Peak Productivity Hours: How To Maximize Your Working Time
Productivity is a buzzword nowadays. Everyone wants to seize those 24-hours to their best of their capabilities. We use timers, and SMART goals, diaries, and the latest gadgets to be as productive as possible, to make sure that when we work we are making enough progress. However, many of us don’t focus on using our inner tools and self-knowledge to actually make the most of our working hours.
When you do the work is just as important as how you do it?
Taking some time out of our busy days to understand when we are more productive — when our brains are more active, curious, and have better memory — and when we are not so much — we feel tired, and hard work is the last thing we want to do — is just as important as getting all the technological tools to be more efficient in our work.
Realizing whether you work best in the morning, middle of the day, afternoon, or evening can help you prioritize your tasks in a way that you are using the fresh mental capacity for those tasks that require a more laser focus and creativity, whilst leaving your sluggish mental hours for when you have to do repetitive work that requires no real thinking behind.
Attention is limited, and so is time. So the ability to find a way to be more resourceful and effective with these resources is key in achieving the progress we desire.
How to find your peak productivity hours?
For a couple of days go about your normal routine and make a small assessment every few hours of how you are feeling, mentally and physically. It could be a couple of hours after waking up, then a few hours later, then before and after lunch, and so on till you arrive at the night-time. Make some kind of notes on these, maybe be fancy and color code your states on a journal.
Once you have these, make a little hierarchy of when you feel the most energetic, when you have moderate levels of energy and when you feel at your most sluggish.
Focus on blocking your most productive hours to those specific tasks that require a lot of mental power. Dan Ariely, a Duke University professor of psychology and behavioral economics, says that most people have their peak productivity hours in the first two hours after waking.
And then prioritize your different tasks depending on the level of energy they require and place them accordingly in your moderate level or sluggish times of the day.