Your Chronotype and How It Can Transform Your Creativity

April 22, 2022


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Article by Colette Nichol, Story Strategist and Solo Filmmaker

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What is your chronotype and why does it matter?

Learning more about my chronorhythm and chronotype completely transformed my life. Personally, the creativity aspect of knowing my chronotype was the most important. As a writer, filmmaker, and educator, my creativity is one of my most precious tools. But, sleep, motivation, and managing my mental health matter as well.

4 chronotypes: wolf, bear, lion, dolphin

Here’s the unvarnished truth: no matter how you slice it, embracing your chronotype and adjusting your life to be more in tune with your chronorhythm will have a huge positive impact.

Your chronotype affects how you behave in every aspect of your life from work to relationships to whether you snap at your mother-in-law at Thanksgiving. For this article my focus is creativity, but let it be known that all good things get better when you know your chronotype.

There’s nothing that won’t get better if you embrace your chronotype.

So if you’re intrigued, let’s get into it.

Table of Contents

1 Does knowing your chronotype matter?

2 The Basic Principles and the Four Main Chronotypes

3 Chronorhythm Life Design Examples

4 Chronotype Creativity Secret

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Chronotypes and Chronorhythms

6 Want more creativity? Join Deep Creative Magic!

It’s 7 am. The alarm is beeping a tinny wake-up call.

Groan…roll over…grrrrrr…do I really want to get up???

Ugh, no. I give myself another hour of “thinking time.”

Then I roll out of bed and start my coffee routine.

Grind beans. Boil water. Dump into pour-over sock. And…mindlessly follow the rest of the intricate steps I like to follow to make coffee each morning. (Hey, we all have our neurosis.)

Finally, I’ve got my coffee. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, staring at my computer screen, I’m ready to start clearing the cobwebs.

This little routine might not seem like much. But embedded in this process is a secret that almost nobody knows. It’s the secret to consistent creativity no matter who you are and when you like to get up in the morning.

As writers, filmmakers, and creative humans who want to make wonderful things, we have a superpower.

Our chronotype.

It’s the secret to unravelling our unique creative vision and connecting to the stories and ideas deep within ourselves.

The basic principles are as follows:

1) There are four main chronotypes: wolf, lion, bear, and dolphin.

🐺 🦁 🐻 🐬

2) You could be a morning person 🦁, a night person 🐺, a feels-best-from-dawn-’til-dusk person 🐻, or a strange and unpredictable creature who doesn’t need much sleep 🐬.

3) Humans are most creative when we’re tired but not falling asleep. So try to do your most creative and expansive work at the time of day when you’re open, tired but not exhausted, and not in precision mode.

Chronorhythm Life Design Examples

Lion Example

If you’re a morning person, do your creative work in the late afternoon or early evening. Not early in the morning when you’re ready to take high-octane action.

Wolf Example

If you’re a night person, do your creative work in the morning or late evening. Not in the afternoon when you’ve finally woken up and are ready to operate heavy machinery.

This little chronotype creativity secret isn’t very well known.

Most people are simply trying to cram their creative life into an already crammed existence and don’t take full advantage of their chronotype. (Understandable, really. You’ve got a lot on your platter already!) But how can we truly enjoy our creativity if we’re not accessing the magical time of day when we have access to our deepest creative selves?

My argument is that if you’re not using your unique magic hour to do something creative regularly, you’re hindering your growth.

Bringing us to the question of WHY.

Why are we more creative during the times of day when we’re tired but not falling asleep?

It’s a matter of resistance!

If you’re fully awake, energized, and sharply analytical, you’re full of resistance. In fact, you can probably resist anything when you’re in that fully awake mode! But during magic hour (or hours), you’re a little sleepy. Goofy. If someone were to try to sell you a set of slinkies during magic hour, you’d probably buy them. That’s how little resistance you have during this time.

This cat knows his chronotype!
Pretty sure this slinkie cat was going down the stairs during their magic hour. Also this basically sums up how I feel about mornings.

Resistance is a nightmare for your creativity.

