by Debi Auger
All my life I've been a night owl. I love being out at night. I'd think nothing of taking off and driving an hour away to the ocean with my friends... at midnight. I often volunteered to cover the night shift at the hospital.
I just love being up and about at night when the rest of the world is asleep (or seems to be). I love the calm, peaceful quiet.
I don't know if it has anything to do with being an introvert, and preferring quiet to crowds and chaos. But it's how I've always been.
Even now, my most productive work time is usually in the middle of the night. It's the best time for me to work on things that require concentration and focus.
Screw the Early Bird
I always, unapologetically, roll my eyes when people say things like, "The early bird gets the worm." I don't actually believe that. I think we each... whether early bird, night owl, or something else... are most productive and function best when we listen to our own natural internal rhythms. And, if you really want to annoy me, try telling me exactly what to do to "become a morning person" like it's some kind of friggin crowning achievement.
Why exactly do people think that morning people are better or more successful anyway? I disagree completely.
Incidentally, according to surveys, entrepreneurs are pretty much split down the middle, with half being morning people and the other half night owls.
You want me to get up how early?
As you know, I've been through a lot with my dog, Niko. Well, at 16 years old, I'm just not sure how much longer I'm going to be blessed to have him. So after one of his health crises last year, we started a new morning routine because he now needs medications in the morning... and getting those down is easier said than done.
But I've found a toasted PB&J usually does the trick rather nicely. So every morning we share a half PB&J... toasted so the crunch hides the pills I've tucked inside his pieces. And Mommy has her much-needed coffee. Did I mention I'm not a morning person?
I hang out in the living room with him while I enjoy my first coffee of the day, often sitting on the couch and having some "thinking time" because he likes to take an after-breakfast nap. Once I got used to his M.O., I'd often bring paper and a pencil down with me to do some work (yup... I do still love actually writing on paper).
Taking It Seriously
A while back I stumbled across a beautiful purple quote graphic in my Facebook feed that really spoke to me, because I was struggling with some decisions at the time. I've since found the quote should be attributed to Katrina Mayer:
"Often the best gift you can give yourself is time alone, some time to ask your questions and listen quietly for answers."
Sometimes you discover just the right thing, at just the right time, and it hits you. My mornings haven't been the same since.
So many people extol the benefits of meditation. Well, I suck at it. I just don't seem to be able to quiet the chaos in my mind to accomplish being 'still' and 'present' with simply your breath and your inner self (hat tip to Debra Rock-Evans for the perfect description of the goal). The thought of starting my day with a centering exercise like meditation sounds wonderful, but it never materializes.
That quote gave me an idea though. I started looking at that "thinking time" that I was getting every morning, from a different perspective. I started using it strategically... as writing time.
It's perfect. It's quiet. I have a cup of coffee, sit on the couch in front of the bay window with the sun shining in, and I write. And it's wonderful.
I think I started sometime in November and I've accomplished more in these last few months than I probably have in the last couple of years!
I'm writing a book so most of the writing is for that. But I also use that time to write program materials and blog posts. And sometimes do strategic planning and work with sales funnels and product funnels.
It's proven to be the perfect time to dedicate to working ON my business, instead of IN my business. And I LOVE it. I look forward to it everyday.
Nah. I won't go so far as to say that this has turned me into a bona fide morning person. After all, I'm sitting here writing this at 2am. That's typical. I've always been more of a wee-hours-of-the-morning person. I work in blocks of time, the last block being from around midnight until between 3 and 5am.
But I'm looking forward to my writing time in the morning when Niko wakes me up around 9am.
Imagine. Me. Looking forward to getting up early (yes, when you go to bed at 5am, 9am is early)! And actually being super-productive. In the morning! Whoa.
It may not be meditation. But it's still a great way to start the day, feeling like you've accomplished something big.
Over to You
How about you? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you have a favorite time to work? Tell me in the comments.
P.S. Do you have a dog who sniffs out even the tiniest pill? Here's my secret... I make a slice of toast, cut it in half, use natural peanut butter and Polaner Seedless Raspberry All Fruit Spread, act like it's mine and he's sharing my breakfast, sneak pills inside his pieces. Voila! Works every morning.