If you’re like me, you find yourself more productive at certain times of the day. For some reason, it’s not always an easy thing to recognize without help. I say this with experience: It only took me 4 years to figure out I was working at the absolute worst time of the day for me. I’m actually a morning person.
This post will help you identify the “trouble spots” in your daily productivity, allowing you to schedule your work times in the most efficient spots.
Finding Your Work Window
I have recently started getting up much earlier that I used to, and found that I’m about a gajillion times more efficient in the morning. In fact, I’ve discovered I can even call myself a morning person. I don’t tell many people though. (I found early on that you can get some very dirty looks telling even your friends that you love the mornings. Tread very lightly when proclaiming your love for the mornings.)
Because I’m a freelancer, I work at home and am technically my own boss. Because of this great flexibility, I can start working whenever I want. Most people just assume that I take advantage of this and start my day leisurely at 11:30 in the morning. (Even I thought this to be standard procedure among all self-employed.) No, I don’t roll out of bed around noon and saunter over to the computer. But I still do take advantage of this flexibility.
I get up earlier than I normally would.
After being self-employed on the web for the past 4 years, I’ve found that c
ertain times tend to be best for actually getting stuff done.
My cycle looks like this:
- 6am-1:30pm: Productive to the max
- 1:30-6pm: More lethargic than Jabba the Hutt
As you can see, I’m not a very good worker in the afternoon. I don’t know why, I’m just not wired that way. But I’ve been able to work around this (literally) because I’ve shifted my work zones. Here are some indicators that you might be working at the wrong time of day for your productivity cycles.
- Unfocused. There are times when it is much easier to clamp down and finish tasks throughout the day. If you’re unable to focus, you might not be working during the right time.
- Lack of motivation. For some reason waking up early gives me motivation. Starting work in the afternoon does not.
- No matter how much you work, you’re just not getting anything done. Certain times of the day help you with clarity of your task, and what needs to be done to finish it.
There are probably many other warning signs to look for, but these are the big 3 that stood out to me. (I’m probably just too dense to recognize the other ones.)If you are finding that this list sounds like a normal occurrence for you, then you just might need to change when your work times throughout the day. But there’s one slight problem. You’ll probably need to wake up earlier.
How many people do you know that wake up really early in the morning and regret it? Or are less productive in the morning? I’m guessing not many. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but I’d venture that most people are wired to be more productive in the morning. I know I am, as much as I tried to fight it.
I’d urge anyone who feels like they’re not getting enough done during the day to wake up earlier, and end the day earlier. At least give it a chance. You just might like it.