10 Success Secrets for Night Owls
In case you haven't noticed, morning people have become synonymous with successful people. But, a good handful of humans just aren't wired to wake up at the crack of dawn—and feel most of their creative energy at night. Here, 10 successful night owls share how to take advantage of a burn-the-midnight-oil routine.
The Night Owl: Julie Greenbaum, co-founder and chief revenue officer of Fuck Cancer
Success Secret: “My nighttime routine reflects most people’s morning routine—I work out, then spend a few hours at my desk—writing e-mails, planning out my to-do list for the following day, etc. Knowing I have the majority of the workday behind me makes me feel less stressed, and allows me to focus more efficiently on the tasks at-hand. I just try to find a replacement drink for coffee later in the day—like water—so that I can still get a good night’s sleep.“
The Night Owls: Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, co-founders of Sakara Life
Success Secret: “As best friends, we grew up spending late nights together—first during sleepovers as kids, then dancing the night away in college, and now, as co-founders, we use our nights to unlock creative ideas and propel our business forward. One piece of advice: work at a counter or standing desk. If your body is too relaxed in a chair or on a couch, it’s likely that you’ll get tired, and staying up will become counterproductive."
The Night Owl: Elizabeth Chambers, co-owner of BIRD Bakery and chief correspondent for the Human Rights Foundation
Success Secret: “I’m not sure that I’ve ever had an ‘aha moment’ before noon! Whether it’s for an upcoming event at the bakery or a new marketing plan, I’m most creative and do my best problem solving at night. But no matter what, make it a rule to go to sleep before the sun comes up. There are few things as unsettling as watching the sun rise on a Tuesday when you haven’t slept and have a full day ahead."
The Night Owl: Maren Donovan, CEO of Zirtual
Success Secret: “Working at night allows me to work more efficiently. Recently, I had a huge project on my plate—I estimated it would take about 3.5 hours—but I wasn’t able to touch it during the day because so many last-minute demands kept flooding my inbox. Finally, once everyone had signed off for the day, I finished it in less than an hour. My secret: I wear exercise clothing while working at night because it’s simple and comfortable, which makes for a no-fuss experience while I’m concentrating.“
The Night Owl: Liz Wessel, co-founder and CEO of Campus Job
Success Secret: “Being a night owl allows me to have more alone-time in the office. I can respond to e-mails and not worry about people replying right away, filling my inbox right back up, and chug through other things I’ve wanted to get done all day. Plus, I love the white noise—my workspace always sounds so peaceful when everyone else is gone."
The Night Owl: Lindsay Lopez, founder of FORM Pilates
Success Secret: “My nighttime routine includes picking up groceries on the way home and cooking myself a delicious dinner. It’s those nights, in the kitchen chopping vegetables, that amazing ideas or solutions come floating into my relaxed brain. For example, I was making vegetarian lasagna at 10 p.m. one night when I came up with an entirely new way to structure my studio.”
The Night Owl: Mia Redrick, life coach and author of Time for Mom-me
Success Secret: “When working at night, choose the projects that invigorate you and get your creativity flowing. I wrote my book between 9:00 pm – 1:00 am. It excited me to come home at night and work on a project that meant a lot to me. Plus, I needed consistent peace and quiet to get the job done!”
The Night Owl: Melody McCloskey, co-founder and CEO of StyleSeat
Success Secret: “I do more brain-intensive activities (planning and strategy, thinking up crazy ideas, etc.) between 8 and 10 p.m. That way, instead of feeling pressure to make a rash decision and move onto the next thing, I find myself able to sleep on certain problems—many times the answer will come to me overnight. What helps: I keep a notebook next to my bed so I can jot down thoughts and remember them in the morning.“
The Night Owl: Hannah Hooper, LA-based musician and Volcom Collaborating Artist
Success Secret: “Everything I have ever made—whether it’s music or artwork—exists because I was able to work without being interrupted. When I was living in NYC, I used to walk to my painting studio well after midnight because I knew my studio-mates wouldn’t be there. Because I had total privacy, I felt free to create. I could dip my arms into buckets of paint without having to feel insecure about how weird I must look. That said, nobody can work all night, wake up the next morning and really seize the day. So, if I get inspired and stay up super-late, I give myself permission to respectfully cancel any non-essential plans I’ve made for the next day, and catch up on sleep instead.“