The ideal work schedule timeline: when are you most productive?
Do you ever have days in the office where you just can't seem to focus and get stuck into a project? Well, despite what managers expect, this is completely normal; it is unrealistic to think that employees can be productive for all the hours of the working day. So, what should you do? The most important thing is to know what time of day you will be most productive and exert yourself during these hours. According to the Harvard Business Review this is how you should plan your working day.
This graph shows that, after the working day begins, it takes a few hours for workers to reach their peak levels of productivity and alertness – generally around 11am. This is when you should schedule your most important work or tasks for the day. This peak does not last too long, however, as after lunch energy levels begin to decrease with employees hitting an all-time low around 3pm. This would be the perfect time of day to have a 'coffee nap' if convenient, or to carry out some of the less important tasks of the day. After the 3pm dip, motivation and energy levels start to increase again until they reach the second peak of the day at 6pm.
Now, it's known that most people currently spend their mornings answering emails, a mundane task which eats into your most productive working hours. You are then forced to do the most important work after lunch, just when your brain and alertness is on the decrease. So, why not take the time to plan and schedule your day to maximise your productivity? In short, do all your most important work between the hours of 11am and 1pm, and save your least important work until around 3pm when your brain is frazzled.