I will no longer apologize for the fact that I am not a morning person. Since I was very small, I have enjoyed lazy mornings in bed. I wake up not in any way ready to face the day. I get coffee, read a book, check email, but I am not ready to face the world until much later in the morning.
For years, I forced myself to fit the societal mold of the 8-5 trap. My choice of careers had unfortunately led me down that path. First as an accountant, then a child care provider, then back to accountant (sometimes both of those at the same time!). I rose at 6am many a day, crabby, nauseous and tired. I got myself to work, but any task performed prior to 10am would be suspect for errors, other than possibly cooking breakfast. That I seemed to be able to accomplish without much thought.
I am 50 years old and I have tried, sometimes for months or years at a time, to wake up early and be happy about it. I am not happy about it, never was, and never will be. My day starts at 10:00am, and that is ok. I don’t need to apologize for my schedule. It also does not make me lazy as has been inferred by some. I would like to see some morning people keep up the schedule that I do!
Some of it I believe to be nature, and some nurture. My mother is not a morning person either. When I was little she would encourage me to sleep in, so she could too. I did the same thing with my kids and all three have turned out to dislike mornings. The nature part I firmly believe as well. Some of us are born with an internal clock that tells us to wake later and stay up later. I am thinking it might have something to do with the days when SOMEONE needed to ALWAYS be awake to keep us safe from predators. That may be just speculation, but it makes sense to me.
Just this week, I had an appointment at 8:30am. I had a half hour drive to get there, so I dutifully got myself up at 7:45, scrambled through the shower and dressing, making coffee in between things, and got myself out the door at 8:00am. I arrived at my appointment at 8:30 on the dot, with a full cup of coffee down, and my shake in my hand. No, I can’t eat in the morning either, so you will typically find me carrying around some type of protein shake or smoothie for most of the morning.
The person I had the appointment with asked me when I arrived if we could please change our next appointment to 9:30 rather than 8:30. I was more than happy to oblige that request. We chatted a bit, and she said she has a rule to never take clients before 9:30am and had in haste, broken that rule for me. She said she will not do that again, at which point I explained my night person nature and how I totally was in agreement!
It sounded like a good rule to me, and one I am adopting immediately. I will no longer work, see clients or teach a class prior to 10:00am. That is the time I feel human and can begin to function!
If you are a morning person, you are rolling your eyes right now. You are thinking “she could change if she wanted to, it just takes commitment and practice.” I want you to think about it this way. When I am still up, full of energy at 1:00am, cleaning my house, making my lists for the next day, and practicing yoga, would you like me to give you a perky “Wake up! It is the best time of the day!” call? I think not.
To me, late night is the best time of the day. It is when it is quiet and dark. My mind is in a clear state. I can read and comprehend, I can focus on tasks and I am creative. I have my best days when I can get up around 9 or 9:30, which gives me a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep from that time when my body tells me it is time to go to bed.
This tax season, I took a second shift job with Intuit TurboTax as a Tax Advisor. It is the perfect time of day for me, logging on at 3 and out around 11:30pm. The problem is, that the rest of the world operates on that other schedule, so my phone typically starts ringing by 8:00am. Most who know me, wait until 10 or later to call, but many people are not aware of my night owl tendencies.
I have started to turn my ringer off at night so that I am not interrupted in the morning. It has taken me all these years to come to the conclusion that I do not need to be available 24/7. I need to limit my hours to MY hours and work within that timeframe.
One of my biggest issues has been during times when I have had employees who work for me. I typically have had my office at home (or my home above my office), so these people are coming into my space during hours when I need them to work. Most often, I have had employees who worked in the morning, because, as I have been saying, I hate mornings.
I am grateful to have morning people who want to work at 6 or 7am, BUT, if I have them working at that time, it means I don’t want to be bothered. I will not be pleasant in the early morning hours. Please be respectful of my space and time as I am respectful of yours. Making noise, singing, being anything that resembles happy, will just serve to make me angry at that time of day. I suppose again the analogy could be me walking into your space at 1:00am, singing and asking you if you would like a snack and a movie!
I think as a night person, I have always been respectful of morning people. I don’t call them at 1am, I don’t belittle them for waking at 5am in a happy “ready to go” state and I don’t try to force them into my way of life. All I ask in return is the same respect back.
So here it is, 11:00am and I just finishing my morning smoothie and my blog post. I have checked email, showered, washed my dishes and am ready to start my day. No worries, I won’t call you at midnight tonight to see what you are up to, but please don’t ring my phone at 8am tomorrow. It is a two way street!