Take Advantage Of Your Most Productive Times

If given a choice, I rarely schedule work meetings in the morning.

And I get a little bit annoyed when people schedule meetings in the morning which I have to attend.

Why?

Because it cuts into the most productive time of the day.

When I start my day, I always make a list of things that I want to get done throughout the day.  As the day goes on, I will usually add to that list, but it gives me something to work toward.  If I’m working on one big thing, I’ll typically even break that down into smaller tasks, so that I can have a sense of achievement throughout the day.

But, what I’ve found is that if I put together a list of thirty items, the standard results is roughly as follows:

7am – Noon

I’ll get done 18-20 items off the list.

Noon – 4pm

I’ll eat lunch here, but since I sit at my desk, I’ll have opportunity to get stuff done.  But, during this time frame I’ll typically get 6-7 items checked off.

This leaves me with a few things that I typically carry over, which is normally not a big deal if it’s not a deadline type issue.

But I can get 3-4 items per hour complete in the morning, whereas I typically get 1-2 items per hour complete in the afternoon.

I don’t view myself as inefficient or wasting time.  I just know that in the morning I can cruise.

And, since I’m not a big fan of meetings, seeing them often as a waste of time, I generally try to avoid them in the morning.

Instead, I’ll schedule them for the afternoon when given a chance, since I know it won’t be as much of a trade-off in how much I can complete versus if it takes a chunk of my morning.

Sometimes, they’re unavoidable and you have no choice, but if I do have a choice, I’ll almost always opt for the afternoon meeting.

What do you find is your most productive time of the day?  Do you try to use your productivity habits to your favor to increase your overall output?

17 thoughts on “Take Advantage Of Your Most Productive Times”

  1. I started paying attention to this when I read a book (Rick Pitino?) on this topic. I am clearly a morning person and get most of my creative work done at that point. If it’s mindless, I save it for the afternoon. I can still work well…just don’t expect my brain to accompany me.

  2. I like mornings too. My most productive hours wer ealways before 8-9 AM. It was before the phone would ring or before everyone arrived I could call the other offices on the East Coast. I always hated meetings at the end of the day, because they always went too long. No meeting should ever exceed 45 minutes!

  3. I’m obsessed with my morning work time!! I even resent getting a phone call when I’m working. I save my busy work for the afternoons when I’m less focused and/or tired.My problem, is switching tasks. I get so focused on one thing, I need to pry myself away to work on the next task.

    • That’s true as well. If I have to do something that I know I might have a problem starting, I’ll actually book time on my own calendar.

  4. I’m all about this topic these days, and I need to work on getting things done at peak productivity. For me, that would be in the morning, or late afternoon. Post-lunch, I tend to be a bit less productive for a while.

  5. I am most productive right after dinnertime; which, unfortunately, coincides with my children’s bedtimes, so I rarely get to use my productive work time to its fullest potential!

    • Well at least you recognize your time. Eventually your kids should be able to get themselves to bed so you should start working more productivity back in as the years pass.

  6. In a perfect world, I would have a few hours each morning to myself to get things accomplished. I stay home with the kids, though, and my little one wakes up very early (most babies do!) and doesn’t nap until afternoon usually. Because of that, I have to be productive whenever I can squeeze it in.

    • Sounds like my wife and her days. I feel bad for her sometimes when she gets frustraed over lack of productivity when her schedule is so helter skelter.

  7. Hmm, when I had my cube job I’d say I was probably most productive in the morning too. Though it wasn’t always that case that morning was best.

    It’s interesting that we generally spend about 8 hours at work but really, if we could take advantage of our most productive times we wouldn’t need that much time.

    • Very true, but if you leave early all the time, you’re perceived as a slacker no matter how much work you get done.

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