Night Owl, Morning Bird

“I am both a night owl and a morning bird. So, I am both wise and I have worms.” - Michael Scott, author

“Night Owl” by M.D. Campbell © 2017 All rights reserved.

Meet the Night Owl

I am a night owl. A freak in the dark. Wide eyed and willing, relaxed but intense. I move in sheer silence through a crowded world that lies dormant, sipping tea or hot cocoa, and slipping into a tiny space that holds me tight at 2am. This is when the landscape blurs between full clarity and utter fatigue, merging into a meditative pillow of shadowy creativity where I can explore ideas that were hidden by the light of the day. This is when my mind is allowed to play like a child, while the house is asleep, the clock slowly ticking moving me closer to dawn.

However, that’s all good, but I’ve got four teenagers under my roof that have to be woken up for school. I have a shower to take, lunches to make, clothes to sort, and trash to put out. Then, there’s the driving. Drive to school, drive back home, drive to work in a sea of night owls, all yawning and struggling to make sense of their position in the lane of the road.

Despite the nature of being a night owl, it simply does not pay off to stay up late.

So, what is a night owl to do?

“Bluebird of Happiness” by M.D. Campbell © 2017 All rights reserved.

Meet the Morning Bird

It’s taken me about 30 years to figure out, but what I’ve discovered changed my life completely. It goes against the very nature of being a night owl and yet, maintains the same creative channel I find so appealing in the wee hours of the night. It’s the concept of being a morning bird.

Instead of unplugging my inner clock and resisting all urges to go to sleep at a proper time, I’ve chosen to take an alternate route, that while in contrast to the night owl, still allows me the freedom of moving in silence while the rest of the world is vacant; the ability to hone in on my creativity, often more sharply and precise than in the dark of night; the insight of what I need to do to prepare for the rush of needs put on me by kids, house, work, and life!

I’ve taught myself to go to bed early, around 10-11pm. Because I’m the type of person who only requires 4-6 hours of sleep, normally (sure, there are definitely days where I need more), I am afforded the opportunity to wake up at 4-5am, completely refreshed and ready to go. And because I don’t need to hit the button to wake the rest of the household out of their stasis, like some science fiction movie, I have two solid hours to make coffee and resign myself to that same tight space that holds me tightly, just like at 2am.

But, if you’re a night owl, how can you go to bed early?

Meet Bedtime Incentive Motivation

Where staying up late meant waiting for other people, mostly kids, to go to bed and leave the witching hours to me and my imagination, I found that I can slide into slumber a lot earlier and easier if I provide myself with motivating incentives, to lure myself to go to bed and remember how much I love sleep, sleeping, and being well slept. Some of those motivations are:

  • Snuggle time with my bestie - being close, intimate, or just talking ‘til sleep is sublime!
  • Time with a good book - currently reading a children’s book, “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown
  • A new game - I just started Five Nights at Freddy’s on my iPad. Freaky fun!
  • TV, Netflix, or OnDemand - nothing puts me to sleep faster than a movie! 
  • Doodle time - a pencil, some paper or sketchbook, or a tablet. Doodling is productive therapy!
  • Journal/Plan time - adjusting my calendar, making a plan, to-do lists, or a list of people to thank.
  • Meditation and/or prayer - Resting the body while the heart & mind talk with the universe.

Whatever works to filter stress out of my life, keep my spirit happy by doing things that I love and enjoy, while being able to maintain my commitments to my family, home, and my work, then I’m all in for it.

There’s no need to struggle and juggle, constantly saying, “I’m too busy,” and “I wish I had more time!” We all wish we had more time, especially the older we get. The challenge isn’t finding more time, because we’ll never find it. The secret, instead, is to carve out the time we want, like a figure from a block of stone, and find time in places where we never thought to seek it out.

I hope this was an interesting perspective and may help you to find time you thought was unavailable, to do more of the things you enjoy, to free your spirit for just an hour or two, and live a more productive, happy life.

Cheers and love,