Oh, Monday. It’s so tough to get motivated and back on schedule on the first day of the work week. My weeks are usually pretty scheduled, so I ignore all structure on the weekends and exercise when I want, catch up on work when I want, finish housework when I want, and relax when it’s all finished. Even though it’s nice not being on a strict timeline, I may be sacrificing my productivity by ignoring the peak times for completing certain tasks. If I could cross everything off my weekend to-do list when I’m most productive, I could have more time to have fun, or better yet, relax.
If you time up your to-do list with the times that your body is most productive for each task, you could have more time to enjoy the weekend. Here’s a breakdown of peak times for everything. Keep in mind that everyone’s circadian rhythm (that is, your body’s natural 24-cycle) is different for everyone, but these are the most common trends in productive times.
Before 8 a.m., if you’re awake, is the best time to catch up on Twitter and Facebook to see what your friends are up to. This will put you in an upbeat mood because most updates at this time are optimistic and enthusiastic, according to a 2 year, 509 million Tweet study. This is also a great time to reflect. When you wake up, lay in bed for 5 minutes just breathing and getting your mind ready to start the day. This form of meditation will ensure a good morning and great day.
Cognitive functioning for most adults peaks in late morning. Memory, alertness and concentration improve as the body’s temperature rises just before waking up. You can get a jump on your body’s natural rise in temperature by taking a warm shower or exercising in the early morning.
From noon to 4 p.m. you’ll probably find yourself struggling to get anything done. Most people are easily distracted during this time and sleepiness peaks at 2 p.m. Early afternoon is the peak time for a nap, but that’s not always (usually never) an option when you’re working. Instead, try taking a 15-minute walk, drinking a tall glass of water, and organizing your workspace by cleaning off papers and materials that you don’t need. The exercise will leave you feeling refreshed while the water will stave off any chance of dehydration and a clean workspace will allow you to jump back into your task with a clear mind.
I prefer exercising in the morning, but for most people physical performance and muscle strength peaks from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., along with hand eye coordination. The risk of injury is also reduced during this time, so if you’re not already on a work out schedule, try starting in the late afternoon and early evening to capitalize on your peak muscle strength.
The later it gets the more tired you will be and therefore your ability to control emotions, make wise decisions and fight impulses is weaker. If you don’t want to get wrapped up in the day’s drama, avoid Facebook during these hours. Late night is the peak time for sleep, so hop into bed as early as you can.
For more information on these peak times for productivity, you can check out this article from The Wall Street Journal.
How do you jump-start your Monday?