Morning Larks vs. Night Owls: Best Times to Increase Workplace Productivity

Are you the type that wakes up before your alarm clock and gets a head start on the day? Or are you the kind that sleeps in until noon if you could? Most of us tend to lean towards one side of the spectrum — either you’re up until 2AM or you’re hopping into bed by 10:30. The rest of us often lie somewhere in between.

Take our quiz to find out when you’re most productive:

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Morning Larks

Early Riser

“The early bird catches the worm.”

If you are an early riser, this most likely means you go to sleep early to wake up with a head start for the next morning. You are the type of person to rely on ample time in the morning to relax and take your time getting ready. You hate feeling rushed to get to work and enjoy the extra time in the morning to start your day off right.

Morning people set the tone for the day bright and early. Perhaps you make a to-do list to plan out your day’s schedule. Or perhaps you take your time catching up with the news while eating a proper and healthy breakfast.

Early risers tend to have more energy and a better outlook towards the day.

For example, getting to work in the morning before everyone else means there will be fewer distractions. With more work getting done in the morning, they feel a great sense of accomplishment about knocking off to-do’s and don’t feel the cloud of stress throughout the day.

Morning Larks are likely to have the most productive days when they:

  • Exercise early:  Exercise boosts mood and provides energy on the job.
  • Complete difficult work first:  Larks are more likely to be optimistic and agreeable earlier in the day. Check off the meetings and projects that you find uninteresting at the beginning of the day.
  • Socialize in the evening:  Early risers benefit from spending time with family and friends post workday. They won’t stress about facing unfinished tasks.

“Neither-type” or Intermediates

Intermediates or “neither-types” fall somewhere in between Morning Larks and Night Owls. The pendulum likely swings towards either morningness or eveningness. As a result, the majority of people are Moderate Early Risers and Moderate Night Owls.

Moderate Larks are most focused in the mid-morning to early afternoon. Whereas Moderate Night Owls are most alert around 7 pm.

Moderate Larks

moderate owl

Do you find yourself in bed before midnight and needing a solid 8 hours of sleep? Then you’re probably a Moderate Lark. While still a fairly early riser, Moderate Larks usually require a few hits of the snooze button.

Moderate larks are likely to have the most productive days when they:

  • Schedule your exercise routine:  Contrary to belief, early evening is the best time for the Moderate Lark to exercise.
  • Save difficult work:  Moderate Larks are most productive in the mid morning (10 am to 12 pm) and early afternoon. Tackle your most important projects at those times of the day.
  • Socialize in the late afternoon:  Moderate Larks’ moods peak between the hours of 3 pm and 6 pm. Use this time wisely when scheduling client meetings and engaging with colleagues.

Moderate Night Owls

If you find yourself in this category, odds are that you identify with a lot of the characteristics of a night owl. Moderate Night Owls tend to stay up later and sleep later, but not as much as the Night Owl. Additionally, Moderate Night Owls are often light sleepers.

Moderate night owls are likely to have the most productive days when they:

  • Exercise first:  Early morning workouts are most beneficial to Moderate Night Owls. Take the time between your exercise routine and the beginning of the workday to unwind and wake up.
  • Use late afternoon for difficult tasks:  Moderate Night Owls are able to focus on intellectual and professional tasks the most in the late afternoon. Try sending emails and completing tasks between 4 pm and 6 pm.
  • Cut off social by 11:  On work nights, Moderate Night Owls may struggle to fall asleep. Avoid digital distractions by turning off your TV and placing your phone on its do not disturb setting.

Night Owls

Night Owl

If you scored as a Night Owl, then you probably already know what that entails. You’re the type that goes to sleep in the dead of night and dreads the thought of early mornings. More often than not, you begin the work day later and stay later to finish tasks and assignments.

Since most typical corporate job schedules are between 9 to 5, you have a difficult time adjusting to the morning work routine and feel less productive when you are up early. Instead, you get most work done in the afternoon and evening.

Studies have shown that Night Owls have a natural energy peak in the evening making you feel refreshed and ready for action, which calls for more productiveness. This also includes exercising, which will benefit you most when done in the afternoon.

A study by a team of scientists compared productiveness and concentration between Early Birds and Night Owls. Using MRIs to monitor the brain for its ability to focus and pay attention, they found that Owls have the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.

Night Owls are likely to have the most productive days when they:

  • Exercise in the evening:  Try to find a time to work out after 6 pm. Night Owls are most energetic in the evenings and take longer to wake up in the morning.
  • Focus on critical tasks later:  The ideal time for the Night Owl to hold meetings and present ideas to coworkers is between 4-6pm.
  • Spend the morning on yourself:  It typically takes the Night Owl multiple alarms to wake up. Use the first hour of your workday to plan the day ahead.

Some bonus characteristics related with Night Owls include:

  • Higher intelligence and IQ
  • More creative
  • Better sense of humor
  • More outgoing

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