Em­ploy­ees share their most pro­duc­tive time to work

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Job Market -

When are you most pro­duc­tive? Do you get the most work done in the morn­ing when you first ar­rive at the of­fice or does it take you an hour or two to reach that op­ti­mal work­day flow? How about af­ter lunch? Does that falafel sand­wich get you ready to face the rest of the day or does it put you to sleep? Maybe you hit your stride as the end of the work­day nears, spin­ning out of the turn for a mid-af­ter­noon sprint to the fin­ish line.

“We’d like to think we go full speed from nine to five ev­ery day, but that’s hardly the case,” says Don­ald Gould, a so­cial worker in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Is­land. “If some­one can put to­gether three or four hours of fo­cused, un­in­ter­rupted work, that’s of­ten enough to get their work ac­com­plished.”

Gould, who teaches cop­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies to adult work­ers, says that the typ­i­cal em­ployee’s most pro­duc­tive hours de­pends on a va­ri­ety of fac­tors, in­clud­ing sleep, diet, stress, ADHD ten­den­cies and more. “Work isn’t a bub­ble these days,” Gould says. “We’re ac­ces­si­ble to our friends and fam­ily, we can con­stantly check in on the out­side world, and we’re be­ing pulled in a mil­lion dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, de­pend­ing on our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at home.”

That’s why Gould feels it’s im­por­tant to find the time of day when you do your best work. “It’s that sweet spot, the time when ev­ery­thing is flow­ing and you feel like you’re to­tally zoned in on

your work,” he says. “The key is to iden­tify your best time and to save your most im­por­tant work for when you get into that zone. Fill the rest of the time with re­spond­ing to emails, check­ing on the progress of other projects and do­ing those small but nec­es­sary tasks that need to get done.”

Time well spent

We asked sev­eral peo­ple to iden­tify their most fo­cused time of day and — if pos­si­ble — to ex­plain why those par­tic­u­lar hours proved to be the most pro­duc­tive. Here’s what they had to say:

“I’m a morn­ing per­son all the way, so I get my best work done be­fore I even get to the of­fice. I try to wake up around 5 a.m. ev­ery morn­ing and check emails and re­spond be­fore I shower and get my kids ready for school. There’s just some­thing about work­ing on my lap­top at my kitchen ta­ble that makes me fo­cused and ef­fi­cient.” — Janet Kelly, Chicago

“I think I do my best work be­tween 10 and two. I don’t re­ally take a lunch with my cur­rent job. I usu­ally just bring a sand­wich from home and eat at my desk. I like the fact that the of­fice is semi-empty for a cou­ple of hours with peo­ple com­ing and go­ing to lunch. Just some­thing about a lit­tle less noise in the back­ground and a lit­tle less move­ment in front of me makes me fo­cus on the things I have to do and not on what­ever else is go­ing on around me.” — Theresa Loverde, Or­land Park, Illi­nois

“Def­i­nitely the morn­ing. I get so much done be­tween eight and 10 that I can pretty much coast for the rest of the day. I’m not say­ing that to come across as lazy or un­mo­ti­vated, I’m just say­ing that if you took the av­er­age em­ployee and con­densed ev­ery­thing they do in the day, I’m guess­ing that it would come down to two or three hours. Peo­ple waste a lot of time, my­self in­cluded. I mean, there are days when I start look­ing up stuff on Google or I get an­gry about that some­thing that’s hap­pen­ing po­lit­i­cally and my day is shot. That’s why I stay off of all so­cial me­dia net­works un­til noon so I can do as much as pos­si­ble be­fore I get sucked into the world of Don­ald Trump and Kylie Jen­ner.” — Stephanie Washington, In­di­anapo­lis

“I work un­til around 6:30 or seven ev­ery night and I def­i­nitely get su­per-pro­duc­tive as the day ends. Deal­ing with con­stant emails dur­ing the day side­tracks me. But when it’s af­ter five, I don’t feel guilty at all about not re­spond­ing to some­one’s email be­cause as far as I’m con­cerned, they’re not ex­pect­ing an an­swer un­til the next day. It’s nice to tune it out for a cou­ple of hours and get some real work done.” — Aaron Baker, Chicago

“I get my best work done at home, af­ter eight or nine at night when my kids go to bed. I never wanted to be a per­son that worked from home, but there are so many ad­van­tages to just fo­cus­ing on the most im­por­tant is­sues I have to face when I am in my home of­fice and no one is both­er­ing me. My kids go to bed around eight and my wife stays up for a cou­ple hours read­ing, so I use that time to do some work. I fig­ure that two hours a night for now is a pretty good in­vest­ment in my fu­ture, es­pe­cially if those two hours are my two most pro­duc­tive hours of the day.” — Adam Pike, Ocala, Florida — Marco Buscaglia, Ca­reers

It’s im­por­tant to find the time of day when you do your best work.

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