Some people describe themselves as ‘morning people’ while others call themselves ‘night owls.’ But whichever group you associate yourself with, you’ve probably realized that your energy levels vary throughout the day. These periods of high energy should be your most productive hours.
Personally, the wee hours of the morning or late evenings are best suited for me. The tranquility of the morning provides me with a clear head for creative ideas. Similarly, the evening is also perfect because of the diminished level of activity around.
But you have to admit that we’ve all experienced that sudden slump that occurs around midday. You just don’t feel motivated to do anything. While others can power through this slump, others have zero productivity and motivation to do anything.
But how can one manage these energy peaks and slumps to maximize productivity?
The answer lies in identifying your most productive hours. And yes, they do exist. Even certified scientists have carried out various studies to ascertain the most productive hours, depending on gender, age, and other physiological factors.
However, regardless of the scientific consensus, one can still determine their productive hours independently. All you need is a better understanding of your sleep cycle and close monitoring of your circadian rhythm.
So, let’s check out effective ways to determine your productive hours accurately.
Honesty is the best policy
Any self-realization activity starts with telling yourself the truth.
What is the reason for your energy slump? Is your diet healthy? Are you exercising enough?
Answering these questions will help you identify the nutritional deficiencies or bad habits affecting your energy levels. Moreover, you can also determine if your pastime activities are detrimental to your overall health and productivity.
After identifying these issues, you can strategize on effective ways to address them. For example, you can change your diet to include more nutritional alternatives.
Furthermore, research has shown that fruits and vegetables increase productivity. Conversely, fast food and ‘greasy’ food often takes longer to digest. And they also lull you to sleep. As a result, you spend hours trying to power through slumps without any success.
Moreover, your diet plays a part in your productivity. Water intake keeps the body and mind in great shape.
And here is how it occurs…
Firstly, water and other liquids contain electrolytes that stimulate the nerves. Secondly, water breaks provide the body with a change of scenery and a well-deserved intermission.
In essence, accepting your dietary and lifestyle faults is key to identifying your creative hours.
Find out more about your circadian rhythm
Some people believe that the circadian rhythm thing is ‘bro science,’ but real science supports this theory.
Circadian rhythm refers to the natural regulatory process for your sleep cycle. This cycle is 24 hours long — a biological master clock in consonance with the earth’s rotation.
If your circadian rhythm functions properly, you will experience harmony with other bodily functions like sleep and fitness. But if your circadian rhythm is in shambles, you might experience problems like insomnia and possible mental health complications.
Let’s check out some factors that disrupt one’s circadian rhythm.
- Jet lag
Crossing multiple time zones can disrupt your circadian rhythm temporarily.
- Irregular shifts
Alternating morning and night shifts disrupt your circadian rhythm.
- Irregular sleep schedules
People without stable sleep-wake schedules are susceptible to circadian rhythm disruption.
Excessive caffeine intake affects your sleep cycle.
Despite a lack of absolute control over our circadian rhythms, the activities above can disrupt them further. Similarly, one can maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle by doing the following:
- Follow a strict schedule as much as you can.
- Exercise regularly.
- Take short naps during the day.
- Try to get some sun.
Track your productive hours
With a proper understanding of your circadian rhythm and lifestyle, you can monitor your productivity. You don’t need to make massive changes to your daily routine. But you must maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly during this period.
I’d recommend using a spreadsheet to record the most productive hours over a 10-14 day period. Start with your sleeping hours and breaks. You also need to find out the periods of the day when you feel the most energized. These periods are referred to as one’s ‘biological prime time.’
In the same vein, record the periods of the day when you feel drained and unwilling to do any work. If you don’t have a fixed work schedule, you can extend the study by an extra week to gather more data.
Based on personal interest, you can adjust the trackable parameters to focus on energy, concentration, and motivation levels. If that sounds like a lot, you can limit the study to energy levels.
At the end of the study, go through the spreadsheet and draw the necessary conclusions based on the obtained data.
Harness your peak productive hours
You probably have an inkling of your productive hours. But the results from the spreadsheet will consolidate your presumptions. With your findings, you can harness your prime times to maximize productivity. Note the hours of the day when you have the highest energy levels and adjust your timetable accordingly.
For example, freelancers can shift their projects to the early hours of the morning to suit their circadian rhythm. And if your slump comes during the day, schedule your breaks during that period. This technique will help you replenish your energy levels without losing much working time.
Also, don’t hesitate to improve your time management with special tools. Choose a time-tracking tool to monitor your tasks and download productivity tools to curate your timetable better.
Ultimately, split your tasks into subtasks to ensure your energy levels are at high-gear when you work.
To sum up
Identifying your productive hours will improve your productivity massively. However, figuring out the bad habits disrupting your circadian rhythm is equally important. So, limit these activities or eliminate them from your routine completely. Use tools to monitor your productive hours and energy levels. Ultimately, you will discover your productive hours as well as lifestyle changes for efficient time consumption.