How Night Owls Can Work With Morning People

Time Management Morning PersonTime management is difficult enough when we’re just keeping track of ourselves. When you have two or more people collaborating on a project together, planning can seem next to impossible. That’s because each person has an individual working style that may or may not match with the others on the team.  Here are the three most common working style conflicts that come up between collaborators and how to address them.

The Night Owl and the Morning Person

You’re ready to go first thing in the morning. Your collaborator needs 6 cups of coffee to get the day started and prefers to stay after hours when he’s most productive. You each think the other simply needs to “will themselves” to do their best work at the “right” time of day.

The first step to overcoming the night/morning disparity is recognizing that you each work differently and that’s OK. There is no magic rule stating that everyone must reach their optimal productivity zone at the same time. Then, try to find a way to work independently as much as possible. Meet together at a time mid-day, and then complete independent work whenever works best for you.

Priority A and Priority B

When two team members fight, sometimes it’s because their priorities weren’t lined up from the beginning. Team member A might view team member B as a lazy slacker who isn’t pulling his weight, when in reality, team member B is just devoting time to the tasks he feels are most important.

At the beginning of a project, be sure to make everyone’s goals and priorities clear so that everyone begins on the same page and is working toward the same thing. Be sure to listen to each other and be aware that others may bring a different set of experiences to the table that justify different goals and priorities.

Details vs. Big Picture

Another common reason that collaboration breaks down is when one person is focused on the details, the other person is focused on the big picture, and neither one realizes the difference. The Big Picture person will view the Detail person as wasting time on frivolous tasks, while the Detail person will view the Big Picture person as lazy and in danger of letting things slip through the cracks.

Recognize these differences and embrace them. Instead of changing your expectations for the other person, use your knowledge of your skills to better divide the workload. Let the Big Picture person take care of tasks related to the more broad vision, and the Detail person can take care of nitty gritty tasks the other person doesn’t care about.

The most important step in all three of these situations is recognizing that people work differently and there is no one “right” way we should demand of everyone!

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