Best Time of the Day to Work on Important Tasks
A day well spent is a day which is highly productive. In order to attain peak productivity, you’ve got to have a plan. Let’s focus on an easy-to-follow plan that will dramatically improve your productivity. The secret is simple — discovering the best time of day to work. By finding your ideal time of day for productive work, you can achieve an unstoppable flow of productivity. Productivity isn’t just about cool inbox tricks or nifty time management strategies.
Those are important, but it’s more — it’s about harnessing energy and time to do more and better work. Here are four guidelines for discovering your best time of the day:
1. Determine Your Optimal Part of the Day to Work
The first step in discovering your best time is to do a careful self-analysis. In this step, your goal is not to set a strict schedule, but to find that part of the day when you are at your productive best. Here are two questions to guide you to this discovery.
Question 1: When during the day do I have the greatest amount of energy and concentration?
Question 2: When do I have the fewest interruptions and distractions?
Most of us are not wired to have strong periods of productivity following a big meal. There is, however, a correlation between exercise and concentration. Research suggests that our concentration and mental acumen are sharpened following at least thirty minutes of vigorous exercise.
Interruptions and distractions fall into two categories, planned and unplanned. You can set up your schedule around planned distractions. When it comes to unplanned distractions, you should determine the time of day when unplanned distractions are least likely to occur.
2. Do the Right Work at the Right Time
Not all work is equal. Different types of work require different levels of energetic output. Some work may be mentally draining. Other types of work might actually be energizing and exciting. You want to do the most demanding tasks during your time of greatest energy and distribute less demanding tasks across your times of waning mental strength.
3. Tolerate Strategic Interruptions
You have a life, and you need to factor that into your productive zone discovery. There are kids to care for, meetings to attend, meals to eat, and maybe naps to take. How do interruptions factor into your best time of day to work? As explained above, we work best in 90-minute cycles. Any repetitive work that extends beyond that time will begin to diminish in quality. This built-in cycle of productivity allows you to embrace your interruptions at the right time.
4. Use creativity to your advantage.
There is one universal limitation we all work with — the twenty-four hour day. Within these allotted hours, we must find our most productive work times. If you discover that the traditional nine-to-five is your productive zone, so be it. However, there are many hours beyond this conventional timeframe that might just be your most productive. Confront your limitations, then discover your best time. To do that, you might just have to think outside the box.
What works best for you? The key is creativity. Look at the blank slate of 24 hours, factor in your challenges, and find the time that works best. Some starts working at 6am and work until 3 or 4pm, whereas some uber-productive people sleep in, goof off half the day, and step into their productive stride around 8pm. Then, from 8pm to 3 or 4am they hit their stride and churn out enormous amounts of work.
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