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Ask the Entrepreneurs: The Most Productive Hours of the Day

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Ask the Entrepreneurs: The Most Productive Hours of the Day

Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

What hour(s) of the day are you your most productive and why? What do you do?

1. Friday Evening

Christopher Kelly

    I am most productive on Friday evening when the week’s activities are all laid out in front of me and everyone else is gone. Then, I make it my job to bridge all five days worth of momentum into the following week by organizing my thoughts and plans into draft emails that get sent out first thing on Monday.

    Christopher Kelly, Convene

     

    2. Hours 2 to 6

    Neil Thanedar

      I’ve learned to build my daily to-do list around this time slot. On principle, I focus on one objective and three key tasks each day. Usually, I’ll warm up in the first hour with a task that can easily be completed within 30 to 60 minutes before throwing myself into these key projects worth my peak effort and intensity. All secondary objectives are restricted to hours 7 through 24.

      Neil Thanedar, LabDoor

       

      3. The Midnight Hour

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      Natalie McNeil

        From about 11:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m., I always seem to get hit with a wave of energy and productivity. It’s usually when I get my writing done and answer media inquiries or interview questions. There’s something I love about getting a few things done when the neighbors’ lights are out and people are going to sleep.

        Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

         

        4. Before Meetings Start

        Derek Flanzraich

          I have time in the morning to plan ahead, complete my toughest task and catch up on social media. Then, it’s meetings time, and by the time they’re done, my brain’s rarely fresh enough to get anything really meaningful completed.

          Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

           

           

          5. Evenings

          David Ehrenberg

            In the evenings, I can finally find some undisturbed time to myself. This is my time to concentrate on all of the independent work I need to do that I never find time for during the day. I take this time to answer emails, review materials and address different projects.

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            David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

             

             

            6. Lunch

            Michael Portman

              Lunch punctuates every work day, and I try to keep at least a couple free every week to be alone with my thoughts. Things that bother me about my business may not come to the surface in the hustle of the day, and I find it most convenient to leave lunch open for those “aha” moments.

              Michael Portman, Birds Barbershop

               

               

              7. Mid-Morning to the Afternoon

              Michael Patak

                My most productive hours are probably from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. When I first get in, I check my priorities, organize my day and start getting on the grind around 11 a.m. Mental preparation in the morning really helps me.

                Michael Patak, TopstepTrader

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                8. 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

                Andy Karuza

                  I have a lifestyle that I haven’t let go of since I was a kid, or maybe I’m just not a morning person. I’m very productive at night because I get a second wind around 7 p.m., and I can focus because the rest of the business world is dormant. At night I can focus with clarity on projects such as writing this response, doing reports, organizing myself and much more without my phone going off.

                  Andy Karuza, brandbuddee

                   

                  9. 5 a.m.

                  Corey Blake

                    I wake up each weekday at 5:30 a.m. to spend the first 30 minutes of my day writing. I journal about what I’m grateful for and about what I’m dreaming of living into that day. Setting up my day that way helps me focus and act from a place of appreciation before I start diving into projects and problem solving.

                    Corey Blake, Round Table Companies

                     

                    10. Morning

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                    John Meyer

                      It is hard to argue with morning being the most productive time of the day. Our focus is like a gas tank that we have to fill up each night. All the things in our life use up that focus fuel, and by the end of the day, it’s tough to be productive. I like to go to a coffee shop first thing and try to do high-value tasks such as planning and reading before I jump into the emails and meetings.

                      John Meyer, Lemon.ly

                       

                      11. 1 to 6 p.m.

                      Elizabeth Saunders

                        I’m most productive in the afternoon because in the morning, I take care of all of my emails, voicemails, small to-do items and planning. That leaves me free in the afternoon to work on projects, talk with clients, write articles and simply get things done.

                        Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E®

                         

                         

                        12. Nighttime

                        James Simpson

                          During the regular work hours, it is often impossible to get a lot of meaningful work done because of everything else going on around you. At night, when the office is quiet and the world around you is going to sleep, ultimate productivity can be achieved.

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                          James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

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                          Trending in Productivity

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                          Published on September 21, 2021

                          How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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                          How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

                          The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

                          In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

                          1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

                          Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

                          But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

                          Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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                          Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

                          Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

                          While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

                          Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

                          2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

                          At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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                          Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

                          Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

                          Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

                          McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

                          From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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                          3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

                          An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

                          McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

                          Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

                          Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

                          Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

                          So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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                          The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

                          If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

                          Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

                          Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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