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The Most And The Least Productive Times Of The Day

Should you really be chatting it up colleagues over your first cup of coffee at work, or could this be the single most productive time of the day?

The Most And The Least Productive Times Of The Day

Late mornings are the time to complete work which require most concentration

We all have work we need to get done. Then why not do it at the right time? Well, because most of us don't know what time that is. While working, our productivity, or the effectiveness of our work, can get affected by a lot of things like our mood, energy, environment and motivation. To be able to know when these factors are most favourable to your cause will mean that you can use your energy by working at the right time, and save it when you know that your work is likely to be full of errors.

So what is the most-productive time of the day?

10 AM to Noon!

According to Dan Ariely, Duke University professor and author of numerous best-sellers, it is the first two hours just after you wake up. This is the time you are more alert, ready to take on the big challenges. Unfortunately, for the vast majority, it is also the time for sleep inertia when we cannot get our bodies out of the bed. While some people take 30 minutes to regain their productivity, others might take as long as 4 hours to be in a state of full-awareness.

Another set of researchers have studied the body's clock to determine the times of the day when our body gains full energy. According to them, our body's natural rhythms of sleeping and waking should be taken in focus while deciding when to do what. So some early-birds might have a peak productivity time of mornings while others who wake up late can have a peak in the evenings.

Not just this, research has also been conducted to find the best working days of the week. Results show that this day is Tuesday, followed by Monday. So it's no miracle that you got that job done fast on a tuesday and without making any mistakes. You were simply more likely to be accurate at that day of the week.

Now for the time when you are the least productive.

A poll of 400 employees on workday habits by a British brokerage firms reports that it is 2:55 pm. Scientists attribute the fall in productivity at this time to the sudden feeling of fullness that comes late after our meal and to the diminishing of the burst of energy from the morning rush. This is the time when you mind starts feeling a needing to socialize and the internet arouses your curiosity. Mashable reports that 3:00 p.m. is also when Facebook experiences the biggest spike in usage.

According to a report published in Forbes, elevation of our hormones Cortisol and Cortisone declines during this period, leading to lethargy. Friday has also been found to be the day of least productivity.

Best time to do it

Now that you know that there is a better time to do everything, here is a look at the best times of some of them.

1. Work that requires focus and concentration: Late mornings.

Our bodies begin to warm up as we are about to wake up and this continues through mid-day. Our working memory, alertness and concentration are at full force during this period of productivity. Most people are more easily distracted from noon to 4 p.m., according to recent research led by Robert Matchock, an associate professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University.

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2. Work that needs creativity: Evenings.

Research shows that tiredness or fatigue can induce open ended thinking, boosting creativity. When 428 students were asked to solve a series of two types of problems, requiring either analytical or novel thinking, their performance on the second type was best at non-peak times of day when they were tired, according to the study led by Mareike Wieth, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Albion College in Michigan.

3. Learning something new: Night.

Research shows that information sticks to your brain better when it is followed by a good and full night of sleep. So it is better to learn new information and skills right before you go to bed.


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