Productive time

Time Productivity: Do We Have One?

Do you think we are more productivity certain times in the day? Time is what we want. Time to do the things we need to get done and to do the things we love, but it never seems to be enough of it. Even with some of the tricks we read about in other articles, we still struggle to find the time. And, we can’t forget the myths about being productive hindering us from productivity.

Misconceptions of What It Means to be Productive

Yes, there are misconceptions of what makes us productive which can often work for some of us or not. What are they? Chances are you’ve already heard of them. To be productivity you have to maintain or have some of these conceptions, or so they say.

  • Need to be a morning person
  • Cleaning means organization and productivity
  • Putting more hours equals productivity
  • Just started without a plan
  • Work until a task is done
  • Need to be a multitasker
  • Incentives boost productivity

These are some of the misconceptions we have of what is to make us productive in our day-to-day life. Now, some of these misconceptions may or may not apply to all of us, but here’s why they’re misconceptions.

  • The need to be a morning person does not apply to everyone. There are some people what we consider as night owls who work at night and still get as much of the work done as a morning person. Every person has a time where they are more alert and focus than others, so to suggest we all need to be a morning person does not necessarily mean we will be alert to accomplish our tasks. Besides the most successful and productive people we hear of, have a routine where they use their time wisely and efficiently. Think about Steve Jobs who wore the same clothes every day; he eliminated wasting time on trivial decisions like what to wear.     
  • The need to have a clean workspace to work or get started on a task is one that doesn’t mean we are ready to work. Have you ever seen a cluttered desk? Well, some people work and accomplish their tasks when they have clutter since they already know where things are. These are one of the misconceptions which can work for some and not for others; the point is not to waste time finding what we have misplaced. Otherwise, the purpose to be productive is defeated.
  • Putting more hours equals productivity. Not the case, we would like to think we are 100% productive within the hours we dedicate; however, we need to take breaks. Our brain uses energy when making decisions or when we are focusing on problems that need solving or critical thinking skills. As we lose energy, we need breaks to help our brain recharge and focus for when we need it again. Working nonstop is detrimental to our health as it increases our stress which comes to us in many forms. If you’re placing more hours and getting more done, is not the same as being productive.
  • Digging into our work is in no way the same as being productive because as we mentioned before getting something done is not progress towards the result. Often starting without a plan can hinder us if it is not producing the results we want which now we would have to go back and redo therefore wasting time we could have been using more efficiently. Now, for some projects or tasks, you can dive right in and alter your work as you go, but again it doesn’t always work for everyone or every task. Starting with a plan will help you be productive.
  • Not stopping until the task is done is a long time to work plus what if the tasks take longer to complete? As previously mentioned, we lose energy as we work on tasks which is why we need breaks to recharge.
  • Being a multitasker is one we hear with frequency is not as efficient as we think. To be a multitasker, we are to be able to do more than one task at the same time. Although, we would like to accomplish two tasks at the same time, the constant shifting of duties causing us to split our time and focus.
  • In a previous blog, we touch on the incentives we set to motivate us which can also be used to give us a small temporary boost of productivity. They are temporary. So what happens once you’ve gotten your reward? You are back where you started.

We can’t learn when we are productive from other’s techniques or methods because it requires us to know how we work and when we are. Once we’ve figured out when we are more productive in the day, we can maximize it to our advantage.

Circadian System

Our circadian system is the internal clocks and rhythms we have that follow a 24-hour cycle or day. Our circadian rhythms and biological clocks relate to the way our body sends signals to other parts of our body and how alert and awake we are.

Our rhythms are often related to light and dark circadian rhythms where we are fully alert in the daytime and sleeping at night. Our circadian rhythm is related to our biological clock which is a timing device in the cells of our body. They help create our rhythms. So, why do they matter?

They matter because they tell us about when we are the most alert and when we are peaking. Our rhythms are formed from internal factors, however, there are external factors affecting our rhythms usually from light-dark cycles which can reset or slow down our circadian rhythms. Our circadian patterns allow us to determine our sleeping patterns that control a lot of our body’s production. Through light and dark cycles our body then gets information telling our body to produce melatonin to get drowsy. Aside from creating rhythms, we need to know our alertness levels created by our biological clocks last only short period before they dip and pick up and begin to dip again. It is during those times, we want to acknowledge when our circadian rhythms begin and dip to be able to make the most out of our time. When we make the most our rhythms and the time it happens, we increase our chances of being more productive in the day. We all have different rhythms, it just a matter of getting to know how ours works.  

One of the ways we can know is through recording our time intervals where we find ourselves alert, focused, and essentially having energy. Finding patterns our intervals allows us to understand the times our productivity is highest and when it is the lowest. For some, it can be in the early hours of the morning where there is no interruptions, distractions, and their energy levels are high, while for others it’s in the evening or night time when they get the most done when their alertness and focus is at its peak. We all have different times where we are producing the work we want to see other than checking things off a list. So tell us, when are you most productive?

For more information on circadian cycles check this post from the National Institutes of General Medical Studies.

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