Being a Night Owl at Its Best Means Productivity, At Its Worst Means Remorse

Disclosure: As a member of a very cool team of influencers for Verizon Wireless, I received compensation to think of this story in my life and write about it as part of the #SwitchersRemorse campaign.

BANG, BANG, BANG! “Time to wake up! You HAVE to go to school,” my dad would yell to me from my bedroom doorway as he banged on my wall at 7 a.m. (after several much more loving attempts to get me out of bed). At this point, I would drag myself from my bed to my bathroom to start the shower without ever actually opening my eyes completely.  If my dad was having to bang on the wall to wake me up, I knew that I had over-overslept and it was most likely from staying up too late.

I’m a night owl, queridos. You may have suspected if you follow my social media channels. I’ve seen some of you tweeting and instagramming late at night.

The first night I logged on to Twitter in 2010 and even more recently Periscope last month, I didn’t logoff until well past 4 a.m. When I discovered House of Cards on Netflix, I stayed awake until at least 4 a.m. My husband opened the door to my kids’ room where I was sitting on the floor cross-legged in front of the TV with a bowl of ramen noodles. I sheepishly turned to look at him and his only response was, “I’m married to a college student.”

CARPE NOCTEM Seize the night - Night Owl Remorse or Productivity - Que Means What

Since at least my years in high school, I have claimed to be a night owl and have quite loved that label and lifestyle. At its best, being a night owl can prove to be productive  because at night is when my creative juices are flowing. Today, when the house is quiet, I can ‘get in the zone’ and focus on work. I’ve written four blog posts in one night and I’ve done that on multiple occasions. They weren’t even all due the next day. The minimal coding that I know is because I taught myself late at night. Most picture editing happens at night, too. If I knew that I wouldn’t wake up my sleeping family, I’d also do all of my house cleaning at night.

Being a night owl at its worse, leads to remorse the next day when I’ve stayed up too late with extremely non-productive activities like binge-watching reality TV and Lifetime movies or scrolling through social media but not engaging. I’d like to say that before kids, this wasn’t an issue because I could sleep in. The truth is that I’ve had a job since I was 16. So even before kids, if I stayed up too late, I like had to work or school the next day. Without enough quality sleep, I suffer. My work suffers, my relationships suffer, my potential suffers. I’ve missed deadlines because while I stayed awake all night to finish the project, I missed details that I didn’t catch until morning. By then, it was too late. I’ve jeopardized relationships because I committed to being somewhere and due to my late night, I missed the early morning appointment.

This story does not end with a “How Not to Have Night Owl’s Remorse” checklist. The only thing on it would read GO TO BED EARLIER. I still struggle. I do work better late at night. This I know. What I have learned is to recognize when I’m pushing myself too far. I evaluate the situation and choose to either stop and get some sleep or risk the consequences, which may include remorse, and make it an all-nighter. I stayed up late last night working on a social media project. However, I did not allow myself to stay up all night to write the post. I went to bed so that I would be ready for my early morning appointment and I was. I re-adjusted today’s schedule to make time to finish this blog post during the day.

I’ve often wondered if one can change from a night owl to an early bird. I’ve yet to meet someone who has actually metamorphosized. Instead of dwelling on this, I choose to give myself some compassion. When I do make those all-nighter mistakes, I forgive myself and move on. When the all-nighter wasn’t a mistake and actually results in a win, I pour myself and extra cup of coffee and celebrate!

This is a paid post for Verizon’s #SwitchersRemorse campaign. If you switched away from Verizon and are regretting it, don’t worry. They’re making it easy for customers to come back. For more information, head over to your local Verizon store.