A productivity schedule designed around waking up later than usual in the morning.
Do you struggle to wake up early?
Are you tired of watching all the “Morning Routine” productivity videos on YouTube where people start their days at 5 AM?
It doesn’t have to be that way. It might be possible for you to wake up relatively late while still being able to do your most productive work.
Wolf vs Human
As humans, we often find ourselves drawn to the natural world around us, and perhaps no animal is more captivating than the wolf.
Known for their fierce independence, their social structure, and their ability to thrive in diverse environments, wolves have long fascinated people across the globe.
But what does the lifestyle of a wolf have to do with my own daily routines? As it turns out, quite a bit.
Just like wolves, humans have a unique internal clock that determines our natural sleep-wake cycle, also known as our chronotype. And for those who identify as Wolf chronotypes, there are many parallels between their lifestyle and that of their lupine counterparts.
Hold on, hold on. I hear you ask, “What in the world is a Wolf Chronotype??!”
Allow me to explain.
What Is A Chronotype?
To no one’s surprise, a person’s sleep schedule and productivity schedule are tightly connected.
You cannot change one without changing the other.
The glue holding the two together is your energy level. Depending on your energy level, you will go to bed differently and do your best work differently as well.
A chronotype is a classification system used to help understand sleep and productivity schedules, including when you are most active and alert throughout the day.
People typically fall into one of four chronotype categories:
- The Bear
- The Wolf
- The Lion
- The Dolphin
None of these are set in stone. You should use it as a framework and allow flexibility as you are figuring out which bucket is the right fit for you.
I identify most closely with the Wolf chronotype. That is after struggling for years to live a more “Lion” or “Bear” lifestyle.
Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided to listen to my body, and live a more natural life, which apparently, is the life of a wolf.
As a Wolf chronotype, my natural sleep-wake cycle is shifted later than an average person. Wolves tend to naturally stay up later at night and have a harder time waking up early in the morning.
For most of my life, I have gone to bed late — a little after midnight.
It’s only in the last couple of years, that I have been forcing myself to go to bed early after watching and reading a ton of content about the “5 AM Morning Routine”, “Successful People Attack the Dawn”, etc.
Most days I was able to. However, I could never add that to my identity.
During difficult times, I always fall back to my more wolf-like sleep cycle — sleep later, wake up late-ish.
To put it in more concrete terms, this is how my sleep cycle looks like now:
12:30 AM — Fall Asleep
8:00 AM — Wake Up
That’s 7.5 hours to 8 hours of sleep, which is typically what a Wolf requires as well.
Low-Focus Tasks & Meetings
Unfortunately, my body does not naturally wake up full of energy. It takes time for me to get going, just like anyone else who identifies closely with a wolf chronotype.
Because of this dip in energy and focus in the morning, it’s a good idea to schedule low-focus administrative tasks, such as checking email or scheduling meetings, during this time.
I live in Toronto while a large part of my team lives in the UK. The overlapping hours between the two parts of the world tend to be in the morning hours. This allows me to also frontload my day with meetings that do not require a ton of focus.
As the day progresses and I start to feel more alert and focused, I can tackle more complex and analytical tasks that require deeper concentration, such as problem-solving, creative work, or critical thinking.
High-Focus Deep Work
I feel the most alert and productive during the later part of the day.
That dovetails well with my teammates in the UK who are done with their days by the time I kick in gear. With them not around, I have fewer distractions and more time to focus.
The first natural energy boost I get is during the afternoon, say at around 2 PM. This is when I get some of my most important tasks done that require maximum focus and concentration.
The next boost I get is during the early evening, say around 6 PM. Once again, I get my remaining priority tasks done in this slot.
I end up spending around 3 hours of deep work on my day job every day, and 2 hours of deep work for all my other stuff.
I always skip breakfast. I start my day with a glass of lemon water.
Typically, I have my first (and only) meal of the day at around noon, so 12 PM.
Avoiding a heavy lunch becomes key. I try to stick to a balanced meal with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to keep myself energized throughout the afternoon and early evening.
As a Wolf chronotype, my natural energy levels are the highest during the later hours of the day and evening. This means that scheduling my workout or exercise routine during these hours is the most effective for me.
Working out in the evening helps regulate my circadian rhythm and improves sleep quality. It makes me more tired by midnight when it’s time to sleep.
The way it works out, I end up going to the gym after my second deep work session — around 9 PM.
Scheduling my day aligned with a Wolf chronotype really helps me maximize my productivity hours.
My deep work hours dovetail well with my body’s natural energy levels. I don’t have to force myself to do anything.
It just comes naturally now.
I plan on writing an updated blog post on my new schedule. Expect that to come out in the next week or two.
I would love to know about you and what chronotype you identify with most closely. Please share it with me below.