When Are You at Your Optimum? Thoughts From a Self-confessed Night Owl


When Are You at Your Optimum? Thoughts From a Self-confessed Night Owl

Anyone else sick of reading about the #5am club?

It seems every personal development guru worth their weight in mantras is all about maximising your day and achieving everything before 9.00am. I call BS. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of mornings. Anything before 10.00am just doesn’t compute for me. I don’t function well, no matter how much coffee I’ve had, I’m not a happy camper and being around ‘morning’ people confuses me.

Anytime I see a networking event that has ‘breakfast’ in the title I weigh up the pros and cons of attending very seriously. You better have a minimum of two of the Avengers (preferably ones that end in Hemsworth or Downey Jr) in attendance or chances are I’m not going to show. If I do make it, then I’ll be the person just starting to come good around the time the event is winding up.

Mornings, and morning routines, just don’t work for me. Anecdotally, I knew I wasn’t on my own; over the years I’ve met plenty of self-confessed night owls, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across an article, produced by genetic testing agency, 23andMe, that I found out there is 15 different genetic variants associated with being a morning person (clearly I managed to avoid all of them).

I’m not going to go into all of the variants, as it’s not really relevant, but suffice to say the majority of them appear to be linked with circadian rhythms (i.e. a fancy word for sleep cycles). What does interest me though is how ‘second class’ night owls can be made to feel by people who have discovered the power of the #5am club. Seriously, you lot can be as passionate as newly reformed smokers with your high and mighty ‘you’ll feel amazing’ greeting the day before sunrise. No mate, I won’t feel amazing to see the sunrise. Trust me, I’ve had to do it a few times in my life, and the results are never pretty.

So, what does all this mean for those of us who prefer to keep a more lunar timetable?

Quite simply, we would sincerely appreciate it if you ‘morning people’ stop trying to convert us. And while you’re at it, understand that we probably won’t be attending your breakfast events, and if we do, then a little acknowledgement of the effort we’ve put in to be there would be nice.

We’ve adapted our working days to ensure we still achieve the same amount of uninterrupted work time you lot get, we just do it at the back end of the day. You may also be surprised to learn that (most of us) are still finding time to exercise, hang out with friends and family, and even seek out a little time for ourselves as well.

For us, our most creative times can occur between 11.00pm and 3.00am while you lot are happily embracing your circadian rhythms and catching your zzzzzz’s. There is a whole world out there of books that are written, podcasts that are edited, graphics that are designed and businesses that are run when the sun is firmly tucked away on the other side of the planet.

Now don’t get me wrong, most of us night owls appreciate the daylight hours, as long as they occur conveniently after 10.00am, so yes, we will respond to your email, return your phone call or check your social media update but we’ll do it on our schedule, not yours.

I think I speak for all night owls when I say we can all get along, in fact, I believe we can thrive and create amazing connections together. After all, there are enough common hours we share when everyone is awake and functioning at their optimum.

Ultimately what I’ve figured out is this, “Run your own race.”

The only person you should ever compare yourself to is the one in the mirror. Don’t get caught up in thinking you need to be part of the #5am club (or the #3am club for that matter) to survive and thrive in business.

Stick to your own lane and “You do you”; your tribe and the people who want to be around you will accept you just the way you are.

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