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Timing Is Everything: How to Produce Your Best Work

Producing high-quality work day after day is no small feat. When you use your brain on perpetual overdrive, you’re bound to hit productivity slumps where it feels like you’re fresh out of new ideas.

While there’s no shortage of tricks and tips to hack your way to more innovative thinking, timing is everything, says sleep doctor Dr. Micheal Breus, author of The Power of When. He believes working in sync with our body’s natural clock is the key to unlocking success to produce our best, most creative work.

The science of “good timing”  — known as chronobiology  — reveals peak performance is hardwired into our DNA. “An inner-clock embedded inside your brain has been ticking away, keeping perfect time, since you were a baby,” writes Breus, “This precisely engineered timekeeper is called your circadian pacemaker, or biological clock.”

So, the next time you’re feeling mentally sluggish, try tapping into chronobiology to perform at your best in these areas:

The Best Time to Learn Something New

Learning is most effective when the brain is in acquisition mode, generally between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and then again from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Night owls beware: think twice before pulling an all-nighter. The lowest learning valley occurs between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

The Best Time to Make a Decision

The phrase “sleep on it” has persisted for a reason: we make our worst decisions late at night and first thing in the morning. Your cognitive powers are strongest once your brain has a chance to shake off sleep inertia.

Save important decisions for when you feel most alert, generally within one to three hours after waking up.

The Best Time to Brainstorm

Ironically, research has found that people are at their least creative when it’s demanded the most: at the heart of the workday, between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Breus suggests leaning into “moments of groggy greatness” when we’re slightly tired and easily distracted. During these times, right and left brain communicate, which can trigger new and novel connections  — and spark innovative ideas.

The Best Time to Ask for Money

Friday afternoon. While this is the least productive day of the week, people are generally in a good mood. A positive outlook bodes well for asking for a raise or making a sale. Avoid Monday mornings  —  when people are the most stressed and grumpy  —  at all costs.

As new discoveries in chronobiology are proving, timing may not be everything, but it is extremely important if you want to create and perform at your best on a consistent basis.

Have you found you feel sharper or do better work at some times or days of the week versus others? What changes have you made to account for these dips and spikes?

Timing Is Everything: How to Produce Your Best Work

Melody Wilding, LMSW

Melody Wilding, LMSW is a performance coach, licensed social worker, and has a Masters from Columbia. She helps established and rising managers and executives advance in their careers. Her clients work at companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, HP, and Deloitte. She also helps entrepreneurs take bold steps to grow their businesses. Melody has helped over 10,000 smart, self-aware people like you. Her coaching gives you actionable strategies to reach your goals. You get concrete steps to overcome the complex struggles of success. Melody loves arming ambitious people with tools and tactics to boost their confidence. She can teach you skills for assertiveness and influence. Her specialties include better managing your emotions at work. Melody also teaches Human Behavior at CUNY Hunter College in NYC. She writes about psychology and careers for Inc., Forbes, Fast Company, and more. Click here and grab the FREE COURSE to go from insecure to unstoppable confidence 5 DAYS TO FREEDOM FROM SELF-DOUBT..


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APA Reference
Wilding, M. (2018). Timing Is Everything: How to Produce Your Best Work. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/science-says-these-are-the-best-times-to-think-learn-and-create-so-you-maximize-brain-power/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.