Bill: The best part of my day is built on the momentum that is created after working out in the morning. My senses are primed so I can be creative; my head is clear so I can focus; and, my attitude is positive so I can overcome obstacles and barriers.
Brandon: To increase productivity, I attempt to start the day at the gym, which gets my blood flowing and gives me time to think about upcoming tasks. I am then able to prioritize my efforts and identify the order in which tasks need to be accomplished. This allows me to move into my peek productivity time faster and keeps me healthy.
Carl: I feel most productive when I do something active before work to “get the blood flowing”.
Jenni: I go to the gym in the late afternoon or early evening. That’s the sweet spot when my brain is no longer very effective and I have enough energy to get in a good work out. Then the rest of my evening is clear for a healthy dinner and a writing a few emails, if that’s necessary.
2) Knowing When Your Mind is Turned On
Karol: My most productive part of the day is the morning. I try to reserve the morning for writing or any other difficult tasks that require concentration. I take a little time to complete organizing tasks and then try to isolate myself to address things that take a lot of focus.
Katie: My mind is sharpest in the morning so I prioritize that time for tasks that require more focused brainpower. For me, getting into the office before other people gives me a chance to blast through tasks that may otherwise take a much longer time.
Jenni: I know that my mind works better in the morning hours and my body works better in the evening, so I schedule my days accordingly. If I have writing or other tasks that require sustained thought and focus, I carve out hours in the morning for those activities. I even put on the company calendar that I’m “in a writing cave” and not available.
Chelsey: My most productive part of the day would probably be from late morning until about 1800. Once that time hits, I find my energy level slowly decreasing.
Brandon: I find my most productive times are mid-morning or early afternoon, after I have a few cups of coffee and have a chance to get focused on my tasks.
3) Scheduling & Task Management
Bill: I require well-defined, achievable outcomes that keep me on track. My rule is, “if you don’t have anything to do, don’t do it in the office.”
Karol: As the day wears on, my concentration is not as good for highly focused work, so I prefer to have meetings in the afternoon. I have almost no routine tasks in my work, so I can’t organize them for the afternoons or later in the week when I’m not as sharp. I can tell that I am much faster in the morning for writing or analyzing a problem—solitary endeavors. Whatever I start the day with seems to be the thing I do best that day. I look at my calendar and to do list before I go to bed and when I wake up to stay focused on what is important and match my energy and focus to what I need to achieve if possible so other things don’t get in the way.
Brandon: I usually begin by finding tasks that are relatively easy so that I can begin the day with some minor accomplishments, saving the larger tasks for later in the day when I can really focus. As the day progresses, I find myself able to focus even more and become less distracted.
Carl: Scheduling lengthy tasks for the morning also helps because I know what I’ll be doing once I get to work. Obviously, scheduling long tasks for the morning helps to ensure that I have enough time to complete them.
Chelsey: If I know that a certain task has a deadline and needs to be completed, I will continue working on it until it is finished, no matter how late it gets. I tend to get more accomplished under pressure, so the more stress and pressure I am under, the more productive I am. I know it may seem crazy, but for some reason that is how my mind works.
4) Breaking Up the Mo-not-o-ny
Karol: When my productive part of the day just isn’t working as usual, I force myself to spend fifteen minutes on the task I need to start, because the no task is as bad as the one not started. The unaddressed task takes up a lot of mental space and decreases productivity. That fifteen minutes usually is enough to jump start the process and I keep going.
Katie: I enjoy playing games, this gives me an advantage if I have a long project that needs a little work each day. I will have a list of tasks that need to be completed, and each day I am allowed to play my game if and only when I have finished my designated task for that day. This keeps me both on track but also able to enjoy myself in the process.
Jenni: Some days I need a little extra help to be productive. I find that music at a very low volume, or with the speakers in the other room, gives me a sense of movement and rhythm in the background to keep my brain moving forward.
Carl: As smaller tasks popup throughout the day, they breakup the monotony of the longer task which becomes a sort of background or reoccurring theme for the day.
Chelsey: Usually I am more productive when I am listening to music, unless it is something that requires more focus, then I have to have it completely quiet.