Does Your Career Match Your Body Clock?

Career Match

If you’re making steps toward a new career path, you’ve probably asked yourself plenty of questions, such as: What am I good at? Where would I like to live? Do I want to make lots of money, or save the world, or both?

But there’s one important question you may have overlooked, and that’s whether you are a morning or night person.

It turns out your body clock can greatly affect the quality of your work, due to the impact on your ability to stay focused. So, if you’ve been wondering why you can’t seem to brainstorm any good ideas during your department’s regular morning meeting -- or why you never make much progress when you work late -- your natural chronotype may be to blame. Chronotype is a human attribute that reflects at what times of day your physical functions (hormones, temperature, cognitive faculties, eating, and sleeping) are active.

From Ethics to Mental Energy

According to a new study, even your ability to make ethical decisions may be impacted. Making decisions requires lots of mental energy, something your body clock dictates. Based on this logic, one could make the correlation that anything else requiring deep focus would be impacted as well. If you’re a morning lark, your mental energy peaks in the morning, which is exactly when a night person is struggling to shift into fully-awake mode. On the flip side, a night owl focuses best in the evening, right when a morning person is more likely to get easily distracted.

These findings can affect us in a big way, especially when it comes to finding the right career match. Working a job that requires us to be at our best at the wrong time can be a recipe for disaster.

Find Your Chronotype

There may be no doubt in your mind into which camp you fall. If not, a university in Germany has developed a quick test you can take in order to find out. Once you know, think hard about how your chronotype aligns with your chosen career field. What would a typical day be like? Your research can involve informational interviews with employees in that field. You may be surprised by what you learn about the schedule you envision versus that of reality.

[Tweet "I need a job that matches my chronotype *YAWN*"]

Luckily, if you come to the realization that your career choice is all wrong for your body clock, all hope is not lost. You may just need to home in a bit further. For example, a night owl with a passion for teaching can explore community centers, college classrooms, and online learning environments rather than elementary or high school education. A morning person who dreams of working in a creative role, such as a graphic designer, can look into corporate creative departments with traditional 8-5 hours rather than agencies where employees may roll in after 10 a.m. and stay until 8 p.m. What about you? Are you a morning or night person, and how does your career match up?

Written by Lorelei Plotczyk
Lorelei is a regular contributor to Forward Thinking, the Ashford University blog.

Questions? Talk with an Advisor

Are you currently a licensed RN?

This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.