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Maximize peak productivity hours in four steps

6th Aug 2021
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While we all aim to perform better each day, we can become more efficient if we identify our peak productivity hours.

These are the hours when you have high energy and concentration or are most active and produce the best work.

Now, if you ask most people, they’ll tell you that morning hours are when they are most focused, inspired, and productive.

However, this may not be the same for everyone.

For instance, according to a research study conducted on students, their peak productive hour was 1.30 PM.

Does this also apply to you?

Not necessarily. 

You need to find your own peak productivity hours and make the most of it and that’s what this post is all about.

Read on for simple tips.

How to get the most done during peak productivity hours

Why should you bother knowing what your peak productivity hours are?

Knowing that can help you manage your time better, get more work done, and schedule that time for tasks that need more concentration.

But, how do you identify these hours and make the most of them?

Find out below.

1. Find your peak productivity hours

There are cycles known as ultradian rhythms that affect how productive or alert you get, and they last between 90 to 120 minutes. You go through alternating periods of productivity and non-productivity with non-productive periods lasting approximately 20 minutes.

This means that you can’t have a fully productive day and that your energy levels keep oscillating throughout the day.

But, how do you know what your peak productivity hours are?

For this, you must pay close attention to your daily habits.

Now, it may seem hard to find those hours, especially if you work full-time. However, by leveraging some productivity hacks, you can discover your peak productivity hours.

Start by keeping a journal of all activities taking place in your life every day while also noting down factors that affect your productivity levels. 

Then, for each of the tasks completed, assign a performance rate based on your energy levels, motivation, and focus. These rates will also depend on how much work you got done and how you felt about it.

Color code the hours depending on whether you were highly productive, medium, or not productive. Then continue doing this for a month to get a pattern that helps you identify your peak productivity hours.

Alternatively, use productivity tracking apps like Clockify, RescueTime, or ATracker to track hours spent on each task. You can also create a simple spreadsheet where you create entries for your tasks and time spent on each.

2. Prioritize tasks

At this point, you know what your peak productivity hours are.

However, you still need to ensure that you get the most done during this time.

For that, you need to prioritize tasks you perform daily based on their importance.

Start by listing your responsibilities or key roles, then note down every task you need to complete to fulfill them.

For example, let’s say you spend 3 to 4 hours a day holding meetings on conferencing platforms like Zoom. Note that down as one task. 

Other tasks could include checking emails, project work, etc.  

Using this logic, list all the tasks from when you wake up or get to the office to when you go to sleep. Then, prioritize them based on how much effort you put into completing them, the time taken, and how crucial they are.

Finally, you will have a list of the high, medium, and low priority tasks you perform in a day.

3. Plan your work

Create a work plan to manage your tasks and ensure that you optimize your peak productivity hours.

How do you do it?

Use project management templates to divide tasks based on priority and segment them under high, medium, and low productive hours. 

For example:

  • High productivity hours should be reserved for client work or other important tasks.
  • Medium productivity hours can be used for important tasks with comparative lower priority.
  • Low productivity hours can be used for tasks that take minimal effort, like conducting meetings or reading emails.

Remember to include your rest hours in your template and allow time for emergency tasks in your schedule.

Even as an employer, it’s essential that you try to understand the times when your employees’ productivity is at the highest level. You should consider asking this to every employee so that you can plan out their workday accordingly and get the most out of it. 

For instance, if you’re running a call center of any type, you should determine the time when each of your employees finds their productivity to be the best. These are the slots you should assign to them. This would result in them giving their best while talking to customers.

4. Form productive habits

Forming the following habits can ensure you follow your work plan and make the most of your peak productivity hours:

  • Work on big projects or essential tasks during peak productivity hours.
  • Have a good sleep routine and make sure you get enough rest each day.
  • Set daily and weekly goals.
  • Avoid multitasking.
  • Take note of distracting things and avoid them.
  • Delegate tasks, when necessary.
  • Disconnect during your breaks by performing activities that refresh your mind. These can include stretching, exercising, snacking, etc.
  • Avoid cluttered workspaces.
  • Commit to finishing tasks at the given time.
  • Take breaks when you start feeling agitated, sleepy or stressed.
  • Leverage tools for workflow automation.
  • Take care of your health.
  • Get some sunlight and stay hydrated.

Most importantly, maintain your wellbeing, and don’t forget to track your progress every week. This way, you can find better ways to accomplish your goals. Tracking can also motivate you to become better at time management.

Start maximizing your peak productivity hours

Staying productive throughout the day can be a challenging task.

However, you can still make the most of each day by identifying your peak productivity hours and getting the most done using the 4-step process mentioned above.

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