How to Match Your Productivity to Your Circadian Rhythm

Posted on - in Productivity Hacks
circadian rhythm

We’re all unique. Our personalities, and thus our productivity methods, are amongst the characteristics that differentiate us from one another. One innate human quality that ties us together, though, is our circadian rhythm.

If we utilize this natural component and tap into our most alert, awakened selves, we can all boost our productivity. It doesn’t matter what productivity methods, if any at all, work for best for you. You’ll surely get more done if you try to produce in times when you’re naturally more efficient. When is that, exactly? Let’s find out:

What Is Your Circadian Rhythm?

Circadian rhythm is essentially the inherent body clock. It’s very important internal hardware that, luckily, we’re all equipped with. It keeps your hormones and metabolism in check, releasing different signals throughout the 24-hour cycle. It’s also very sensitive to light and dark, and controls sleeping and wakefulness. Thank your circadian rhythm for digestion and monitoring body temperature as well.

As you may be thinking, your circadian rhythm is quite powerful. Trying to defy it will not end well for you. Perhaps you’ve experienced jet lag, or the exhaustion and fatigue that comes with a drastically changed sleep schedule. This is a short-term effect of trying to defy the rhythm. Long-term effects, which are more severe, can include sleep disorders, bipolar disorder and more. So don’t make the circadian rhythm an enemy; turn it into a loyal friend.

When Are You Most Alert?

Just as your circadian rhythm tells you when to crawl in bed, it also tells you the best times to plow through assignments. Save your most important work for the times when you are most awake. Pushing through tasks that require a lot of brain power won’t give you very meaningful results if your mind isn’t alert. If you’re interested in researching something dense yet impactful, such as piezo design, you will definitely want to find the times when you are actively thinking, fully awake and able to focus. However, the times when you are most alert will be different for every person. Pay attention to your wakefulness throughout each day and plan your tasks accordingly.

The Before Lunch Boost

Not everyone will share the same 1-3 peak hours, but studies have shown that a lot of people are most “in the zone” right before lunch.

This is when the initial haze of the morning lifts, but before you break for food. Tackling the most painstaking tasks during this time may yield greater, faster completion of said tasks.

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The After Lunch Lag

The after-lunch period, on the contrary, is when most people are groggy and antsy. If you eat a hefty lunch, especially, you may even be craving a nap. Utilize this time to bust through to-dos that are not so painstaking. Consider hopping on Facebook or Twitter to do some early afternoon connecting.

Gym Time: Afternoon

If you’re craving a work out, plan to do it in the middle of the afternoon or the early evening. This is when greater coordination is at its max. You’ll probably also enjoy moving around after being confined at work all day.

Time for Bed… or Not

A psychological study shows that, despite what we might expect, our creativity is most active when we are the most tired. Unlike working on critical thinking tasks during your most alert hours, saving your creative tasks until right before bed will allow you to take advantage of your most artistic qualities. Save your most imaginative assignments until later in the evening and keep a pad of paper by the bed. This will allow you to take advantage of those creative hours that you may have slept through until now.

Trial and Error

As I stated, not everyone will share the same optimum hours; we’re all unique. If you find that the above descriptions do not fit for you, do some experimenting. Try your own schedule. Keep a journal to document success and failure when working in different times.

This should help you discover which times your body and mind are most efficient. By following the natural flow of hormones and energy, we all have the ability to easily boost our productivity and stay well-rested while doing so.

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Kayla Matthews writes Productivity Theory and is constantly seeking to provide new tips and hacks to keep you motivated and inspired! You can also find her on Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha, and follow her on Google+ and Twitter to stay up to date on her latest productivity posts!
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