Many of us go about our workday in a routine manner. There’s nothing wrong with this; routines help us to make sense of our day. When you have a routine, you know what needs to be done and at what time. Some people may have very fixed routines where they know what needs to be done down to the minute. Others may have loosely maintained routines where they perform certain tasks in the morning, others in the afternoon and yet others in the evening. Even watching TV often falls into a person’s routine; it is generally done between the hours of 8 and 11.
What Time of Day Are You Most Productive?
How attached are you to your routine and could you possibly benefit from changing it? Research shows that many people are most productive first thing in the morning, after which they have an afternoon slump and revive again in the early evening. This may not be true of everyone, of course. You may be one of those people who works best at night or at some other time of day. But if you are like most people, then your productivity is probably highest in the morning and early evening.
Accomplish Important Tasks When You Are Alert
Unfortunately, most of us don’t take advantage of these periods of alertness. When we get to work, we usually find a bunch of emails waiting for us and we start answering them right away. Is answering emails really the best way to make use of your most productive time of day? Wouldn’t it be better to get to the really important tasks—preparing a presentation for a new client or coming up with a business strategy?
Relegate Unimportant Things to the Early Afternoon
Surely you have some tasks you’re planning to do that are really important to you? Why not change your routine so that you do these things in the morning and late afternoon/early evening? Do your emailing right after lunch because it’s not as important as these other tasks. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore important emails, of course. If an email is truly important, then respond right away. But most of the emails that people get at work are not that urgent and can wait a while.
Altering your routine in this way can help you to prioritize and focus on what’s really important. As soon as you start questioning your current routine, you’ll come up with new ideas to make it better and accomplish more.