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Morning People and Productivity

November 9, 2010
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I’ve been reading a few articles lately about employee productivity and the correlation to time of day.  There are research studies and talk about personal power cycles and body rhythms and brain wave activity.  There are polls like the survey conducted by the IT Job Board which found that ” productive techies are morning people, who like making lists and prefer working on their own.”

Perhaps we put ourselves into our own categories and then move into self-fulfilling mode.   We assign labels to ourselves like morning person or night owl and some of us profess to being most productive late-afternoon.   Heck – who hasn’t made a comment to a co-worker about turning into a slug post-lunch?

Sometimes our  label becomes a crutch:

“Sorry Joe, I can’t possibly make that 8 AM meeting – I’m just not a morning person.”

“Gee Steve, I know you want us to be more customer-facing, but I can’t work those hours;  I do my best work at 10 PM.

As my entire family knows, I am most certainly not a morning person.  Or am I?  Have I convinced myself over the years that just because I like to lounge in my pajamas and lay in bed (as opposed to sitting upright) watching the morning news, that I deserve the label of “not-a-morning-person”?

When I’ve been faced with jobs that require me to be on my game at the crack-of-dawn, I can do it.  I actually, in some perverse way, enjoyed the job where I fairly regularly arrived at work  at 6 AM or 6:30 AM to hold pre-shift meetings.  I was energized.  My brain was firing on all cylinders.  And the energy level stayed up for the remainder of the day.  Is it possible that I had convinced myself I wasn’t a morning person for all those years?


So where do you fall?  Do you have a preference for time of day?  Or do you truly believe you ARE your label?






5 Comments leave one →
  1. akaBruno permalink
    November 9, 2010 7:30 am

    Definitely a “morning” person. Always wake up prior to 5:30 a.m. (even on weekends) without an alarm. Much easier to teach stats at 8 am than trying to get classroom discussion going at that hour.

  2. Alison permalink
    November 9, 2010 8:31 am

    Morning person…but get some odd, freakishly productive second wind in the early afternoon.

  3. November 9, 2010 8:55 am

    Interesting idea, Robin. Thinking as thoughtfully as I can in the 3 minutes since I read this post, I think that I AM my label. I am a night owl, and I have been one as far back as I can remember. I remember my mother fussing at me waaaaay back to either get up or get to bed. Like you, I can do productive work when I am forced to be up and at ’em at 6:00 am – but I think that is just being an adult and doing whatever it takes. Doesn’t mean I like it.

    Right now I rarely use an alarm, since I am unemployed and my time is my own. I wake up at 8 or 9, and go to bed around 1 or 2 am. My best “work” (networking, writing, volunteering, etc) is done between 11 am and 8 pm.

  4. November 9, 2010 9:36 am

    I am not a morning person although I have adapted when needed. I do my best work starting at around 6:30 PM. As an entrepreneur I sometimes will work from just past dinner until 2 AM. I just get my groove. Of course I pay for it the next day because my daughter promptly awakes at 7:00 AM every morning.



  5. Robin Schooling permalink*
    November 9, 2010 7:24 pm

    I like Joan’s schedule the best, and I think I could readily adapt to Jessica’s; minus the 7 AM wake-up call.

    You morning people make me nervous.. 😉

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