The Big Debate: Early birds vs night owls
Is it better to be an early bird or a night owl? Andy Richardson and Heather Large battle it out...
Andy Richardson – On fire with an early start
Here’s the thing. We start the day with the best of intentions. We’ll complete a to-do list, tick stuff off and by the end of the day we’ll be pretty much up to date. Except that’s not how life works. We get to our desks and are greeted by a tsunami of emails. Then the phone starts ringing. Then someone doesn’t do what they said they would so we have to step up to the plate. And then, by 3pm, we’ve cleared the back log and it’s time to start the stuff we should have been doing at 9am. Except now we’ve got two hours to wrap up eight hours work. Or something like that.
There is a solution. And it’s this: get up earlier. Early starts are great. Apart from a few workaholic loons – yup, that’s me – there’s no one else about. So if you start your work at, say, 6am, or even 7am, you can be through the emails and onto the proper stuff before anyone else is awake. There are fewer distractions, the day’s at its best, the sun’s gently rising and there’s a world of possibility. You’re more productive, too. And that means you can finish earlier and not feel guilty – or work to the same time then go steady when it comes to the end of the week.
It's genetic, of course. Being either a night owl or an early bird is all about the way we’re programmed. Given the choice between the two, I’m all about an early start.
Heather Large - More productive at night
I’ve never been a morning person. It’s such a well-known fact that when I was a teenager, I received a t-shirt with a sleeping cat and the phrase “I don’t do mornings” across the front.
I don’t like getting up early, but I can do it when I need to. But I’ll need a few cups of coffee before I feel fully awake and ready to start my day.
When I was a university student I found that I could be more productive and feel more focussed when working later into the night.
But, while I’m definitely not an early bird, I don’t think I can say that I’m a fully fledged night owl either.
As I’ve got older, it’s become harder to stay up late, anything past 11pm and I struggle to get up the next day. But I do manage to pack a lot of admin and household tasks in towards the end of the day, before it’s time to go to bed.
I do sometimes think it would be better to get up early and get everything on my to-do list ticked off but I know realistically it’s never going to happen.
As my colleague Andy says, it’s all down to our genes. Some people are natural early risers and love mornings while others are born with the ability to stay up late and get things done while early birds are resting.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. I’m probably somewhere in between in the early bird and night owl – regular robin maybe?