Do Makers and Founders Tend To Be Night Owls?


I’m not much of a morning person. I tend to have an additional work gear that kicks on around  8pm — something that I have tried to change a few times, but to no avail.

Reading Paul Graham’s most recent essay was an eye-opener and, I believe, explains my nocturnal habits.

Simply put — those who keep a “makers” schedule require long periods of uninterrupted work. During normal business hours I tend to be on a “managers schedule”, reacting to incoming emails, jumping on conference calls, etc. So it makes sense to me that as a creative or maker, my brain is hardwired to crave uninterrupted evening periods when I can write and build.

From the essay:

There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour.

But there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started

Also, while we hear all the time about successful executives like Tim Cook  rising at 3:4am, there is still hope for the night owls.

From a BBC article speaking to Winston Churchill being a night owl:

Night owls tend to perform better on measures of memory, processing speed and cognitive ability, even when they have to perform those tasks in the morning. Night-time people are also more open to new experiences and seek them out more. They may be more creative (although not always). And contrary to the maxim (‘healthy, wealthy and wise’), one study showed that night owls are as healthy and wise as morning types – and a little bit wealthier.”


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