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Understanding Your Prime Time

I know you’ve heard the question – Are you a “morning person” or a “night owl?” Is this something we decided on for ourselves?  I think not.  I believe we’re all wired one way or another and we just have to work around it if our lives make it impossible for us to live within these “natural” cycles.  But, it’s important to know so that we’ll understand how we function optimally.

I’m a night owl.  It’s now 2:17am and I’m wide awake, happily typing away at my keyboard.  I’ll probably finish this article, go to bed and read for awhile and perhaps fall asleep by 3am and then sleep until about 9am.  And the only reason I don’t sleep longer is that I do have a business that requires my attention during the day.  The good news is that I work from home, and don’t incur travel time.  I can make coffee and be in my office in ten minutes.  I wake up slowly…it’s an effort.  The necessity of taking care of the dog (who doesn’t understand my schedule) gives me the boost I need to get moving in the morning.  Oh, and the effect of coffee is not to be ignored.

I work until about 4:30pm, and then usually take a little nap until about 5 or so.  Then, it’s time to think about dinner. Hubby and I usually spend some time together, outside on the patio or in the pool in warm weather, or we go out for awhile, perhaps a motorcycle ride for a quick bite to eat out somewhere.

At around 8-9pm, I come back into my office, and get the SERIOUS work done.  I love this time at night because the rest of the world can’t bother me, and I get a lot accomplished.  Research, writing, studying…it’s a wonderful time for me.  The hectic pace of daytime business is gone. 

It’s my prime time.

On the other hand, my business partner, Sue, is a morning person.  She also works from home, but she’s out the door for a breakfast meeting somewhere several times a week.  She loves it and thrives on that schedule.  I would lie down and die if I had to be somewhere that early eating breakfast.  Sue and I have enough of an overlap in the middle of the day and early evening that we manage to get things accomplished.  She knows not to call me in the mornings, and I know not to call her after 9:30pm.

I think it’s very important for you to know what your prime time is, and then to adjust your activities around it.  It really irks me that one kind of person is thought of more highly than the other.  Being a night owl, I think I’m a little sensitive to all the comments from people about “the early bird getting the worm” and little sayings like that.  I get snide comments from some folks about why I don’t answer the phone at 8am…jokes about sleeping in, etc.  Where are all my critics tonight while I am working away?

If you find that you are trapped into a situation that requires you to function in a time that is not your prime time, just try to get the bulk of your work done during whatever prime time you have available.  If you are not a morning person, but you work a day job, don’t try to accomplish critical tasks early in the morning.  Save them for the afternoon when you’re more fully alert.  Your morning friends, of course, will have accomplished their more critical tasks early on, and they’ll be fading.

Schedule important meetings during a time when you are at your peak performance. I never schedule appointments during the morning hours.  I know myself well enough to realize that I’ll not be my best until after lunch.

So which are you?  How do you compensate for the differences (if this is the case) in your natural cycle and how you are required to function?

I’d love to hear from you about this.