Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Are you a Lark or an Owl?

The vast majority of people are either “Morning types” (or Larks) or “Evening types” (or Owls). This is governed by our own natural body clock and it is not something that we are at liberty to tinker with. You are at your most productive at the beginning of the day or the end of the day. Some jobs obviously suit particular types. Delivering the post or the morning milk is clearly a job for a Morning Type. Working in a nightclub is not!

You need to organise your working day around your type. If you are a Morning type, then plan your main tasks for the beginning of the day. It will be fatal to leave important (but possibly unappealing tasks) until after lunch. The afternoon will arrive, you will look at the task and decide that “as I am a Morning type, I’ll leave this until tomorrow morning.” Taken to its logical conclusion, tomorrow never comes and you can find yourself putting the task off until it is really too late.

If you are an Evening type you should plan those important tasks for later in the day. You should also arrange your meetings at this time when you are your most productive and most alert. Start the day with the routine tasks that don’t require a lot of brainpower. But beware of falling in to the trap of concentrating on the easy (and possibly more enjoyable) tasks throughout the whole day. This may sound simple but just take a moment to think about some of your recent working days. Have you been as productive as you should have been? If not, have you tried to address tasks at the wrong time of the day with predictable outcomes?

If you’re looking or new job, try to uncover the culture of the company that you are considering working for. In order for you to be happy in a new role, the culture of the company has to map to your own. If you're a morning person you will want to arrive at work early. If you find yourself working in a culture where nobody leaves until the boss has gone home in the evening, you may not thrive!
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  1. I think I'm more of a lark. But, as I am a solo mom with a day job and my own business, I often need to be both. I find that I get more physical tasks done early in the morning, but I'm not effective at anything verbal before 8AM. So, I do things like laundry and cleaning in the morning and save the writing and phone calls for the evening.

  2. I'm an owl and would be quite happy to work all through the night. Unfortunately, the family doesn't operate on the same schedule. Hard to make a morning person understand that some people start the day in a fog and pick up steam as the day goes on. They, meanwhile...experience the opposite.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I agree that it's difficult to make a Lark understand that an Owl lives their life to a different rhythm, or vice versa. The important part is recognising the difference and learning to live with it.
    all the best