Do you find yourself being more active at a particular time during your working hours? Or, perhaps you usually accomplish more tasks at a certain period when working? These periods are known as your peak productivity hours. This article will show you how to identify your peak productivity hours and use it to get things done.
The word productivity has been described as a buzzword that many business leaders use but don’t fully understand.
All we know is that we want to be more “productive”, but no one really knows why.
For one, being more productive means that you’ll be able to do more with less time.
It will help you manage your time better.
Similarly, it will also free up your schedule for things that matter to you.
The truth is, we all want to spend more time with family and friends.
However, only a few can actually afford that luxury.
In a world where “the early bird gets the worm”, how do you identify your peak productivity hours if you identify yourself as a “night owl”?
What steps can you take if you want to take advantage of your most productive work hours?
In this guide, you’ll learn the secret to getting things done without burning out.
How To Identify Your Peak Productivity Hours And Use It To Get Things Done
The Myth Of The Early Bird
The main reason why many people believe the early bird myth is that society as a whole still hasn’t accepted the fact that not everyone is an early riser.
Many businesses and offices still follow the classic 9 to 5 schedule.
Thus, people think that waking up early is the only way to becoming more productive.
But with technology giving birth to a new breed of workers – freelancers, digital nomads, and remote professionals, being the early bird just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Now, it’s not only the early bird who gets the worm.
Even night owls can get a piece of the action.
So you see, finding your most productive time has nothing to do with a specific time frame or window.
It’s all about effectively accomplishing tasks that reap external rewards.
The only way that you’ll be able to do that is to do your most important work when you’re at your peak.
Finding Your Most Productive Time – The Easy Way
Business leaders often talk about wanting to make the most out of their productive hours.
- But what is productive time anyway?
- More so, how do you know exactly if you’ve been productive?
Here’s an easy way to find out.
The Misconception About Productivity
The number 1 problem that most business leaders have is not that they lack the time to get things done, but it’s their misconception of what productivity really is.
People think that in order to become more productive, they need to get more work done.
Whereas it’s actually about getting the work done while still having enough free time to do other things that you love.
Think about it for a minute.
There is no better motivation for productivity than actually having time to spend on absolutely anything you want.
So, let’s say you want to be able to work out every day.
If you’re serious about making that happen, you’ll need to accomplish all your tasks by a specific time in order to make time for the gym.
If you want to know what your most productive work hours are, you need to be willing to make two very important changes in your life.
Two Changes You Need To Make To Be More Productive
Scheduling Of Tasks
First, you need to stop scheduling your work based on the time of day and start scheduling it around your energy.
While time may be seen as a valuable resource, energy is actually your most valuable currency.
Even if you have all the time in the world, you won’t be able to get anything done if you don’t have the energy to do it.
This is why it’s important that you listen to your body and try to figure out what time of day you have the most energy.
Remember, peak hours differ from one person to another.
Hence, there’s no reason for you to feel bad if you can’t catch up with the early birds.
You need to develop a consistent daily routine and stick to it.
If you go to bed at 10 pm, for example, it’s important that you keep that schedule every night.
Because it helps you develop a sense of order.
When you don’t have a consistent sleep schedule, you’ll end up with a messed up biological clock and you’re likely to wake up lethargic and groggy.
With sleep becoming more and more of a luxury, it’s hard to dictate to people when they should be getting some shuteye.
The trick is to understand the value of different kinds of sleep and figure out what is the healthiest for you.
How To Identify Your Peak Productivity Hours And Create Your Ideal Work Schedule
If you want to be productive, here’s the single most important advice that you need to remember.
Always do your most important or high priority work during your peak hours.
In order to do this, you need to know what productive time is for you.
More than knowing how to measure productivity, what more important is to know how to track your motivation, energy, and focus to identify your peak productivity hours.
So really, the most effective productivity hack is to work with your body and not against it.
Instead of telling your body when it should be working, you need to listen to it and make the most out of it when it’s feeling the most alert and excited for your tasks at hand.
At your peak, you should be working on tasks that involve creative brainstorming, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
While routine and less complex tasks should be done when your body is not as engaged or focused.
Understanding Your Body’s Ultradian Rhythms
One way that you can identify your peak productivity hours is to understand your body’s ultradian rhythms.
Studies show that our day can be divided into interchanging cycles where the body is conducive to do productive work and when it isn’t.
Under the ultradian rhythm theory, it’s easy to see why the eight-hour workday just isn’t cutting it for many people.
People who have learned to work with their ultradian rhythm not only perform better, but they’re also happier overall.
While it requires commitment and research upfront, what you’ll learn about yourself will pay off in the long run.
You’ll finally create a work schedule where you’ll get more done with less stress and fatigue.
Steps To Identifying Your Peak Productivity Hour
In order to identify your peak hours, you need to:
1. Track How You Spend Your Day
Keep a journal and list down everything that happens throughout the day.
Start from the time you wake up and end when you go back to bed.
2. Take Note Of Factors That Are Affecting Your Energy Levels
Whether it’s work-related stress or caffeine intake, it’s important that you identify the factors that are messing with your energy.
Once you have a list of these factors, it will be easier for you to eliminate them from your day.
3. Aim To Accomplish A Significant Task Every 1.5 – 2 Hours
When doing this, don’t forget to rate your performance based on motivation, energy level, and focus.
4. Form A Pattern
Keeping track of your productivity throughout the day may seem like a tedious process.
But once you have a month’s worth of data, you’ll start to see a pattern.
The longer you track your day, the more reliable your gathered insights will be.
5. Record Your Data On A Spreadsheet
This way, you can easily see the times and days that you have the most energy.
Your patterns will reveal when you should be taking on challenging tasks and when you should be taking a break to relax.
