When You’re Your Best

I remember days in college when my roommates would get up, make coffee, and take showers to get ready for their 8 a.m. class and I would still be awake in my bedroom working on an advertising project from the night before, having never gone to sleep. They would think I was crazy, of course. And sure, it was partially due to the fact that I’m a terrible procrastinator. But the truth is, working all night is when I worked best.

And over time, not much has changed.

When my husband I moved to our new house a few years ago, I took a week off of work to work on the house before we moved in. Sometimes I’d paint until 2 or 3 in the morning.

I love the nighttime. When I’m working on something at night, I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing daylight when I’d love to be outside or family time when my son and husband are awake. I love the fact that at night, I don’t have a time limit looming overhead. I get a little caffeine, play some good background music, and get my work done without any pressure to be somewhere or to do something. In fact, most of my blogs are written at night after my husband and son are asleep—including this one right now!

I don’t think the nighttime is the right time for everyone. I think it’s the right time for me to work on things.

And that is really the key to being successful. If you want to be your best, then you need to know what makes you your best.

So many people get caught up in the “right way” to accomplish something. There are countless articles on the benefits to waking up earlier to get things done, work out, or “be your best.” So people read that and think that that is the only way to be successful or reach your goals.

Have you met yourself? Maybe that’s right for you—but maybe not.

Here’s what I need: I need to be rested. I need a clean working area so I don’t get distracted. I need clear objectives of what I want to accomplish. I need to be alone. I need to have some caffeine and an open night.

So what do you need? What days or times of day are you your best? When are you the least distracted? When do you have the most creative energy? When do you want to work on something? What environment do you work best in? Do you like working with people or alone? What types of things help you stay accountable?

If you can identify the situations in which you are your best, then you can create your schedule to reflect that. Instead of comparing yourself to everyone else and how they do what they do or reading books telling you exactly how you should do what you do, instead ask yourself, What do I need to be my best?

Once you know what it is, you can actually start to do it.

Then you can quit setting your alarm for 4 a.m. and hitting snooze every 10 minutes until your normal wake-up time at 6, having never gotten your work done and annoyed your spouse in the process! (Not that I know anything about that.)