How To Time Your Day For Productivity

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If you’ve ever wished you had a stunt double that would help you get through your WORK, then you probably need ANSWERS to one of the most important questions many of us face: “How can I BECOME the most EFFICIENT version of myself?”


In a bid to offer answers, a New Times best selling author and one of the most influential business minds of our time, Daniel Pink, did the ground work for us by examining the science of timing and how it shapes our behavior. According to Pink, “when we do something in the course of the day matters almost as much as what we actually do." And where there’s a will to find answers, there’s usually a way through science that gives us the insights we need to make a change in our lives and turns out chronobiology, the study of our natural daily physiological rhythms, is exactly what we should look to.  

WHEN we do something in the course of the day MATTERS almost as much as what we actually do.

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What Chronobiology teaches us is that being a “morning person” is not a myth made up by those who come off as being eager to get head-start ahead of the entire office. Similarly, being a “night owl” is not an excuse to procrastinate during the day by those who prefer to push out work in the late night to early hours of the morning. Whether you are a morning person, a night owl or a hybrid, based on findings, Pink says we all abide by a “hidden pattern of daily life” that affects our moods and, thus, our performance at work. To clarify which time of day you should be doing something relies on primarily being able to identify as one of the three chronotypes that Pink speaks on, which are: early birds, owls, named for their night owl nature, and third birds, where most people lie in between:

  • Early birds and third birds typically experience a peak at the beginning of the day, a slow trough in late afternoon and then recovery at the end of their day.

  • Owls, who according to Pink account for only 20 percent of the population, experience this in reverse, so their peak occurs at night, recovery takes place the next morning and their trough occurs during the day.

The science also tells us that we tend to move through the day in these three energy stages: Peak, trough, and recovery. This means each of us can rework our day to be more productive by simply timing our tasks according to the following: 

  • Peak: the time of day you are most vigilant which can be used to do analytic work, analyzing data or through details of a strategy

  • Trough:  regarded as a terrible time of day, which can be used to do work that don’t require much brain power such as admin, emails or scheduling.

  • Recovery: a good time of day to do brainstorming and creative work. 


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Understanding this HIDDEN PATTERN can allow you — or allow YOUR BOSS to allow you — to do the right work at the right time.

— Daniel Pink

Basically, good timing can help you become the most efficient and effective version of yourself.  Pink says, “Understanding this hidden pattern can allow you — or allow your boss to allow you — to do the right work at the right time, which will allow you to boost your creativity and boost your productivity.”

So what’s the magic answer to the big efficiency question around your productivity?

Observe your own behavior, then leverage the three phases of the day by planning your to-do list around when it would be best to do something.