Productivity Hacks for Night Owls

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Written by BusinessAlligators Support

Support Staff at BusinessAlligators is a team of business experts led by Shilpi Singh Trusted by over 100K readers worldwide.

March 29, 2019

Let’s face it- not everyone follows the conventional norms of society. Some people like to spend their lives on their own terms. For instance, there are many people who like to stay up late and turn in at odd hours.

Going to sleep past the usual bedtime is actually beneficial for many reasons. For instance, the kind of tranquility that emerges on the surface after the world goes to sleep is hard to find during the daytime. Similarly, if your work requires a lot of creativity, then some of the best ideas may come to you when no one is up to distract you. This is why you will find that some of the most famous writers, musicians, and artists loved to stay up and let the nights influence their works.

Night Owls are More Intelligent and Get More Done, Says Science

According to a study Personality and Individual Differences by psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa and editor in chief of Psychology Today Kaja Perina, people with high intelligence are more likely to be night owls than those with low intelligence. Kanazawa says that the idea can be traced back to the time of our ancestors when it was rare to sleep at night.

In another study by the University of Liege in Belgium, it was found that the night owls are more productive than the early birds. The researchers said that while both groups have similar performance in their responsiveness in the morning, the former show faster reaction times in the second half of the day and are rather more awake than the early birds.

There have been many studies like these two that show that contrary to the common belief, night owls can be highly productive. However, it helps to develop some new habits to use your routine in a more efficient manner.

While there is nothing wrong with being a night owl, the habit can come in the way of living a responsible life if you are unable to get enough sleep or manage the time properly. The good news is that the Internet is replete with tons of information about different kinds of productivity hacks. The following are a few suited for the night lovers:

1. Step up Your Morning Routine

Since you are hitting the sack much later than you should be, your mornings will be fuzzy and unfocused. So, it’s best if you take care of several of your morning chores at night itself. These can include taking a shower, arranging the office clothes, preparing breakfast, etc. By taking care of these tasks alone in advance, you will be able to save at least one hour of morning time. You can use this time to get some extra sleep which will go a long way in keeping you productive at work.

2. Hit the Gym at Night

When you sleep less and have less amount of time during the day to get the work done, then you need your brain to function at its peak level. This can’t be accomplished unless you spend some time on physical exercise.

Here is something that you may not know- one of the most important things that successful people do from morning to evening is exercise and meditating. So, as a night owl, you need it even more. Besides, many studies have shown the physical exercise and cardiovascular activities boost brain function.

Since you already have a lot of time after dusk, you can spend around 30 minutes of it in the gym or exercise in your home. Doing this will make you feel much sharper and attentive at work in the mornings.

3. Apply the Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle aka the 80/20 rule was introduced by philosopher and economist Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto which says that only 20% of your work drives 80% of your outcomes. This is because only 20% of your tasks are important and contribute to your goals, while the remaining 80% don’t really require a lot of attention and must be given as little time as possible. In other words, if you have 10 tasks, then you should identify the most important 2 of them and make sure that they are completed in the best way possible.

It may take a while for you to fully understand the Pareto Principle. However, once you start applying to real-life situations, you will see that it can help you to be highly productive even when you have less time on your hands.

4. Get Rid of Distractions

To make the most of your limited day hours, you must avoid unnecessary distractions at all costs. Unfortunately, most of these come from your own smartphone that you carry with you at all times. 

You may not even know it, but you could be spending more than a few hours every day on your phone watching YouTube videos, going through your social media feed, chatting with friends, etc. To limit these distractions, you can install apps that can curb your smartphone dependency by blocking distracting apps like Facebook, Twitter, games, etc. temporarily. There are plenty of these on the Internet, including free ones.

5. Watch What You Eat and Drink

What you consume affects your productivity to a huge extent, especially if you are not a morning person. This is because as a night owl, you are likely to be munching on snacks at nights which is not good for your body and if you are not spending time on exercising, then you could also be gaining a lot of weight.

If you want to be more productive, then it’s really important that you start watching what you eat. For instance, studies have found that eating fruits and vegetables is not only good for your body, but it’s also beneficial for your mind. For instance, a paper published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that people who consumed fruits and vegetables up to 7 portions more than others were more engaged and creative. 

The following are a few examples of superfoods that boost productivity:

Dark Chocolate: Chocolate has got a bad rep for its calorie count. However, if eaten in moderation, it can provide you with numerous benefits. For instance, the caffeine in it can make you more focused and alert, and since there are small traces of magnesium in it as well, it can make you feel more relaxed and stress-free.

Avocados: Avocados are natural blood flow enhancers and an excellent source of heart-healthy fats. So, by consuming them on a regular basis, you can be more attentive and productive, and also keep your heart in a good shape.

Green Tea: It’s no secret that coffee is the go-to drink for the night owls. This is because it provides them with the necessary energy and ups their focus level. However, switching to green tea even if partially can do a lot of good for your body and mind. This is because it’s packed with powerful antioxidants and has no negative effects on your body. It also has many plant polyphenols and other phytochemicals that contribute to your brain and cognitive health.

Bananas: To do a lot of work in less time, you need energy. However, it’s better if you are able to lay off those delicious snack bars that you are so fond of. This is because artificial sugar and carbs are not good sources of energy. A healthier alternative is a fruit like a banana. It can provide all the glucose your body needs without causing any long-term damage. Plus, it can make you feel full which means that you won’t yearn for snacks that you aren’t supposed to eat afterward. 

6. Bundle Multiple Tasks to Save Time

This is the ultimate productivity hack that not only night owls but even others with normal routines can also use. The principle is quite simple- rather than focusing on one task at a time or doing different tasks in a random order, you can bundle appropriate tasks together to save a lot of time.

For instance, say, you have to answer a bunch of emails and also update your online calendar for the meetings scheduled for the next week. So, instead of taking care of these tasks at different times, you can do both at the same time. It makes sense because when you are reverting the emails, you can also see the dates and times of the meetings in individual messages as well. This is just one example of many other possibilities that can be used for saving time.

7. Create Deadlines for Yourself

It’s easy to lose track of the time when you don’t have a fixed routine. In fact, it’s quite common for the night owls who often struggle to keep up with their work. An easy solution to this problem is self-imposed deadlines.

You don’t need someone else to nag you to do the work; you can take some responsibility yourself. So, rather than making mental notes for different tasks, you can actually install a productivity app, or even go old-school and write down the tasks on a notepad and assign a deadline to each one. Remember, being specific is the key here. So, you don’t want to choose deadlines that go like 1-2 hours, 30-50 minutes, etc. Instead, there should be a fixed date and time by when you have to finish each task.

You can also try the “carrot and stick” approach with the deadline technique. In this, you can give yourself a fixed number of points for each task that you complete on time depending on its difficulty. When a certain number of points are earned, then you can reward yourself with a treat which could be anything such as a new video game, an expensive dress, or a fancy treat at your favorite restaurant.  

You can be Productive Irrespective of Your Lifestyle Choices. It doesn’t matter how you spend your time, you can tick off all your daily tasks easily if you know how to balance work and play. All you have to do is be careful with your eating habits, try to be more disciplined, and work smarter and not harder. The information shared in this blog will be of huge help in that regard.

Author of Article- Kapil Sharma

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