Working With Early Risers

Trying to live with an early bird can be hard at times. But working with them isn’t always a walk in the park either. Of course, I’m sure they’d say the same thing about us.

So what can you do to make things work out for both sides?

1. Early birds and night owls need to realize that there is a place for both sleep cycles. For example, when I ran my web design and hosting company, I would hire assistans who were early risers. They would start the day bright and early helping clients who were also early risers. And they could take care of all the projects that I’d come up with the night before. With this understanding, we complemented one another.

2. Realize that a sleep cycle alone does not a lazy person make. That said, if a night owl is sitting up all night watching Letterman, yes, that’s a problem. But if she’s writing an ebook, doing laundry, building websites, answering helpdesk tickets, mopping, rocking a not-very-sleepy child and generally keeping herself busy, then NO, she is not lazy. Seriously.

Understanding and accepting one another are the two main things you can do to work with the early bird in your life. Of course, it really helps if she returns the favor…

Night Owls Get Such A Bad Name

You’ve heard it all.

  • “You’re lazy if you don’t get up by 6 a.m.”
  • “You could get up earlier if you didn’t party all night”
  • “You must be anti-social, disorganized, impulsive…”

You get the picture. Night Owls really do have a negative image with all those larks running around out there.

I feel your pain. One of my roommates in college was a die-hard lark. She would go to bed at 9 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. Not only was she awake at this time, but SINGING. Loudly. And totally chipper. Like nails on a chalkboard to a night owl who’d just gone to bed three hours earlier.

I’ve been a night owl for as long as I can remember. Waking up in the morning has always been hard. No matter how much sleep I’ve had the night before, I’m dragging until after noon. (One semester in college, my roommates wouldn’t even talk to me until after my first class. LOL!)

Fortunately, after I graduated from college, I worked for a newspaper on the 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift. This was perfect for me. I’d get up at noon and get ready for work.

After work, I’d spend some time reading, perhaps straighten some things up around the house and then go grocery shopping at 3 a.m. NOt only were my husband and I the only ones in the store, the night staff got to know us by name. That never happens during the day!

After we had kids, I just followed along with their schedule. Since I ran my own business, I didn’t need to be up at the crack of dawn. Later, when I felt like I did need someone awake at that hour, I hired an assistant.

My sleep schedule hasn’t always worked out so well. I’ve spent years trying to flip my schedule around so I could get up and enjoy a sunrise. I mean, I can get up early and get the kids to school when needed, but I have trouble being as productive as I am when I’m working at midnight. (This could be that their are more distractions during the day. But I also know that I’m more creative and can focus better later in the day.)

I can remember as a kid, going to my Granny and Granddad’s house. They used to run a small town grocery store and their parents had been farmers. So they were die-hard larks as well. As a matter of fact, my Granddad would wake up at 4 a.m. without an alarm clock. He’s the one that thought I was lazy because I was still snoozing at noon.

Of course, he didn’t realize I’d been awake half the night thinking or writing or generally waiting for sleep to arrive.

For the longest time, I think I believed him. It wasn’t until after I had kids and started my business, that I realized that just because I wasn’t awake at 6 a.m. didn’t mean that I was lazy, unmotivated or unproductive. If I work with my natural rhythms, I can get a lot done. Just not when everyone else thinks I should do it.

So how about you?

Do you struggle with your sleep patterns? What have you tried to change things?

Do you have people in your life who think you just need to go to bed at a decent hour and that will straighten you out? What have you tried to get them to understand you?