Nocturnal Editions: Working at Night

A familiar scene around here is that I rise and after puttering around for a bit I glance at the time and it’s somewhere around 10:40pm. A decent 4 hour nap, not too shabby. From there on I’m up, working, writing, crafting… what have you until sometime the next day in the late afternoon, when I curl up and sleep for another 4-5 hours. Sometimes I go back to sleep after a few hours of working.  It’s not necessarily by choice that my sleeping habits are like this or are they like this every night, but it happens frequently enough. I blame my insomnia, but I’ve grown to be used to it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a night person with some pretty screwed up sleeping habits.

I don’t necessarily hate my insomnia or the way it’s warped my sleeping habits. Sometimes it gets in the way if I have a full day and I just can’t get to sleep, but now that I’ve gotten used to it and figured out how to make it work for me, it’s actually a great way to get a lot done, particularly my freelance work. There are quite a few benefits to working at night:

The Stars: I’m a sucker for all things celestial; hell, I have stars tattooed on me. I’m also lucky enough to live in an area where there isn’t a lot of light to block them out. Sometimes when I need inspiration, I just go walk outside and sit underneath the stars for a while.

The Silence and Isolation: The distractions of working during the day can be so overwhelming it’s almost impossible to get anything done. By working at night, my phone isn’t ringing off the hook, no visitors, no email notifications. I’m disconnected from everyone else. Just me and Mynx. I’m in control of being able to control the quiet. If I want some music fine, but sometimes just listening to nothing is great for me. The silence brings out a sense of peace, creativity and a rush of ideas.

The Focus: Piggybacking on the previous point, without having to worry about other people and the distractions that come with them and day to day life, I’m able to really just pay attention to what I’m doing and get it done. I’m present in the now and can put a focused effort into one project at a time.

The Snacks: Ok, call me a glutton, but sometimes the late night snacks are the best. I feel freer to be a little piggy sometimes when I’m the only one up.

The Temperature. Living in New Orleans, the heat gets pretty serious. Having to go out in the daytime is almost a challenge of the will and endurance. At night, I can crack my window and enjoy the feel of a New Orleans evening.

The Convenience.  By finding 24-hour grocery stores and pharmacies, I can take care of errands like quick store runs, filling up my car with gas, grocery shopping easily and very quickly. Usually these places have no lines when I’m out and about at night. Also, you don’t have to get really dressed up. I mean, will anyone really blame you for going shopping in your yoga pants and a t-shirt at 2 am? Just make sure to be safe and remain aware of your surroundings if you have to put a lot of things in your car.

The Strategizing. When I’m planning my to do list for the next day, it’s helpful to me to do it while I work during the night. I’m easily able to incorporate things that weren’t able to get done and re-prioritize other tasks along the way. Instead of being stuck in a forward thinking ‘what do I have to do TODAY’ mindset, and potentially overloading myself in one day I can take into account more of what needs to be done and tailor it to the appropriate day.

There are days when I absolutely have to be up during the day but I find myself fighting with lines and traffic. Blah. My hat goes off to you 9-5’rs who are in that every day.

So in the great scheme of things, when are you most productive? Are you an morning lark or a night owl?

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