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Dear Morning People, I Disagree.

You want to know when I get most of my work on the blog (and reading) done? Between 8-11 p.m. That’s night time, if you’re keeping score at home.

You see, there’s a myth out there—and it’s been floating around for centuries thanks, partially, to Ben Franklin—that in order to be successful in life, you have to be a morning person. Recently, people I respect, like Michael Hyatt, have written about it.

Other people, like Jon Acuff, have started what’s called “The 5 Club” built around people who get up at 5 a.m and do “awesome” things. This guy is just one of the many people who have written a book on the topic.

If you’re not a morning person, you’re left believing that you have to change your DNA and be like these people if you want to be successful, or you just have to accept a life of mediocrity, of being average, of being the third-string quarterback on the football team.

But I don’t buy it. I’ve never bought it. And, finally, we have research that doesn’t buy it either. The London School of Economics recently published research that said night owls may be more successful, and better thinkers, than morning people.

This Yahoo article talks about the research and cites a lot of examples of extremely successful night owls, like Winston Churchill, Gustave Flaubert, W.H. Auden, James Joyce and even President Obama. It walks you through a night owl’s routine and why their thought process works for them.

So why does this matter?

If you’re a blogger or a writer, ideally, you’re working on your craft during a time in which you function the best. Many writers and creatives are night owls, and I think we’ve been beaten over the head with this notion that we have to change who we are in order to be more successful at our craft.

That’s crap. I’ve tried getting up early to write, and my experiences sucked. It felt like I was trying to drive a car after taking two Benadryl.

In the morning, my brain focuses on just getting from point A to point B. I think linearly. In the evening, my brain is creative and able to think more clearly. If I had to make all my major life decisions before 8 a.m., I would be living on the street under a bridge in Vegas.

If you think better at night, then write at night. You don’t have to get up at 5 a.m. in a mindfog to do what you love. And, look, if it takes coffee or bright lights to “turn you into a morning person,” then you’re not really a morning person. That’s about your environment, which is something you can adjust any time of the day.

In defense of the morning people who beat this drum, they push the idea because they believe you’re more alert and focused in the morning. Your daytime hours are filled with kids and family and work, so they suggest getting up and moving before the pressure of the day hits you.

That approach just doesn’t work for a true night owl, though. For me, married with two kids and a full-time job, I get all of my blogging and reading done late at night after everyone’s in bed. It’s relaxation, not work.

To me, there’s nothing better than drinking a beer while writing a blog post late at night before I go to bed. My mind is in a creative place at night that I simply can’t recreate at 5 a.m.

So if you’re a blogger or a writer, or anyone really, and you’ve been told over and over and over again that you need to start getting up at 4:30 a.m. to do your job well, don’t buy it. My guess is that you’re a lot like me.

And there’s nothing wrong with being a night owl. Embrace it. You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole, no matter what those perky morning people tell you.

And if it’s good enough for Winston Churchill, then I think it’s good enough for you.

More about the research here. 

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63 Comments Post a comment
  1. Maybe try drinking that beer at a quarter til 6 am and see if you become a morning person.

    I’ll save some sunrise for you.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
    • Man, that’s even too early for tailgating in the SEC.

      Like

      November 15, 2013
  2. Matt #

    Thank you for this. I got no problem with morning people but why they got to try and convert us? I get just as much done at night as you do in the morning.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  3. Emily paul #

    This was exactly a kind of message which I always wanted to say my people who blame me for being a night owl.. Thank you for the wonderful and encouraging post.. happy that i found a soul of my kind.. 🙂

    Like

    November 15, 2013
    • You’re welcome! It’s frustrating when people want you to change something that’s already successful for you.

      Like

      November 15, 2013
      • Emily paul #

        True!! And the most happiest part of all is seeing a night owl like you being successful in what you do… That brings more courage.. 🙂

        Like

        November 15, 2013
  4. I hear ya! I’m not a morning person. At all. I have to get up early enough to get ready for work let alone add in time for write. So it’s evening/night writing for me.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  5. We are what we are. Don’t force it. Let it comes naturally. If the morning invigorates us, so be it. If the night inspires us, embrace it.
    For me my best time are mostly 10 pm to 12 midnight. And if it is raining which is often where I stay – that is when the juice really flows 🙂

    Like

    November 15, 2013
    • Yep. Let’s just accept that our creativity comes out in different ways and at different times.

      Like

      November 15, 2013
  6. Reblogueó esto en LILIA RIVERA.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  7. Republicou isso em Curiosidades na internete comentado:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  8. Gosh! My brain shuts down around 6 p.m. I gotta get up and go early.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  9. RC #

    Reblogged this on cogitations: think twice before u click. . . ..

