What is the best time of day to do my most important work?
It is probably just coincidence, but I have had several people recently ask me what is the most appropriate time of the day to carry out their key assignments.
These tasks can vary from writing up a crucial report to client preparation to interviews and beyond. The key point is that they are the ‘something special’ projects, which must be done properly, efficiently and effectively, within a set time span…..or else.
My general advice is to slot in the important tasks at the beginning of the day, whether a person starts work at 7am or 11am. Usually, that is when we are most alert. The morning breakfast and coffee has kicked in. We have shouted at somebody on the way to work. The body is looking to be creative, assuming no parties from the night before.
(As a side issue, this is why many experts now encourage us not to skip breakfast, and ensure that it contains a healthy portion of sugars. We need that new energy to take us through the day. And cheating on the first meal of the day is a pathetically ineffective way to diet.)
The Harvard Business Review discussed the matter of diary-scheduling last week.
You can maximize your productivity by calibrating activities to the right time of day. If a task requires willpower and complex thinking, plan to do it when you are at your most alert. In contrast, if what you’re after is a fresh perspective, use fatigue to your advantage by looking for solutions when your energy drops.
Yes. This is an individual issue. What works for me does not necessarily apply to somebody else. However, I stand by my initial observation about first thing in the day.
However, here is the catch. Many people schedule meetings for the morning. Thus, when it comes to writing up reports afterwards, they are tired, hungry and clock watching. It is this ‘clash of hours’ that as a business coach, I try to make people aware of and thus change their habits. After all, it can only lead to greater productivity and maybe even greater enjoyment in the workplace.