After being in denial for the past year, I may not be a morning person anymore, but I’m still striving to be productive during the day. It all started when we bought our first house last summer. I furnished my new bedroom and got some blackout shades for the window.
Those things really do work – especially when you want to sleep in! Seriously though, over time I’ve slowly shifted from being a morning person to not being a morning person. This has lead me to wonder, do you really have to be a morning person to be productive during the day?
I do believe that waking up earlier has a ton of perks. Still, doing this is harder for some people and trying to force yourself could very well backfire. The advice I’m going to offer in this post will be a bit different from other articles I’ve written on this topic.
That’s because this is geared toward those of you who really feel like you have more energy and motivation in the late morning or afternoon. Here are a few key areas you’ll want to focus on to still have a productive day.
Although there’s a specific definition for the word productive, we all define being productive in our own way. As someone who once swore by mornings in the past, I often believed that productive meant getting up early and knocking out as much as you could before 3 pm.
That way, you could have the rest of the day to relax, take care of your personal business, spend time with your kids, etc. Truth is, not everyone’s life works like that. Some people find that they’d rather tackle projects during the evening or late at night when the feel most motivated.
I used to be set on getting as much work done as possible before my son got back from school around 3 pm. Since he’s a bit older, I find that he is pretty independent when it comes to doing his homework and likes to have free time on his own for an hour or two after school.
Suddenly, you start to realize that being productive doesn’t just relate to work. It’s all about using the time you have wisely and strategically. Once you redefine what productive means to you, you may find that doing tasks like making phone calls, having meetings, running errands, picking up around your home or office, or prepping dinner are all productive tasks you can do even before you tackle work for the day.
Creating a New Morning Routine
If you’re not a morning person but still want to be productive during the day, you’ll need to create a new morning routine. Be realistic with yourself. If you know you’re not going to jump out of bed and meditate at 5 am, don’t add that to your morning routine.
I recommend creating a morning routine that meets your needs and preferences. Some people like to lay in bed for a few extra minutes or maybe you can even read from bed to help you wake up properly.
You can also start your day with a non work-related task so you can still accomplish something even if you do’t feel ‘on’ right away. When you’re self-employed you have the freedom to create a flexible morning routine that really helps you thrive so the choice is up to you.
Scheduling Your Day
Once you are set on your morning routine, start scheduling out your days in advance. Even if you’re a night owl and will do the majority of your work later in the day, you still need to have a specific schedule to follow during the day.
I typically work from home and work around 5-6 hours per day. That represents the time I’m actually being productive. My situation has changed over time and I’ve found myself working more of a split shift. With my husband is currently in school and working nights sometimes, I often find myself knocking out work at night after I put my son to bed.
The new schedule I’m considering looks somewhat like this:
7 am – Wake up. Read from bed for 15-20 minutes then get dressed and help make sure my son has everything he needs for school.
7:45 am – Drop my son off at school.
8 am – Go to a class at the gym
9 – 11 am – Run errands, do follow ups/check emails, pick up around the house, cook or prep dinner. These tasks warm me up for the day but sometimes I get done with these things earlier and jump into work.
11 am – 2:30 pm – Work and break for a quick lunch some time in between.
2:45 pm – Leave to pick my son up from the bus stop.
3 pm – 5 pm – Focus on another work-related task while my son reads independent, does his homework, and has free time.
5:30 pm – By this time my husband is home and we warm up dinner
6 pm – 8 pm – Family time, relaxing or going somewhere with the family
8 pm – 10 pm – I make sure my son showers and gets off to bed around 8 pm. Then I usually work again for a few hours especially if my husband is at a night class or working for the night.
10:30 pm – 11 pm – Wrap up work and head to bed.
If you’re not a morning person, you’re going to have to still stick to a schedule throughout the day and maximize your evenings. I often feel some motivation and energy to work on creative projects around 8 pm most nights so I eliminate distractions and use that time wisely.
Be sure to time block your schedule and specify what you want to accomplish in that time. That way, you won’t have to worry about staying up too late to finish a project and losing sleep.
Ultimately, you can still be productive during the day no matter what time you wake up. Yes, if you sleep in later you will lose precious hours of you day that you could have spent working or doing another task.
However, if you dread waking up early, who’s to say that you’ll even be motivated to get anything done. If you’ve tried to stick to a typical 9-5 work schedule and find yourself often distracted and procrastinating, consider changing your schedule to something more flexible.
Commit to trying out the new schedule for a few weeks to see how and if things approve.
Do you consider yourself a morning or night person and why? Have you created a morning routine and how do you set yourself up for success every day?
Choncé Maddox is a professional writer who recently left her job in the web design industry to produce killer content and manage her own writing business full time. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs be more productive and create a life they love by doing fulfilling work. On the side, she runs a podcast and blogs about getting out of debt at MyDebtEpiphany.com.