The Best Times of Day for Productivity and Deep Work

If you’re a modern-day professional, team manager, or organizational leader, productivity has probably been a topic of conversation more than once. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and amidst the chaos of transitioning to a mostly remote or work-from-home environment. Productivity looks a little bit different to everyone, and the remote-work-environment has delivered a mixed bag of results when it comes to working from home. Although, the majority of the workforce has reported higher levels of productivity during working hours alongside a healthier work-life-balance. Both increases also contribute to a higher rate of employee satisfaction, ownership, and loyalty to their companies.

Navigating the swiftly evolving workplace can have you immersed in long meetings, client-calls, and other conversations that actively keep you from accomplishing actual work. In turn, professionals all up and down the ladder of positions are turning to their schedules to try and determine when they can actually immerse themselves in their work and get into a productive groove. Oftentimes, this starts with understanding your own personal energy patterns.

For the most part, we all have daily patterns regarding energy levels. Some people hit the ground running as soon as they get out of bed. Others take some time to wake up and don’t hit their stride for an hour or so. Being aware of your energy patterns and working in accordance with them can help you work more effectively.

Stephen Altrogge, Author, Freedom Matters

After The Morning Routine

While some people like to take their time when they wake up in the morning, hit the snooze alarm a few times, take a long hot shower, and maybe even get in a breakfast, others like to jump out of bed and get the day going right away. Others still prefer to exercise in the morning, which can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. Understanding your own morning-routine is essential to scheduling a day that gives you a healthy window of productivity.

Some people just cannot focus in the morning unless they exercise. Burning off excess energy can always get your day started on the right foot.

Zach Goldstein, CEO, Public Rec

Establishing a regular morning routine is helpful in a variety of ways. It can keep you on schedule and on-pace to accomplish your weekly tasks, it can help you manage your week in a more efficient manner, and most importantly, it can keep you on a consistent daily schedule.

Anyone who is struggling to be productive throughout the day, start by honestly evaluating your morning routine. If the morning routine isn’t defined, this is an easy place to incorporate structure and schedule, which can lead to a more productive week overall.

Jeff Goodwin, Sr. Director, Performance Marketing & E-Commerce, Orgain

Meeting Gaps

Many of us are constantly jumping between client meetings and internal meetings on a day-to-day basis. However, this can leave very little time to accomplish the actual work that needs to get done. If you can, try to schedule blocks of time that are meeting-available, and also blocks-of-time that you’re going to go ‘off-the-grid’, so to speak.

If you give yourself enough time between meetings to dial into a task or project piece, you can find your focus, and make progress on whatever it is you’re working on.

Meetings are a part of operating a business. You can’t run an organization without internal and external meetings. Especially as a leader, there are investor meetings, client meetings, and internal-project-team-meetings. These very quickly eat up a lot of time throughout the workday and week and can sometimes be tricky to schedule around.

Liza Kirsh, CMO, Dymapak

On the flip side of this, if your meetings are either back-to-back or only give you about a half hour window in between, you likely won’t have enough time to even reconcentrate on the project at hand. If it takes you 10-15 minutes to remember where you left off and to actively get back into your work-groove, but you only have 30 minutes total, that only leaves you without about 10-15 minutes of actual productivity before you need to prep and be ready for your next meeting. Strategically scheduling your meetings to leave enough space in your day to get real work done is essential to optimizing daily productivity.

Try to schedule all your meetings in the morning, or all in the afternoon. By doing this, you can ensure you’re leaving a block of time within the day to get your work done without dividing your attention.

Nabeel Abdullah, CEO, Sapphire

Right After Lunch

Immediately following your lunch is another prime time to jump into deep work and productivity. This is because a lot of people are doing the same thing. It’s relatively rare for people to schedule meetings that immediately follow lunch, which makes this an excellent opportunity for professionals to dive into the deep work that they have to get done.

Clients typically never schedule a meeting right after lunch, so this is a pretty safe time to get into a groove. Just turn off notifications for an hour or two and really focus on your crucial tasks.

Josh Weiss, Founder and CEO, Reggie

Another reason that the couple hours post-lunch is good for focusing on productivity is that, if you’ve eaten, your blood-sugar levels are higher, as should be your brain activity. This is especially the case if you take the lunch break to stretch your legs a little bit and maintain a healthy blood flow. Our brains need nutrition and calories to properly function at a high level.

Nutrition is more important for our brain than a lot of people still realize. Having a well-balanced diet and eating regularly is crucial to maintaining high levels of productivity and being an efficient person in any field or industry.

Michael Fischer, Founder, Elite HRT

Post Normal Office Hours

One of the most important elements in the productivity equation is the atmosphere in which you’re working. A quiet, undistracted environment is ideal for deep work and active productivity. As such, if you have an important project to work on, you may want to sink in some time after normal office hours. This way, you’re more likely to avoid being interrupted by a client call or internal meeting, and you can just turn your full attention to the work at hand.

While working after hours isn’t necessarily fun when you’re working after-hours from the comfort of your own home, it isn’t that bad. Especially without clients and internal meetings to interrupt you. You can just blast your tunes and buckle down.

Alexandre Robicquet, Co-Founder and CEO, Crossing Minds

One of the benefits that many employees appreciate about the growing work-from-home culture is the flexibility that comes with it. When employees have more control over their working hours and when they want to be productive, they also gain more ownership over their roles within the organization. This has led to increased levels of productivity among employees working from home on a regular basis because they’re more focused and engaged when they are working.

The work-from-home culture has proven to be strong and viable. There are some organizations testing it out returning to office, though. It will be interesting to see how that shift plays out.

Serdar Ozenalp, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Ocoza

On No-Meeting Days

Last for this list, but certainly not least, one of the best times for you to get some really heavy lifting done when it comes to your work-life is on a no-meeting day. These are relatively rare in most fields and industries in the modern era, but every once in a while, you’ll have a workday chalk-free of meetings, and you’ll be able to truly concentrate on work and productivity.

No meeting days are a true blessing. We all wish we had more of them. It’s important to be working on building up your team to reduce your own personal workload as a leader.

Chandler Rogers, CEO, Relay App

Some people even make sure they schedule at least one free-day each week in order to give themselves a chance to concentrate on their work tasks and make truly productive progress on projects.

Monday is a good no-meeting-day. It’s just a good way to get a grip on the coming week and make sure you’re prepared for all the meetings you will have that week. It also just gives everyone a chance to wrap up anything from the week before.

Chris Thompson, CEO, Sober Sidekick

Final Thoughts on Deep Work and Daily Productivity

There are a lot of different theories and philosophies out there on how to maximize daily productivity. When it comes down to it, though, productivity is an individual thing and doesn’t always look the same from person to person. Find the best daily window for your personal productivity and build your weekly routine from there.

We feel the most ready to attack our day when we show up consistently. Productive days have a way of turning into productive weeks, months, and years. When we chip away at our tasks with intention and focus day by day, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish.

Fadeke Adegbuyi, Marketing Professional, Doist

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What can I say? I've got a passion for beards. The ladies love it, and I plan to maintain this masterpiece until the day I die. It may not surprise you to hear that I run our grooming section.

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