Dizzy At Work? Work According To Your Chronotype!

December 13th 2021

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SUMMARY / KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • To be productive in professional life, we need to live and work according to our chronotype.

  • In fact, there are more than just two chronotypes. In this article, we introduce four most popular chronotypes: bear, wolf, lion, and dolphin.

  • For each chronotype, we discuss the ideal daily schedule for each chronotype, the symptoms that will help you recognize that you represent this chronotype, and the strong and weak sides of professionals representing each chronotype.

Dizzy At Work? Work According To Your Chronotype!

Have you ever felt that you underperform at work? …That you are never fully rested? Even after taking a proper vacation time, you are still dizzy at the office? That your professional development is slow and suboptimal even though you are a diligent person who enjoys what you do for a living? Well, it might so be that your work and qualities of a good employee are not aligned with your natural circadian clock — time to learn about the four most prevalent chronotypes.
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“Chrono,” means “relates to time.” Thus, a chronotype is a term to summarize all behaviors related to circadian rhythms. The fact that individuals have varying preferences for a sleeping time during the night has a deep biological meaning. In the old days, this interpersonal variability allowed small tribes to stay vigilant to potential dangers overnight.

For this reason, morningness-eveningness in the population follows a normal distribution (Roenneberg et al., 2007). This trait is probably at least partly genetically determined (Pegoraro et al., 2015), and we cannot influence it. As the sleeping coach Alex Savy likes to say, “courtesy of the PER3 gene that defines one’s circadian patterns.”

And yet, today, most working environments are under the dictatorship of morning larks: in a typical working scheme, employees should appear in the office in the early morning no matter what their natural preferences are. In that sense, the professional development and career management process of night owls tend to be hindered.

More Than Just Two Groups of People.

Stereotypically, we like to think that there are two groups of individuals: the artsy, hipster, scatterbrained, intelligent, Einstein-type night owls, and the self-disciplined, well-organized, peaceful, positive, efficient morning larks.

However, in reality, there are more than just two possibilities! In fact, there are at least four categories you can fall into, each of them displaying different activity patterns throughout the day. They are conventionally named after four animals displaying similar activity patterns: a bear, a lion, a wolf, and a dolphin.

Your status of a good employee and professional success can well depend on whether you can find a position where you can use your energy optimally! Therefore, it is good to take this factor into account while building your career development strategies.

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The Bear Chronotype.

The bear chronotype is the category closest to what we conventionally understand as morning larks. Bears wake in the morning, keep being a good employee and most productive before lunch, and get dizzy right after lunch, to then decompress completely in the afternoon.

The Ideal Daily Schedule For The Bear Chronotype.

7 a.m.: Waking up

10 a.m.–2 p.m.: Deep/creative work

2–4 p.m.: Lighter tasks

4 p.m.+: Relax

11 p.m.–7 a.m.: Sleep

Do You Represent The Bear Chronotype?

If you feel an inflow of energy while sitting down by your desk in the morning, and then your energy is slowly leaking throughout the day, and if you experience issues with starting any new tasks after lunch, you are most likely a bear!

Good News For The Bear Chronotype.

Well, the good news is that the majority of the adult population are bears. So, you are not the only one! As a bear, you are also likely an optimist and an extroverted person. Most workplaces, especially in large companies and organizations, are suited to accommodate bears, therefore, you can feel catered to and understood.

Bears keep a solid, steady working pace, moving systematically from task to task. In the long run, their professional development and career management process are systematic and steady.

They always go forward — without rapid explosions of energy and then, the periods of downtime. As a bear, you don’t overpromise at work; you tend to be solid and reliable.

Bad News For The Bear Chronotype.

Your “energy bar” dries out relatively quickly throughout the day, which impacts your professional development and career management process. 

Therefore, you need to be careful about how you allocate your energy in the morning. Be religious about your uninterrupted deep work time before lunch, as the focus will make you thrive! You best meeting time in the afternoon where you no longer focus on new professional tasks. Therefore, lobby for afternoon meetings at work.

As a bear, you are not the type of person who can throw all-nighters, party during the working week, and then come to the office in the morning and perform. Most bears can only handle this when they are 20… After that — sorry, not anymore! Therefore, take care of the quality of your sleep. One weak night sleep in a working week and you won’t recuperate until the next weekend.

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The Wolf Chronotype.

