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Work Smart

The Night Owl

Which Type Are You?

[Illustration by Francesco Muzzi]

You reach peak productivity after everyone else has gone to bed.

Role model:

Inventor Thomas Alva Edison, who once wrote that "most people overeat 100%, and oversleep 100%, because they like it. That extra 100% makes them unhealthy and inefficient."

Tip:

Take a filament from Edison's bulb and start to use sleep (or lack thereof) strategically. In The 24-Hour Genius, attorney and author Eric Epstein recommends completely forgoing sleep several times a month. "There's a loss of efficiency when you have to stop work midstream," Epstein says. "With an all-nighter, you can com­press a whole phase of a project into a single work session."

How to be most effective on Twitter:

Scheduled tweets are your friend. Wait until more of your audience is awake.

Got 15 minutes to spare?

Take a nap! Insufficient overall sleep will make you less responsive and more easily distracted, says Duke–National University of Singapore cognitive neuroscientist Michael Chee.

Killer app combo:

Gmail extension Right Inbox lets you schedule emails for the next day. Buffer does the same for your social media updates. More apps for the Night Owl >>


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A version of this article appeared in the December 2013 / January 2014 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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