Are early birds more productive than night owls? We’ve all heard the expression “the early bird catches the worm”, but does this apply to human productivity? Ben Franklin proclaimed that “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”.
A recent blog in US News and World Report says yes. They sited a “study published in an American Psychological Association journal, Emotion, which suggests that early birds are generally happier than night owls.” Read more at US News here.
I wonder who they interviewed and what they asked? I suspect that the results are related to interviewing people who work for mainstream companies. The rhythms of early birds fit better with the standard nine-to-five work schedule.
Those of us who have flexible work can be productive by creating a schedule that fits our own rhythms and values. For example, I like to take personal time before I get involved in work projects. I may not start my work projects until mid morning, but I’m still productive because I’m focused and ready to work when I do start.
My takeaway is that being productive is largely a matter of creating habits that support you in your health and work. To be productive, we must be healthy, full of energy and focused. Here are some good suggestions for self care from the article; getting good sleep, eating a hearty breakfast, exercising and having a morning routine.
The work related tips have to do with planning our day, tackling the important stuff first (before meetings, phone calls or emails), and connecting with co-workers as top priorities to do early in the day.
“Productivity is never an accident. It’s always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort”
– Paul J. Meyer
There are many good tips in the article, but maybe we don’t need to be early birds to be healthy, happy and productive. Honoring our own rythms and values is important too. Don’t take my word for it, explore to see what works best for you.