One of the most important lessons I’ve learned since being out on my own: Listen to your body clock. I’m a night owl, always have been, and I’m finally harnessing that.
The world is made for morning people. School required me to wake up far earlier than I wanted to. (I lived on school grounds in high school, so I usually rolled out of bed 15 minutes before class, power showered, and stumbled to class.
Since I’ve been listening to my body and working when my brain is most on fire, I’ve seen drastic differences in my productivity and creativity.
My last job was about as flexible as a full-time gig could be. But because everyone else (co-workers, clients) are working 8-5, I conformed. I could have adapted my schedule, but I felt obligated to be on when others were.
Now that I’m 100% on my own schedule, I’m finding what works for me.
Here’s a “normal” day:
- Wake up around 8:30 or 9
- Shower, eat breakfast, watch crappy daytime TV
- Head up to my office whenever I feel like (10 a.m. is pretty standard)
- Lunch at 2 or 3 p.m.
- Maybe head back upstairs to work, maybe take a nap
- Have dinner around 7 or 8 p.m. and watch some TV
- Crush some work until midnight or 1 a.m.
- No weekend meetings (working is fine, but no meetings)
- If I’m up working later than usual (don’t want to ruin that flow), I sleep in to make up for it
- Always set an alarm; no need to sleep until noon, no matter how amazing that sounds
- Do the bedtime routine (with Violet, of course) and don’t leave bed once I’m in it
- Document ideas on paper (not my phone) when they come to me as I’m falling asleep
This type of schedule doesn’t work for most people. Probably because most people have families and other responsibilities. I don’t. Most people also don’t have the level of flexibility I have.
If you do have the flexibility to play with your schedule, listen to your body. When does it want to wake up? When does it want to go to bed? When are you most focused?
I’ve learned a lot since listening to my own body and optimizing my mind.