On the contrary, the wolf chronotype is the category closest to what we conventionally understand as night owls. Wolves gear up to work in the morning slower than others and start functioning intellectually at about noon.

They also experience a second boost of energy about 6 pm, when most people in their professional environment are already done with work. About 15% of the population of the job market belongs to this category.

The Ideal Daily Schedule For The Wolf Chronotype.

8–9 a.m.: Waking up

10 a.m.–12 p.m.: Lighter tasks

12–2 p.m.: Deep/creative work

2–5 p.m.: Lighter tasks

5–9 p.m.: Deep/creative work

9–12 a.m.: Relax

12–8 a.m.: Sleep

Do You Represent The Wolf Chronotype?

If you cannot get down to any meaningful tasks right of the bat at work, but rather, you are tempted to check your emails first, you might be a wolf. Mind that is easy to mess procrastination with this chronotype. 

The difference is all about what happens later throughout the day. If you still can produce in the afternoon, you are a wolf. And if you don’t, you might be just plain lazy 🙂

Good News For The Wolf Chronotype.

Wolves are creative and independent. Moreover, they have two creative periods during the working day instead of just one, which makes them competitive professionals, who have good employee characteristics. 

Furthermore, wolves are better than bears in handling unpredictability. They can also handle an unforeseen disturbance in sleep a bit better at work.

It’s also not true that wolves are always artists — millions of shrewd analytic minds also share this profile. Furthermore, now in the times of remote work taking over the professional world, wolves have more opportunities than ever to fine-tune their working days to fit their individual needs.

Bad News For The Wolf Chronotype.

Wolves can have hard time working among bears, as it’s not easy for them to wake up early in the morning. As a wolf, you can also feel like a misfit as your preferred working style won’t necessarily fit the expectations at your workplace. 

At the end of the day, many bosses at employees at face value: if you are not in the office between 9-5, it means that you don’t work or you lost your motivation at work.

Furthermore, wolves tend to be more introverted and shy. Many wolves find freelancing or startup life their way to live life as they can then adjust their working hours to their nonlinear activity pattern. However, as mentioned before, now in the times of remote work it is easier than ever to adjust your working style to this profile in any working environment.

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The Dolphin Chronotype.

Lastly, about 10% of the professionals represent the dolphin chronotype. Dolphins gear up the longest during the day, but once they reach their peak productivity about 3 pm, they keep productive until about 9 pm in the evening. Alike wolves, they are creative and scatter-brained. Furthermore, they usually don’t sleep too well.

The Ideal Daily Schedule For The Dolphin Chronotype.

7:00–8:00 a.m.: Waking up
8–10 a.m.: Easy tasks
10 a.m.–12 p.m.: Deep/creative work
12–4 p.m.: Deep/creative work but with less pressure
4 p.m.–12 a.m.: Relax
12–7:00 a.m.: Sleep

Do You Represent The Dolphin Chronotype?

If you gear up at work really slowly and you can never push yourself to do meaningful work before lunch, you might be a typical dolphin. Also, if you feel that you are all around the place, and you cannot focus on one task for too long — well, there you go.

Good News For The Dolphin Chronotype.

Dolphins are typically creative and intelligent, and much more extroverted than wolves. Therefore, even if your working style is different from most professionals around you, no need to worry about your professional career development. With your social skills, you will likely get out of any problems anyways.

Bad News For The Dolphin Chronotype.

Your distractibility might stand on your path to professional success. In most professionals, lazor focus is the key to success in the career development process, and if you can’t achieve it, sooner or later you will get outraced by other professionals. 

Work on the quality of your sleep, and create optimal conditions to sleep well. Make sure to calm down and rest before going to bed every night!

How To Determine Your Chronotype?

Lastly, are you still unsure what your chronotype is? There are a few self-discovery exercises that can help you self-diagnose yourself: 

  • Take an online chronotype test such as the quiz by Sleep Doctor,
  • Hold a sleep diary: for a period of a few weeks, record the times of falling asleep and waking up, and evaluate the degree to which you slept well on a scale (for instance, 1-10). Then, look for the patterns over time.
  • Observe your body and level of energy in general. Look for flow states and for the moments of maximal energy and peaks of motivation for work. Don’t compare with others: the fact that the job market is mostly suited for bear chronotype doesn’t mean that it is the “right” chronotype!
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Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2021, December, 13th). Dizzy At Work? Work According To Your Chronotype! Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/dizzy-at-work-work-according-to-your-chronotype/ 

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