It slows everything down to a crawl. You’re stuck in a swirling cavern of internal mud. Words don’t show up on the page. Every idea gets censored. The elusive flow state seems ever more elusive.

Trying to be creative without knowing your chronotype is like trying to swim in mud.
This is me during a bout of resistance when I’m still trying to be creative.

So why fight your natural instincts?

My challenge for you is this: can you start using your chronorhythm to honour your creativity more consistently this year?

Embracing the mornings as a time for creativity completely changed my life. Even though I really can’t stand mornings. Without embracing my chronotype, I’m not sure I could’ve written hundreds of blogs and created four courses while working with clients full time.

So, what do you think?

Are you already using your most creative hours of the day to do your passion projects? Or is this something you could embrace and do more consistently?

From filmmaking to fingerpainting, this chronorhythm hack will open up a door in your life for more magic and creativity!

What is your chronotype? When do you feel most awake?

Explaining the Magic of Chronotype on Tiktok

Watch for a 2-minute explanation of how to use your chronotype to be more creative!

@coconichol creativity!!!! it is so important. this little adjustment or life hack has allowed me to write over 1,000,000 words on the last two years. nope not exaggerating. waddayathink? will it work for you? and when are you the most off axis or tired? #filmmakersoftiktok #creativity #writersoftiktok #creativitytips #motivation #lifetips ♬ Say So (Instrumental Version) [Originally Performed by Doja Cat] – Elliot Van Coup

Frequently Asked Questions About Chronotypes and Chronorhythm

1 What are the four chronotypes?

There are four main chronotypes. You can be a lion, wolf, bear, or dolphin. Lions are the typical morning person while wolves are night owls. The most common chronotype is the bear. These are people whose chronorhythm is aligned with the sunrise and sunset. Finally, there are dolphins. These are people who tend to require less sleep and lean towards insomnia. They go to bed late and get up early.

2 How do I determine my chronotype?

The best way to determine your chronotype is to take the online quiz from Michael Breus’s website. You’ll find it right here: You could also simply read his book The Power of When to get an in-depth look at your chronotype.

3 What is the rarest chronotype?

Dolphins are the rarest chronotype. They tend to be brilliant people who don’t get much sleep but still manage to outperform most people around them.

4 What is the best chronotype?

Well, I’m biased. As a wolf, obviously, I think we’re the best! But being married to a lion, I think they’re pretty great too. No, in reality, there isn’t such a thing as a “best” chronotype. We need all types of people to create a balanced world.

5 Are chronotypes real?

Yes! Chronotypes are real. They’re not mythical or invented. They are based on science and the study of circadian rhythms. All you have to do to validate the idea of a chronotype is ask the people in your lives when they would prefer to get up in the morning every day if they never had to work again. The fact that everyone will have a slightly different answer indicates that we are not all operating from the same chronotype.

Until I embraced my chronotype, I wasn’t able to design my life to suit my own best times of day. But after doing this, my productivity and overall happiness increased substantially. So did my health. There’s no downside to learning more about your chronotype and putting the information to work for you.

What about You?

So what do you think?

Are you ready to dig into your chronorhythm and start designing your life to better suit your energy levels?

If you want an extra boost in the stress-relief and creativity-boosting department, check out the program I created with my friend and artist Faye Mallett called Deep Creative Magic. It’s an amazing way to deepen your creativity and boost your energy!

Get Deep Creative Magic to Boost Your Energy & Your Creativity!

Click below to find out more about how you can renew your creativity and get clear on what you actually want to be doing with your time and life. CLICK HERE for Deep Creative Magic!

Did You Like This Article?

I usually write about filmmaking, storytelling, and creativity. Thus, if you’re interested in those topics then go HERE and get on the email list. Next, if you need an energy boost and would also love to feel more creative, check out the online program Deep Creative Magic right HERE>>>

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📖 How to Overcome Creative Block Even If You’ve Tried Everything

About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette Nichol. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been making videos and micro films for small businesses and global brands since 2014.

Plus, I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you gain the knowledge you need to become a filmmaker.

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