Consulting Lessons Learned 20: Early bird vs. Night owl

Consulting is not a 9-to-5 job. In the end, you will have to choose, whether to get up extra early or staying up late in the evening to complete your daily work package. But what is the best strategy here?

First, these off-peak times are sacred. These 3-5 hours in the morning or evening will be the only time you have for yourself – without constant interruption from new emails or calls. I like to block this time for all tasks, that require my full attention for a longer period of time. Like for example a complex excel analysis.

Second, you are a night owl? Me too. But it can be difficult to follow this approach during the entire week. Think of a typical Monday. I typically have to get up at 5am in the morning to drive to the airport. Working until midnight or later can be quite a challenge on Mondays. At the same time, you don’t want to change your sleep pattern every day, because your inner sleep rhythm will get totally messed up. Also, although I’m a night owl, it can be sometimes difficult to stay concentrated in the evening after a super busy day with the client.

In my experience – no matter whether you are an early bird or night owl – the best rhythm is a mix of both. For example getting up at 6am every morning and trying to go to bed by 11pm. The core target should be continuity. Use the 2 hours in the morning to work on the complex tasks that require a fresh mind. Use the evenings to organize yourself and finish the last important topics of the day.

Categories: Best practices