All day and all of the night: Are freelancers night owls?

Have you ever woken up at 2am with a bright new idea for your business? According to new research by Barclays, you are not alone.

The most productive time for small-medium enterprises (SME) owners is 2.33am, a new report has revealed, with the most productive hour being between 2-3am. Almost half of SME owners admitted being more creative at night, with even more saying they wake up in the night with new business ideas.

Research by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has shown that flexibility is one of the main reasons self-employed people seek to launch their own businesses. It offers them the freedom to choose when and where they work.

According to Barclay’s research, more than 40 per cent of self-employed people see themselves as more productive outside of the traditional 9-5.  

Personal development coach Michelle Pratt previously told Freelance Corner: “Being self-employed gives you the freedom to start again and ask, ‘how do I like to work?’ Often this isn’t the 9-5 we have all grown to accept”.

But when the working day is unscheduled, it can be harder to distinguish between work and personal life.

Should you be working in the middle of the night?

We are all guilty of taking work home sometimes. It’s difficult to know when to stop, especially for business owners who have worked hard to launch their business.

That being said, it is important to keep an eye on your own wellbeing and mental health, in order to give your business the best chance of succeeding. While keeping a pen and paper on your bedside table may be a great idea if the lightbulb moment does strike at 2am, don’t stay up all night waiting for it.

How can freelancers switch off?

Here are a few tips I’ve put together to help you maintain that work-life balance.

  • Have a separate work phone/ email/ social media and switch off all forms of communication once you are ready to finish work for the day
  • Between work and sleep, do something that will clear your mind of work. Exercise such as going for a walk or run can be a really good way release any stresses and anxieties of the day and simply relax.
  • Set flexible working hours that suit your body clock that are flexible and reasonable