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  10. Hah, this is research I can totally get on board with – I’m a night person, for sure. And I always feel sort of guilty when I hear about people who accomplish a TON of stuff before I’ve even had my coffee, but I guess I shouldn’t!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  11. I am not a morning person either! A person I teach with always says, “The early bird gets the worm.” Sadly, I don’t think I could find the worm anytime before 9 a.m.! Great post – and it makes me feel better about being the night owl I am. 😉

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  12. I found out I was a night person early and embraced it. It’s helped me crank out a lot of good work.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  13. Amen, fellow night owl!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  14. Denise #

    I’m a night owl by nature and a morning person by force. I’ve been forcing my mornings for so long now, I’ve almost forgotten I’m a night owl. Out of necessity I go to be early, to get up early, because I work early and then I have school in the evenings. One day I’ll have a job where I can sleep in until 9 and stay up until midnight or later and I can’t wait!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
    • Haha, yes. I think a lot of night owls are the same way. I have to be at work at 7, but I schedule my day to where I’m not doing the heavy creative thinking until 9ish.

      Like

      November 15, 2013
  15. Yes! That’s me and my husband and our son. You won’t find us getting up at the crack of dawn to do anything. Not even go to the airport because we can’t function well the rest of the day. Perfect description of what it feels like to get up early and write—driving a car after taking two Benadryl. Nice post!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  16. Oh, and I love the pic of the boy. Hilarious!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  17. Man, I am so with you on this. The only way I like to see sunrise is if I am going to bed. Not too long ago I posted a blog about the same exact thing called Taking a Stand. http://unclebardie.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/taking-a-stand/

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  18. Tyler #

    You work for Dave Ramsey right? What happened with Jon Acuff?

    Like

    November 15, 2013
    • Jon resigned and moved on to browner pastures.

      Like

      November 15, 2013
  19. I love this! Especially because this morning I tried to set my alarm an hour earlier to get stuff done. My thought was that if I did laundry and emptied the dishes before work I’d have more time to write when I got home from work. In reality, my arm got a work out hitting the snooze button, I got up at the same time I do every morning, wasted twenty minutes trying to find a container to put my coffee in to take to work with me and got kicked off “Team Morning” by my 6 year old.

    Never again.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  20. thanks so much for writing this. I’ve never been a morning person, and have been called lazy, grumpy, and unproductive because of it. My golden hours are from 7-10 pm. Which is fine!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  21. Danielle #

    As a morning person, I’ve never understood why anyone would try to “convert” someone else into being a morning person. I like being up and productive in the morning, usually because most other people around me are still struggling to wake up. If you’re a night person, kudos! I would love to have the ability to stay up later to do, well, anything! I’m always so sleepy by 10 p.m.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  22. You know, you’ve hit a golden arguing point.

    I might have found a way to disagree with you. But Winston Churchill? Nope. If it’s good enough for Winston Churchill, it’s good enough for me.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  23. I have actually found that the majority of creative people, (writers, artists, etc.) are night owls. My classmates and I in college would talk about how we couldn’t write a decent paper unless it was 11:00 PM the night before the paper was due 🙂

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  24. Couldn’t agree more 🙂

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  25. I’ve tried multiple times to turn myself into a morning person, but I inevitably slip back into my night owl ways. It’s nice to have some science to back my choices up.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  26. I come from a whole family of night owls. At midnight, Dad would say, “Right, who’d like to watch a video?” (This was when we were grown up, of course. As children, we were always sent to bed early). People think it odd that I like to stay up until about 1.30am or even later. The older I get, the more I hate mornings, too. I never understand why work often has to start at 9am or even earlier. I’m a university lecturer, and sometimes my lectures are scheduled for 9am, which means I have to leave home at 7.30am. This is definitely not the best time for teaching or learning, in my experience. My best writing time is in the afternoon, from 1pm-5pm. but I took up painting a few years ago, and I like to do my art in the evenings. I start at 6pm and dabble away until about 11pm, with the TV on so I can still watch my favourite programs.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
    • I like to ignore time altogether at times. Not sure if I have specific writing times? Now painting . . nope . . no. ~ I would love to see one of your lectures. They sound very interesting. Thanks

      Like

      November 16, 2013
  27. This is so true! You gotta embrace who you are creatively. I like having all my thoughts from the day swimming around in my head as I write.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  28. Allie #

    This is fantastic. My husband jokes that I get out of bed at 6 am but don’t wake up till 9 am. I do my best writing in the afternoon (if I’m really energetic) or at night. I’m a little weird though because I do tend to get out of bed early without an alarm clock. (I blame having to get up at 5 am for several years to open my cafe – it clearly warped my clock.) I think the best time to be creative is when it works for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 am, noon, 5 pm or or midnight.

    I think part of why the idea people think that you have to be an ‘early bird’ is because for so long people worked when the sun was up and getting up early got more done. Of course that’s not the case for the true creative minds – creativity has never succumbed to the constraints of time.

