Morning people claim all it takes to be healthy, wealthy and wise is getting up early. If you rise with the sun, they’ll even throw in a worm. The night owls among us make no such promise. We don’t have to. Spend one morning tucked under the covers while the rest of the world fights for the worm, and you’ll know what we know: The evening is your friend.
But what about productivity and checklists and starting my day off in the best way possible? How will I ever be successful at life if I sleep past 5 a.m.?
Take a deep breath.
If you’re an early riser at heart, go ahead and set your alarm for that terrifying hour. If, however, you’re overwhelmed by book after book, article after article, and pin after pin telling you that the number-one way to have a happy [fill-in-the-blank] is to morph into a morning person, we have a few encouraging words for you:
Embrace the late.
That’s right. It’s time to give up the fight. Sure, you still need to be at work on time. Your kids have to go to school, and church is still a priority. But you don’t have to sacrifice your sanity to stay in the game.
Below, you’ll find four ways to make the most of your nocturnal nature and give early-bird productivity a run for its money.
1. Revel in your newfound freedom.
A recent study by the University of Madrid connects late risers with greater career success, higher incomes, and creative personalities. This calls for a celebration! Stay up late tonight and sleep in tomorrow. As long as you keep your bedtimes and wake times reasonable, there’s no shame in being a night owl.
2. Flip the script.
For morning folks, the best thing about a 5 a.m. alarm is that every else is still asleep. The idea is that you can get so much more accomplished when your task is uninterrupted. You can take advantage of this benefit in the evening by working after your family goes to bed and visiting the gym or coffee shop during non-peak hours.
3. Bookend your day.
Early risers start their day on a positive note—this benefit is undeniable—so you must end yours on one. As you wind down, take a few minutes to reflect on the day. What did you accomplish? Remember that success is not measured solely by dollar signs but also by relationships, use of free time, general chore completion and more.
Then, write down your plans for tomorrow, prioritizing from least to most important. By having your to-dos on paper, you allow your mind to take the night off.
4. Give yourself a cut-off time.
As a night owl, you probably won’t have to stop what you’re doing to get the kids out the door for a soccer game or go to a meeting. You’ve got hours until the sun is up and your presence is required elsewhere. It could be tempting to spend all of those hours honing your craft or enjoying a hobby, but you need sleep!
Decide on a cut-off time and stick to it. Consider setting a nighttime alarm—when it rings, brush your teeth and crawl into bed. That way, when your early-bird spouse or your even-earlier-bird kid accidently wakes you, you’ll be well rested and ready to hit the ground running.
If your body—and, more importantly, your mind—functions better in the evening, you’d best listen to that internal clock. Night owls, as long as you’re living with purpose, you officially have our permission to ignore the masses.