Human productivity is not the same as that of machines. There are certain times at which we are the most efficient and some instances at which we lag in terms of productivity. This is perfectly normal, as the brain needs to rest. However, improving our efficiency is becoming more and more important to maintain increasingly competitive and demanding jobs. To answer to this need, various studies were carried out. These analyse the day of a general working adult to determine the times at which we are the most productive.
The ‘ultradian rhythm’
People function on a 24-hour internal clock. This equates to a whole day in which we sleep, wake up and go through several levels of alertness. The rate at which we transition from high productivity levels to low productivity levels is called the ‘ultradian rhythm’. This rhythm can vary from person to person, but humans generally go through cycles of heightened focus that last around ninety minutes each. These are known as the ‘ultradian cycle’.
They begin with high productivity levels that gradually deplete themselves as the cycle grows to a close. There is a way to find the time at which a specific person’s ultradian cycles begin. For instance, they can monitor their moods and their levels of concentration across several days. By tracking their routines, they will be able to identify their peaks and drops in terms of focus. Following this step, they can use the gathered data to increase their productivity and to take breaks when necessary.
People’s powers of logic and deduction are at their best in the morning
On a more general note, studies have found out than humans are the most efficient in the morning. This is due to several reasons. For instance, research indicates that people experience a 50% spike in their stress hormones within 30 minutes after waking up. This suggests a heightened level of focus and concentration which does not compare to the rest of the day.
Work that requires critical thinking, creative prowess and high mental capacities should therefore be done early. Additionally, mornings are hailed as the best time to exercise as the body builds more muscle at dawn than at dusk. Distractions do not impede on our thought process as much in the early hours of the day as well. This means that we are less likely to lose our focus to social media sites or other hobbies before the afternoon.
Another study shows that humans generally wake up in good moods. This positive attitude tends to get increasingly better as the time passes. Noon is supposedly the time at which people are in the best of moods. However, after this peak, humans start to get tired. Their efficiency begins to drop as the workday drags longer. As such, it is recommended to organise important meetings and to take high stake calls at midday. Success rates are much higher in the mornings or at noon in contrast to later on in the afternoon.
It is, however, important to note that humans have individual perks and are not all on the same schedule. Night workers may for instance find themselves to be at their lowest levels of productivity in the mornings. Other such alterations need to be taken into consideration when defining the time at which people are the most efficient. Nonetheless, having a general scheme can still prove to be useful.