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At 6 am, analytical thinking was shown to peak, the words and language at this time were shown to correlate with a more logical way of thinking. However, in the evenings and nights this thinking style changed to a more emotional and existential one. University of Bristol, Press release issued: 20 June 2018, Study of 800-million tweets finds distinct daily cycles in our thinking patterns. Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash.

The mornings were always my best times. I’d get up by 0500 and run. I’d get into my office by 0600. I’d then have a good two hours before everyone else started to get in at around 0800. There were others like me in at 0600 or earlier, but like me they seemed to be focused on getting things done without the interaction of others.

I once was sick with influenza, but I still needed to get things done. I’d get in around 0600 but then by 0800 I was exhausted and mentally ineffective. In the two hours I still had energy, I’d do as much work as I could, sending notes to those folks I needed actions from and responding to any outstanding requests I had until I could do no more. This went on for about a week. To this day it was one of the most productive weeks I ever recall having. My mornings, I realized, were where I got most of the important things done that I needed to do in the day. The rest of the day, it seemed, was often just following-up and responding to the random things that happened every day.

During my consulting years and now in retirement, I’ve fallen into a routine that resonated with how I performed throughout the day. My mornings are “read, write, research and run.” What distinguishes these activities is that they are both my top priorities (running and exercising in particular) and that they are singular activities where I don’t need others to get things done.

My afternoons are centered on “people, projects, and programming.” If I need to talk with someone or return a call, I’ll do that in the afternoon. I find that I’m much more relaxed, more patient, by the time the afternoon comes around. These afternoon activities often require personal interactions or can be characterized by tasks that take some time but with a lot of waiting or personal contact to complete them.

My evenings are “family, farm, and fleet.” When my kids were still at home everyone would be in the house during at least the early evening. I’d also during this time work outdoors in the yard or on the cars or other equipment needing use or service. This was the time of day where getting things “done, done” was a low priority but instead interaction with others or general maintenance was the focus. From all this, I learned that picking an activity for a particular part of the day that was aligned with my natural inclinations during that part of the day, seemed to optimize both my productivity and my ability to enjoy each thing that I was doing.

Are you organizing your day to take advantage of you and your team’s various hourly specific working styles?

Thank you for sharing!

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