As someone who works late night shifts as we are prone to do in this industry it’s not uncommon to hear the groans of staff when they switch from night to morning shifts.  Don’t you hate those people that are all ‘chirpy and chipper’ first thing in the morning.

I know I do!  This is something that definitely impacts hospitality workers; well for a half a day anyway!  By the afternoon, I notice that these ‘morning people’ have started to slow down, a haze of weariness starts to envelop them, and their cheerful nature has given way to a, “I’ve had enough for today”, attitude.  It’s the same time that I’m just starting to get going! Ha!

A friend once explained to me that it all has to do with our personal circadian rhythms. She went on to suggest that it could be related to the time of day we were born.  I was born at one minute past midnight and I’m a definite night owl – so on the evidence of one, there maybe something to this theory.

These circadian rhythms dictate whether we spring out of bed in the morning or roll out and take a few hours to wind up and fully hit our straps?  Individual energy levels fluctuate during the day according to sensory input from the environment and our inbuilt body clock (the circadian rhythm).  Chronobiology is the study of circadian rhythms and has proven matching daily tasks to energy levels and mood will boost productivity and help you sustain performance throughout the day.  Leadership and Management experts call the pattern by which our concentration levels vary during the work day our concentration curve.  Research shows mental and physical performance can vary by as much as 15% depending on the time of day.  So, knowing your own, and your team members circadian rhythm, is a good leadership and management tool to boost business productivity.

Using this theory different workers therefore can be categorised as Gazelles, Bears or Tigers.


15 to 20% of people are Gazelles (also known as larks), the type that spring out of bed around 6am and hit the road running, never needing an alarm clock.  Gazelles are the bubbly people who bounce into work and put the words ‘good’ and ‘morning’ into the same sentence.  Gazelles peak around midday and by later afternoon will tend to struggle with energy, concentration and creativity.  The Gazelle should avoid high level mental tasks and engage in the necessary routine tasks in the afternoon.  Gazelles need to exercise before 6pm to ensure they are rested and ready for bed early, usually around 10pm.  Research shows that high achievers often follow this pattern.  Perhaps we should stack our day shifts with Gazelles.


About 20% of the population are Bears (also called night owls) and function better in the late morning, afternoon or night.  Clued up Bears keep their morning tasks simple and are at their most productive around 6pm.  Bears like to burn the midnight oil, this can be effective and productive as long as they can still get adequate sleep.  Research shows many Bears skip breakfast which provides the brains most vital food (probably due to getting up later at 9 or 10am) and struggle through the morning grogginess.


55 to 60% of people are tigers!  While many believe that they are either a Gazelle or a Bear, it is possible to manage your energy and sleep patterns to switch between the two as life requires.  The energy personality that strikes a balance between the two is called a tiger.

Everyone has their own unique energy cycle.  Learn to know your own, and those around you.  Map peak energy periods and use them for peak activities, trying to avoid interruptions during this time. 

Australis College works in partnership with the CMAA to provide a variety of business and management programs aimed at providing individuals and businesses with the knowledge, skills and tools to make a positive impact in their job roles, careers and personal lives. The information in this article is from the Diploma of Leadership and Management.  For more information on Australis and our programs please visit our website by clicking here for more information and to get started today.