According to a recent study, the most productive time of the day is actually 10:26 AM. This time was derived by a survey of more than 400 individuals. The same survey stated that the most unproductive time of day is at 2:55 PM, about the time your lunch has settled and you’re feeling ready for a short coma. The second most productive time is listed as 4:16, when the day is almost coming to a close and everyone’s trying to get everything done before it is time to go home.
True, this is just a survey of 400 random people. More than likely, your times of productivity and less that productivity are close to these times as well, but it’s entirely possible that you’re the exception to the rule. What’s most important is that you do have times of higher productivity as well as times where you’re more likely to be checking facebook or walking around the office looking for someone to talk to. The point of this post isn’t about how closely your times line up with the norm. I just think there are two questions we should each ask ourselves.
- What is your schedule? Do you know when you crank things out and when you struggle? This might take a few weeks of tracking your productivity to find out what your schedule is like.
- Do you align your day according to your productivity schedule?
I’m guessing that most of us have a decent idea of what our schedule looks like. If we’re unsure, it probably wouldn’t take very long to figure it out. However, I’m going to assume that most of us don’t align our days according to our schedule. We meet with people when it works best for us. We check our emails as they come in. We knock out projects when we have the time. More often than not, that’s what I do as well.
What if we could be more strategic about this? If you know that 2-3 PM is highly unproductive, schedule that time as a break every day. Make that the designated time for checking email. Schedule a meeting that’s less than critical but necessary. Schedule a coffee appointment or two at that time as much as you can. Rather than lose the hour to a meaningless conversation in the break room, make the most of the time by doing something productive that works with your natural slump. Oh, and when you know when you’re most productive… schedule that as a “do not interrupt” zone. Put your phone on “do not disturb.” Go offsite to work and make the most of the time.
It’s too easy to keep things as they are because that’s the way you’ve always done it. Or because it would be weird to turn down meetings at a certain time. It’s your life and it’s your work. Make the most of it and consider aligning it to get more done.
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