Everybody has a body clock that is quite distinct. On a general basis, however, you are either a morning person or an evening person. This simply means the time of the day each person is most productive. A morning person tends to wake up early and are more productive in the early hours of the day. Evening persons mostly wake up late and get to their peak productivity period late in the evening. Some even pride themselves as night owls, meaning that they function optimally through the night into the early hours of the morning.
A lot of research has gone into the study of people to understand what sets people’s brain for optimal performance. A good resource is a bestselling book titled; When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink. Interestingly, the studies do not show a favorable time for the brain to function, instead, it shows different optimal levels for different tasks. For example, there are tasks the brain excels in when tired.
Who determines how the 24-hour body clock of a person is? Some people believe it is natural, some even go as far as saying that they inherited theirs. Others attribute theirs to new habits formed consciously over a long period of time. Environment and circumstances have a lot to say in how the brain and the body function through a 24-hour period. For example, there are lots of cases where a former morning person became an evening person. Perhaps the switch happened in college because of the new environment and important tasks that had to be done in the evenings. So, the body gradually adjusted to a new clock which went on to affect their adult life.
The essence of understanding how your body works is to boost productivity and get more done in 24 hours. Most people underutilize their day mainly because they start the day focusing on the wrong tasks. People can actually have more time to get things done if attention is paid to how their tasks are scheduled. The secret to having more time for yourself in the day is not about reducing what you do, rather it is about rescheduling when you do them. There are several other factors that help makes your day more productive but it is important to get the time factor right first.
People who experience their peak periods in the mornings ought to arrange their tasks to take advantage of the morning hours. Analytical tasks are advised to be scheduled for this period. These tasks include writing reports, solving problems that have to do with numbers, and generally things that involve analytical thinking. For those with evening peak periods, analytical tasks should be scheduled for the evening when their brain is at peak performance.
Most people who work 9-5 jobs today are morning people. Evening people often prefer a job or responsibility that fits their evening performance lifestyle. Most morning people have their productivity underutilized as most of their mornings are spent at doing the wrong tasks. Often times, an ample amount of time in the morning is lost to talking, seeing people, doing meetings and creating to-do lists for tasks to be done for the day. Then, attention is paid to the analytical tasks when the brain energy level is low. Analytical problems are those often required before the entire day is over and when they are done tired, it includes errors and mistakes that can prove costly. Analytical tasks shouldn’t be done in the afternoon by a morning person.
Evening people wake up and their productivity gradually increases into the day. Such people will have a hard time handling of analytical tasks in the morning. Their brain is more alert in the evenings to deal with numbers. An attempt to jeopardize their evenings for parties or night-outs will constitute a severe drop in productivity.
So, what kind of tasks does one excel in when tired? These are literary and novelty tasks. They are tasks that deal with communication and verbal reasoning. When the brain is tired, any attempt to do anything that involves calculation becomes a hassle. In most cases, people are still able to do these wrongly timed tasks but with a great cost. Firstly, it will take more time to perform a wrongly timed task. For example, something that should take a morning person 1 hour in the morning will take 3 hours in the evening. The cost is also in energy, as the body needs more energy to get the task done because it is wrongly timed. This can be likened to pushing a car uphill. The energy required to push a car uphill is significantly higher than the one required to push it downhill.
Maybe you are a morning person and you have no control over when you do certain tasks at your workplace, you can innovate around your daily schedule to do the right tasks at the right time. You could learn to be an early riser, and dedicate 2-3 early hours of the day to getting your analytical tasks done immediately after a good enough sleep. This can be made into a morning routine. You could also make an arrangement with your boss to spend the first part of the workday somewhere away from the office (perhaps, in a coffee shop) getting the analytical tasks done. And if that can’t be done, you could find a little-known place in your office to hide and get the analytical tasks done first thing in the morning when you are in peak performance for it.
Scheduling analytical tasks is not an analytical task. This means that everything that should be in place for the task to be carried out smoothly should have already been prepared ahead of the time. Completing analytical tasks at the optimum time gives the energy levels of the brain a boost for the rest of the day. Productive people are simply people who do the right tasks at the right time.
In summary, tasks that have to do with numbers, calculation, being careful and meticulous should be done at the time of the day your body is at peak performance.