Fortunately, the internet provides many suggestions for becoming an early riser. A helpful tip is using an alarm clock that forces you to answer maths questions before you can turn it off (it works). Although it is difficult sticking to an earlier routine, I’ve found that I can accomplish a surprisingly large amount in one day without sacrificing sleep, socialising or lectures.

Hence, productivity depends on motivation, not the time at which it occurs. Early risers gain drive from daylight while night dwellers prefer darkness (or just the pressure of their own lack of output). Ultimately, they both get the job done.

Issy Powell

 

Illustration: Sophie Boyle

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