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  29. Amy #

    I agree. I’ve always been a night owl. Though I have recently learned the value of getting up somewhat early so I can have a cup of coffee before my kids get up. It makes my day so much better!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  30. Love this post! I have always been an early bird. I made my way through grad school by getting up and 4 am and reading and writing. I still do my best work in the morning and I savor the early morning hours. My husband, on the other hand, received his nickname “the night crawler” in college. His creativity soars from about 11 pm until 2 pm. We accept each other and have never tried to change the other to succeed with a different schedule. I LOVE the photograph!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  31. I meant 2 am!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  32. True Man, there is enough research to suggest that not all human being achieve their peak brain activity in the morning and that it varies from person to person!

    Like

    November 15, 2013
  33. Chynna Ashley #

    This. Just everything about this post. The only things I think about in the morning are whether I’m going to catch my train on time let alone how I can develop my characters more.

    Like

    November 16, 2013
  34. I love the picture accompanying this article, because it captures the true meaning of being tired when you wake up. I think my most creative work is at night, when there’s no pressure to get up and greet the day.

    Like

    November 16, 2013
  35. Kudos to you! “To thine own self be true!” And this is from a “Morning Person!”🌻 Although lately I am finding myself most energized between 3am and 4am so does that make me a late night person or a real early morning person??!! Truth is it makes me a person with insomnia!!! 😯💤💤💤 LOL!

    Like

    November 17, 2013
  36. Reblogged this on areyouready2day's Blog.

    Like

    November 17, 2013
  37. hmmmmm I was ever a night owl… there was a time whenI could be so productive when the household had settled into sleep. However, now that I’m somewhat older I find I run out of steam as the evening winds down. Time is draconian. I need another strategy.

    Like

    November 17, 2013
  38. Media_Dog #

    why not just become a “whenever I feel like it” person. Try not to pigeon hole yourself, BE yourself…within the constraints of your other commitments

    Like

    November 17, 2013
  39. The photo is hilarious! Your post is spot on. Once I figured out my best times for reading and writing I was able to accomplish so much more.

    Like

    November 18, 2013
  40. I completely understand not being able to get up early and get writing done. Some people can do it, I’m not one of them. At night is when my creative juices start flowing and I can write better things. We don’t have to succumb to the notion that we need to be up at the crack of dawn to be functional and show progress. We night owls will do just fine.

    Like

    November 18, 2013
  41. I’m a night writer as well. If I try and write in the morning all I can think about are the things I have to get done that day. It’s how I unwind and relax at night.

    Like

    November 20, 2013
  42. I’m with you. I’ve worked a 2-ish to midnight-ish schedule for years now, and have always embraced night hours. And since work is design and writing, it’s clearly become when my mind says, “oh, hey, time to create.” I don’t love that there’s even a distinction between “morning” vs “evening” people. It’s about finding a time that you click in, be it noon or 2 a.m. If that’s when your brain flourishes, that’s wonderful, and more power to you for finding that.

    Like

    November 20, 2013
  43. Night owl here! Anywhere between 11pm-3am my brain wakes up no matter how much sleep I had the nigh before and there is no way I can sleep. It wants me to go do really exciting things and be way more productive than it does in the day. Day time brain is like “Go back to bed your not ready yet.”

    Like

    November 26, 2013
  44. Robert,

    Thank you for writing this post! It’s frustrating to always read that in order to be successful at anything, you have to be a morning person. As you know, some of us just aren’t wired that way. Now I know someone else who will be working alongside me during that timeframe. It’s always nice to meet a fellow night owl.

    Cheers,
    Jaime

    Like

    December 6, 2013
    • Absolutely. There’s nothing wrong with being a night owl!

      Like

      December 6, 2013
  45. Hi.

    You just acquired a new fan! I was reading the post of yours featured in today’s Freshly Pressed (Feb. 14, 2014), so of course had to immediately jump to see the rant that started it all. Thank you!

    I despise mornings, always have and always will. And honestly, short of barricading myself into magical self-cleaning, self-sustaining bubble that also provides everything I could possibly ever need, the wee hours of morning when even the pets are sleeping, is the ONLY time I have EVER been left completely alone with my own thoughts. It’s been at way my entire life.

    Even now that my health has taken me out of the workforce for good, the kids are gone and during the day it’s just me and the furballs, I still think and physically feel best between midnight and dawn. It’s when the rest of the world is sleeping, or as I like to say, when they all shut the hell up!

    No need to worry about the phone ringing, people knocking on the door, the neighbour kids screaming or all the other noise the waking world assaults my ears with. Those precious few hours are when I can truly relax. Read or write without fear of constant interruptions. And I love it. (Not so much when my insomnia is on a bender for days on end, but we won’t go there. 😉 )

    Wordsgood

    Like

    February 13, 2014
  46. A9 #

    Great post! I couldn’t agree more! As a night owl, I also get my stuff done once everyone’s sleeping or minding their business, it’s relaxing indeed

    Like

    February 13, 2014
  47. Reblogged this on freespiritroaming.

    Like

    March 13, 2015

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