The great thing about this exercise is that you’ll be able to discover interesting insights into your personal productivity.
You’ll be able to figure out your peak hours and arrange your daily tasks accordingly.
To ensure that you get more things done, make sure that you protect your most productive time from distractions and intrusions.
Tips On How To Get Things Done During Your Peak Productive Hours
1. Catch Up On Sleep
Sleep is NOT just for the weak.
It’s also for people who value their health and understand its importance in developing, learning and improving awareness.
No matter what sleep pattern you’re most comfortable with, make sure to get at least 6-8 hours every day.
2. Set Daily SMART Goals
One of the most effective ways to get through your eight-hour workday productively is to set daily SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals.
Following this pattern helps you avoid setting goals that are just impossible to achieve from the start.
3. Visualize Your Success
A quick exercise to help you finish what you set out to do is to visualize yourself already accomplishing the task.
Imagine what your life would be like and how you would feel after reaching your goals.
Then, think of the steps you need to take to get to that point.
Without even knowing it, you’ve already created a plan so write it down and act on it.
4. Understand Your Role
Business leaders often have different roles that they need to fill.
Aside from leading organizations, they’re teachers, writers, and industry experts.
Now, imagine having to deal with all your different roles at once?
If you don’t know how to separate your roles, you’ll have a hard time managing your time and accomplishing anything.
When you understand your role in a company or organization, you’ll be less likely to take on tasks that you shouldn’t be doing in the first place.
5. Eat The Frog
This basically means doing the task you dread the most first so that you get it out of the way.
When you eat the frog first, you can put your mind at ease knowing that the day will only get better from that point on.
6. Accomplish Similar Tasks By Batch
If you have tons of paperwork to process for the day, try doing all of them within a time window or if you’re clearing out your email, try processing them all in one go.
This way, once you’re done, you can forget about it for a while and move on to a different task.
7. Take Your Breaks Seriously
In your ideal work schedule, what does taking a break look like?
If you answered “working over lunch”, then you need to start taking your breaks easily.
Instead of rushing through your day, take time to eat a quiet lunch or have a cup of coffee without looking at your phone or computer.
Taking a real break will renew your energy and refresh your mind for what’s up ahead.
8. Review What Happened Over The Week
Set aside time each week to look back at the week that was.
Use this time to reflect on your schedule and see what areas you can still improve on.
Ask yourself questions like;
- Which important new projects can I take on?
- How can I get closer to my goals?
Reviewing your week will help you keep track of your progress.
It will also motivate you with new energy to become better at what you do.
9. Go With The Flow
The flow is that state where you’re so absorbed with what you’re doing that you don’t notice time passing you by.
Getting in the flow is not something that you can force yourself into.
So if it comes to you, you need to just go with it.
Just because you have no control over when you’ll get into “the flow”, you can create conditions for it like calming yourself or avoiding all your known distractions.
10. Create A Work-Conducive Space
A cluttered workspace may not seem like a big deal.
However, they can be messing with your creative process and your potential to be more productive.
Aside from getting rid of distractions, decluttering can also help you get into “the flow” that we were talking about earlier.
In creating a work-conducive space, you need to remember that it’s not always about neatness.
Some people can get more work done with a bit of mess, while others need to have pristine spaces to accomplish their tasks.
11. Quit Multitasking
Many people like to think of themselves as amazing multitaskers.
However, the truth is, they aren’t.
Multitasking doesn’t always result in quality output.
This is because, it forces your brain to work on several tasks at once, which increases your tendencies for making mistakes.
The best way to get something done is to do it the old-fashioned way.
Focus on one task and resolve to move on to the next one only when you’re done.
12. Develop Habits That Will Help You Become More Productive
Does that morning coffee trigger you to start your day with enthusiasm?
It’s habits like these that set you up for productivity.
Look at your daily habits and see if they are helpful in helping you get more done.
If you have habits that are hindering you from being more productive, like checking your phone every other minute, then it’s time to let them go.
13. Write Down A “Do Not Do” list
If writing down a “to do” list just isn’t working for you, then try writing a “do not do” list instead.
This list serves as a reminder of the things you shouldn’t do while you’re trying to accomplish something, like playing mobile games or going on Instagram.
14. Learn To Say No To Time Wasters
Your productive hours are the hours that you spend trying to accomplish an important task.
So, binging on Netflix will never be considered a productive activity.
The only way that you can fight procrastination is to just “do it now!”.
Identify your personal time-wasters and make the conscious decision to choose productivity over procrastination,
15. Use A Timer And Commit To Accomplishing Tasks Within Your Set Timeframe
One of the quickest ways to get stuff done is to pressure yourself into doing it.
Using the timer method can help you accomplish tasks within a set amount of time and hopefully, get more done throughout the day.
Just set a timer and commit to finishing whatever you need to finish before the alarm sets off.
Once the timer goes off, rest for 5 minutes then move on to your next task or project.
16. Maximize Gap Time
You know those little blocks of time that you spend driving to work or standing in line in the bank?
Put gap time to good use by accomplishing 5-minute tasks that you can do anywhere.
You can also use the time to read up on industry news or watch an inspirational TED talk.
17. Focus On The Now
Be more mindful of what you’re doing.
Don’t let your mind wander off to future tasks.
This is because they could cause you to sidetrack from your task at the moment.
Mindfulness exercises like meditation and positive affirmations can help bring your mind back to focus.
Try not to waste your energy or mind space with thoughts about the past or future.
18. Be kind To Yourself
Lastly, try not to beat yourself too hard if you can’t follow most of these tips.
Getting things done right the first time usually doesn’t happen overnight.
Free yourself from the pressure of having to accomplish every single task perfectly.
You can always go back and troubleshoot problems later on.
We hope you find these tips helpful.
Feel free to send us your comments in the box below.
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