No matter what you do for a living, you have probably noticed that your productivity is rarely constant. At certain times, you get more done and yet during particular times of the day, your willpower and concentration seem to plummet. A lot of us blame this on being lazy, getting distracted or simply not being serious enough about the task we are working on. However, as evidence shows, it’s not the lack of motivation that is responsible for our reduced productivity — it’s when we choose to work.

As some of us are exploring different working options and, more specifically, transitioning to working remotely, setting up our schedules for maximum efficiency will become even more important. However, how do you figure out when you are the most productive and when it’s a good time for a break? Luckily, there are a few strategies you can try out that can help you determine just that. This is what we will explore in the post below.

How Do You Know When You Are Most Productive?

Just like most things in nature, humans function in accordance with cycles — and, according to an article on, these cycles affect how productive and alert we are throughout the day. Ultradian rhythms are 90- to 120- minute cycles that alternate within our 24-hour circadian day. Generally, we feel most energetic at the beginning of each cycle and our energy goes down at the end of one.

While working long hours may make you feel like you are accomplishing more, the truth is that your productivity experiences a sharp drop after you’ve clocking in over 50 working hours in a week. Thus, technically, working fewer hours may translate into getting more done.

The general rule is simple: it’s best to leave the most thought and focus consuming projects for your peak time. Less difficult and routine tasks can then be left for your less productive hours.

For instance, even if you are feeling that your concentration is on the down low, you will probably be able to do some light chores around the house, fill in your work report, walk your dog, etc. On the other hand, if you force yourself into doing something creative when you are in your low energy zone, you may waste a lot of time just trying to get your thoughts together.

Organizing your time for maximum productivity becomes especially important when working at home. If you’re afraid that house distractions will get the best of you, you must learn how to track work time when working remotely.

Find Your Most Productive Hours

The key to staying efficient when working from home (or at the office, for that matter) is finding the hours when you have the most energy. If you work remotely or are self-employed, you get to choose your own working hours. Plus, more and more companies these days offer flexible working hours options, giving you more freedom to arrange your own time.

So, how do you know when your most productive hours are? You can try:

• Keeping a spreadsheet
• Using a specialized productivity app or browser extension
• Checking in with yourself regularly
• Using a team time tracker for those who manage a team

First, You Can Try Keeping a Spreadsheet.

You probably already have a rough idea of when you work best. You may think of yourself as a night owl, for instance, or a lark. However, getting the most out of your day takes a more systematic approach. The author of A Life of Productivity, Chris Bailey, recommends recording all your productivity elements and how they change throughout the day: focus, energy, motivation, etc. You will need to take measurements of these at the same times every day for about three weeks and fill in a spreadsheet. This should not take too much of your time and give you a much clearer picture of your productivity. In fact, you should see efficiency patterns even after a week of tracking — and if you commit to this for a longer period of time, you will also be able to determine the days of the week when you are at your working best.

Second, You Can Use An App/Browser Extension That Will Help Analyze Your Focus Patterns.

There is a generous selection of applications out there like Forest or StayFocusd that can help you see when your productivity starts to go down. You will then be able to re-organize your day and set the most brain-consuming work for when you can concentrate.

Third, Simply Check in With Yourself.

If you have a hard time keeping up with your spreadsheet, simply checking in with yourself can be of great help. Lots of things can affect your concentration — even the food you eat — so noticing and analyzing even the slightest changes in your focus can be of great help.

Try to pause for a few moments every now and then throughout your day and reflect on how you were feeling as you were working on a project: were your energy levels low or high, during which part of the day did you get more done and so on.

Finally, Use a Tool That Will Track and Analyze Your Productivity

This is where time tracking software can come in handy. Programs for remote employee monitoring like Traqq come with just the right tools for managing productivity on a larger scale. Apps like this come complete with helpful features like tracking the amount of time remote employees spend on their projects, background screenshots and video recordings of screen activity, recording working hours and more. These tools will let you analyze activity levels for everyone on your team, find your most and least performing teams, identify the most productive working hours and more. In addition to getting a better picture of your team performance dynamics, you will also be able to get a deeper insight into individual performance specifics, which can help you with delegating tasks in the long term.

There you have it — by investing a bit of time into planning your day you may just get quite a bit of more out of it. Do you have any of your own productivity and day planning hacks? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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