Maximize Your Productivity By Knowing Your Chronotype.

We all want to be as productive as possible, especially when most of us have a “to do” list that is growing rapidly every day. I found that some days I felt more productive than others and at different times of day, so I dug a little deeper and wanted to know why. Have you heard of a chronotype? I know I hadn’t, so what is it?

Chronotype, what is it?

Have you ever heard the term “internal clock”? Most of us have, but do you know what it really means? Many believe it is referring to our sleep cycles, but in reality, it is much more than that. When we talk about the typical workday, most of us are expected to fall into the same “one-size-fits-all” pattern. If you are in an office setting maybe you see some people have a less productive afternoon, or they get lost in the post-lunch slump, their minds wander and they can’t stay focused. There could be others that come into work at 8 or 9 am like a zombie and you can’t talk business until they have had their second cup of coffee. The fact of the matter is we are all individuals and unique so how can we all be expected to thrive and be as productive as possible at exactly the same times each day.  Well, in reality, we can’t.

When we talk about productivity, one of the most important things that some of the top achievers have realized is they need to know when they are innately the most productive; they need to know their chronotype!

Knowing your Chronotype and using this knowledge to potentially schedule tasks accordingly can definitely provide you the luxury of reaping the benefits of being more “doing more”. Daniel H. Pink’s book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing reviews hundreds of studies that proved that all people regardless of their geographic location, timezone, gender, race or age experience 3 phases during the course of their day:

1.  Peak.

2.  Trough.

3.  Rebound.

When we refer to these three phases, there are some important things for us to consider. During peak times, this is best for analytical and super focused work, but during the trough, this is better for creative tasks where our mind has the freedom to wander. For me, I try to do all of my financial statement reviews and research for clients and courses during my peak and then I leave some of my fun blog writing and videos for my trough time.  

Most people when scheduling their work tasks according to their chronotype find it makes them more productive and also a lot happier.

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Your Chronotype

So once you conclude the answers to the above questions, you can relate your findings to these categories:

  1. Early Risers (LARKS) - Midpoint between 12am-3am

  2. Intermediates (THIRD BIRDS) - Midpoint between 3am-6am

  3. Night Owls (OWLS) - Midpoint between 6am-12pm

It is important to understand your chronotype; while LARKS and THIRD BIRDS experience the day in a peak, trough, and rebound; night owls experience this in reverse; rebound, trough, peak. Knowing this, we now know that everyone experiences these phases at different times and in a possibly different order. So, now that you have identified what your personal chronotype is you can use this to see when the 3 phases we have identified will fall into your day and organize your schedule accordingly.

Your Productivity Schedule

Next let’s put your weekly or daily tasks into two buckets: ANALYTICAL and CREATIVE. Identifying your daily work tasks in this fashion will give you the opportunity to see when to schedule them into your day to make the most of how you naturally operate according to your internal clock. Some important information to put into your toolkit:

  1. If you are a LARK or THIRD BIRD - then your analytical tasks should be scheduled into the first 6 hours of your day. By this point, you will hit your peak and then the last few hours will be best for creative tasks.

  2. If you are an OWL - then you may have the benefit of having a couple of hours for focused or analytical tasks after rising while you are in the rebound phase, but will soon fall into your trough in the afternoon. If you really want to hit your stride for focused, analytical work try to do schedule these tasks in the evening.

Conclusion

By taking the time to discover your chronotype and scheduling based on the phases that you will then experience, you will enjoy the amazing benefits of increased productivity.  It is truly important to understand what your chronotype means in order to take full advantage and make your day count.


 Photo by Ben Welland.

Lisa Pitel-Killah is an Entrepreneur, Health & Performance Expert, Business Strategist, World Champion, and Motivational speaker. Lisa has a unique passion for guiding people to truly recognize their full potential. With over 27 years of leading teams, she is an effective communicator, organizer, and trainer. She has worked with businesses in many different industries, as well as National Teams of Amateur and Professional Athletes. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree with a specialization in Finance and Accounting.

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