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How to make the most of your body and increase productivity

Do you, like most other people trying to run a business, feel like you are trying to schedule in a hundred different things a day?

If your inbox is flooded with invitations, meeting requests and any number of other things clamouring for attention, you want to make the most of your schedule so you can work to your highest levels of productivity.

Although there are plenty of productivity and scheduling tips out there, one simple technique can help you ensure that you are getting the most out of every hour in your day. It’s all about maximising your body’s natural rhythm and scheduling accordingly.

You may have heard about circadian rhythms and you have probably experienced the post-lunch slump for yourself but did you know that you can use these natural rhythms to your advantage to improve your productivity and get more done?

What difference does time of day make to our productivity?

On an average day we undergo a number of different fluctuations in our energy levels and cognitive ability. You may already know that you are more alert in the morning and feel more sluggish and drowsy in the afternoon. This is true for most people who find that their energy levels start off high and diminish as the day goes on. Planning an intense brainstorming session for 3pm may not yield the same results as it would at 10am.

Knowing this, it makes sense to schedule accordingly. Assuming that you have a certain level of control over your diary, you can try blocking out a few hours in the morning to shut yourself away and power through difficult or complex tasks that require a lot of focus. Similarly, using the afternoon for non-essential meetings and routine tasks can help you ensure that your alertness and abilities aren’t negatively affected by post-lunch fuzziness.

Many organisations schedule routine staff meetings for early in the morning, presumably to get them out of the way but by doing this you could be taking your team away from their high priority work at the time of day when they are most productive and alert. Try scheduling regular and low priority meetings for after lunch or mid-afternoon instead. Your team will get an energy boost from the social interaction and it won’t matter too much if they aren’t as sharp as they would otherwise be.

Afternoons and less alert times can be a good time for mulling over problems and looking for a creative solution. The mind’s impeded ability to filter out distractions at this time of day can actually be an advantage and your mental ruminations and wanderings could even lead to a creative solution that would be otherwise overlooked.

By doing something as simple as tackling high priority projects when you are more alert, and saving the lower priority work for the more tired times you can improve your productivity and get the most out of every working day.