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The Perks of Being a Night Owl

November 30, 2012

If there is one thing I’ve learned from a year of being self-employed, it is that I do not enjoy adhering to a strict 9-5 schedule.  For that matter, I don’t like working 10-6, 11-7, or any other 8 hour block that requires me to be up and at ’em before lunch.   Not to say that it can’t be done, as I have my fair share of early mornings in a suit and tie.  But I’m of the belief that any man who routinely goes to sleep on the same calendar day that he woke up lacks fortitude and variety.  Hence, a normal day for me looks like this:

-Wake at around 10, check emails, watch the news, eat breakfast.

-Settle in at the computer around 11:30, return phone calls from people that called around 9 (the nerve), and get to work.

-Work until around 5, relax for a couple of hours, get a workout in, and settle back into work/research for a few hours.

This is where it really gets interesting.  At this point, I’ve put in about 5 hours of work or research.  One of the cool things about my job, at this stage at least, is that I’m still in a constant position to learn.  I strongly believe that reading, and reading alone, is the purest form of hard work.  Pure immersion into the literature of my profession has done more for me in a year than 22 years of education ever did, and that’s no lie.  So this research to me is the most rewarding work I do, and it makes me far more efficient when I’m billing hours or working on projects.  Honestly, something I’ve come to learn since college is that the average American work day is total BS.  People go in, they mess around for 3 hours, they go to lunch, then cram in whatever work they have before the clock runs out at 5.  We spend a ridiculous amount of time returning stupid emails or brainstorming on irrelevant projects in an attempt to mask fatigue or indifference.  I know because I lived   it, and hated it.Now, I know not everyone is in a position to set their own schedule and not everyone wants to start their own business. It’s a headache, real talk. And not every person on the 9-5 is wasting away. My dad owns his own business and he goes in at 8 and leaves at 6, and he legitimately works a full day. He then goes home and shuts it down. But this is rare, and he loves his work.  Far more people get caught up in all the garbage distractions that hinder us from productivity, and I just couldn’t do that anymore.    So when I go to work, albeit a little late, I GO TO WORK. I get things done, and I’m only on that traditional clock for about 5 hours.  After that, the barrage of follow up emails and pointless phone calls stops, and I get in a zone.

From about midnight to 3 AM is where I absolutely crush it.  I’ve even implemented a late-night workout to supplement my earlier workouts.  Is a dude doing CrossFit in his front yard at 1 AM in 35 degree weather crazy? Yeah, probably.  but my cell is not going off and the landlord isn’t coming by and the dog is asleep, so there are zero distractions.  During this time frame, I zip through books, hit new projects hard, take my best notes, and read the blogs or articles that I missed during the day.  It’s pure productivity.  Unadulterated growth of my business simply because no one can piss me off or get me off track.  I know this won’t work for everyone, but for those of you that make your own schedules or work from home, consider it.  Altering the time I work has greatly changed how good my work is.  You won’t see me at Starbucks at 7:30 or stuck in rush hour traffic, but I’m okay with that.  As long as I keep seeing results, I’m okay with being the weird guy in pajamas at lunch.

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