Making The Most of Your Day

Ben Franklin used to say: “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. Now we know why.

Time magazine recently published a guide to the human’s mental clock, which should help us making better use of our time. The guide was composed based on the two most common human stereotypes: early person and night owl.

Early Person vs Night Owl

Based on this guide, here are the reasons why Ben Franklin statement is scientifically correct despite it was a mere product of conventional wisdom:

  • Early persons have more time for productivity in their mental clock. In average, they have 6.5 hours for problem solving as opposed to 6 hours for the night owls.
  • Big chunks of night owls’ productivity times fall after 6 pm, which means it falls outside “business hours”. If night owls work for employers, that means they have a lot to catch up with the early persons at the end of office day.
  • Early persons have more time for rejuvenation in average and it falls just in time after business hours has passed. Night owls’ rejuvenation time occurs during business hours, which means they won’t be able to use it optimally. This also implies that early persons will have more time to enjoy lives without sacrificing their productivity, whilst the night owls must barter their productive times for one of those fancy, romantic, or family dinner.
  • That 5 straight hours of optimal problem solving time for the night owls that fall between 6-11 pm is making me nervous. Nobody is able to stay productive for 5 hours continously without a break. Distraction will come, you will take a break; if you’re a slow starter, that means most of that 5 hours will be only for getting into the-zone, not staying in-the-zone.
  • Night owls often skip breakfast, which is scientifically proven as the most important meal of the day and the biggest supplier of brain food.

So, if you fall into the category of night owls, switch now to achive more in your life. I’m a night-owl too, and I’m definitely attempting to switch to early person.

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Posted on January 22, 2006, in Non-Sense. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Interesting enough.. though I would like to know more about the scientific proof of it. I know lots of creative people I know got their light bulbs usually during the night *which probably make them fall to the night owl category*, but also due to several other reasons, where most prominently is because the surrounding is relatively more quite, so you could concentrate better. Because during the night usually you are alone, you have more time to ‘talk’ to your inner self’ while trying to solve problems you are facing. Of course, that works perfectly when you are the boss, not when you actually have to clock in and out from 8 to 5…;D

    Oh, also I would like to mention that some small number of people I know are both night owl and early birds: they sleep only 4-5 hours a day, sleep somewhere around 12-1 am and wake up around 6. They are very productive, actually overproductive, because they actually prefer to only have 4-5 hours of sleep so that the time they are awake in this world is 19-20 hours instead of the normal people of 16 hours. I dunno if it’s healthy or not, but man aren’t they productive! *and a sure workoholic*

  2. There’s a field of science called “chronobiology” which studies cyclic phenomena in living organisms. Circadian rhythm is of particular interest concerning the 24 hour cycles of physiological processes, including patterns of brain wave activity. You can Google that for more info. Also, I forgot to mention in the post, that Early Person and Night Owl are the two most common circadian stereotypes, but most individuals shift at time from one category to the other or embody some characteristics of both.

    Productivity isn’t measured by how long you work, but results produced within a certain period of time. When you mentioned workaholic, I’m actually curious if they’re producing more tangible results than people who’re not workaholic but extremely effective during their stay “in-the-zone”. Maybe they need to stay awake 20 hours a day just to catch up with the more effective people.

    Quality is more important than quantity. And IMO, you won’t get quality from 4 hours of sleep, and rest that begins well past midnight wouldn’t help your body and brain either.

  3. Interesting one! 🙂
    May I have the honour to quote your post to my blog?

    Live life to the fullest! Yeayyy

  1. Pingback: The New Old Thing » Blog Archive » Making The Most of Your Day

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