We’re all different.
It’s important to keep that in mind when you’re looking for ways to be more productive. It’s easy to think that just because a successful person does XYZ, that that’s exactly what you should be doing as well.
Sometimes, that’s not the case. You’re in a different place right now, with a different body, a different rhythm, with a different mindset. What works for me might not work exactly for you, and that’s okay.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to assess for yourself when you’re most productive.
In some cases, you don’t really have the luxury of picking and choosing when you get to work. Maybe you have a day job and you have to work in between certain hours, or else.
But, what if you’re also trying to build a business from home in your off hours? Should you work to build that business in the mornings before work, or after work, or a little of both? Should you do your work before dinner or after dinner? Should you work well into the night or get up really early in the morning to work?
And let’s say you’re lucky enough to work for yourself. You get to choose when and where you work, for the most part.
Should you get up really early to work or stay up really late to work? Should you keep typical work hours instead, because you think that’s when you should be working?
There’s a lot to consider here that you perhaps have never considered before.
It’s time to figure out when you’re most productive so you can work less, be less stressed, and get more done.
We all want to be more productive. It’s not a matter of working all the time, every day, because no one can keep up a schedule like that.
It’s a matter of working when you’re most productive, being in a mindset of productivity, and being of a productive mindset while you work.
When Do You Feel Your Best?
One consideration as part of this is when you feel your best.
If someone were to ask you if you’re a morning person or a night person, what would you answer? That answer might hold some clues for you.
Maybe you get through your morning in a total fog, no matter if you got enough sleep the night before or not. You just don’t feel well, or like yourself at all, until after lunch.
That’s important to know about yourself. If you’re really, really struggling with productivity and you don’t feel up to speed in the mornings, ever, then it might be worth shifting your work schedule. You can do other things you enjoy doing in the mornings and do the bulk of your work when you’re feeling your best and most productive in the afternoon.
For most people, I’d venture, the opposite is going to be true. Many people feel their best in the morning, at least after the grogginess of the night has worn off. They start to drag in the afternoon.
If that’s the case with you, then you might do the bulk of (or the most important part of) your work in the morning. You might give yourself a bit of a break in the afternoons and evenings, or focus on work that’s less taxing.
Doing Your Most Important Work When You’re Most Productive
There are bound to be those times during the day that you recognize yourself as being the most on point.
This is the time of day when you’re most likely to be in the flow of your work. The work seems to be a little easier for you and what you produce tends to be of a higher quality.
What time of day is that for you?
If you can identify that, then you can do your most important work during those times. You don’t have to struggle to do really important tasks when you’re not at your peak of productivity.
If you try to force yourself to work when you’re not at your best, then you’ll probably drag, be less motivated, and take much longer to complete the task at hand.
So, you might decide that you are at peak productivity from 10:00-12:00. You don’t really hit your stride until then and you start to drag after that point.
Figure that out about yourself (or whatever is the case with you). Now you can take the early morning hours to do less mind and time consuming tasks. You can do some planning in those early morning hours and set yourself up for your most productive time.
When those most productive hours hit, you’ll be ready to go. Your planning will be done and some of the smaller and less important tasks will be out of the way. You’ll be primed and ready to be super productive.
You can then turn the distractions off and work intensely during the hours between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm. You’ll work, work, and work. You’ll focus solely on this work.
Once noon hits, you can eat lunch, focus on less taxing work, plan for the next day, do your outlining, research, or whatever else your job entails.
Did you know that time management experts have found that most workers only get around two hours of work done each day, even they’re “at work” for the full day?
People tend to get distracted and don’t work when they’re prime to work.
Imagine if you start work off trying to get that most important task done first thing and you’re not a morning person and never will be.
Imagine if you put off that important task and waste time all day, struggling to get that important task done at the very end of the day.
Neither situation is ideal. What is ideal is setting yourself up for success by using your least productive hours for planning, research, and less taxing tasks. It’s using your most productive hours for highly focused work time.
If you do that, you’ll get so much more done in so much less time. You could be done working by noon, really! Or, you could take the day off until after noon, if you’re more of an afternoon/evening worker.
You just have to know what’s true about you.
Start to assess yourself after you work. When did you feel most focused, alive, and powerful? Use that time to work.
It’s also worth mentioning that it’s important to be healthy and happy so you can be more productive. Get enough sleep each night, eat well, and exercise. That will help you be more productive overall, and more productive than you could have ever imagined if you set your day up to complete your most important tasks while you’re at your best.