Clarity Through COVID
With so many of us working from home and transitioning into a “new normal”, it can be challenging to find time to get all those daily tasks completed. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve been searching for the perfect formula to tell you exactly how to stay focused and cross those items off your to-do list. While such a formula simply doesn’t exist, we can share with you some science-based research we have found to help you face each work day with maximum productivity and schedule your small business tasks according to patterns of the human circadian rhythm.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of the circadian rhythm, it’s basically a very specific, programmed schedule which unconsciously tells our bodies the best times to sleep, wake, eat, concentrate, create, exercise, etc. For decades, scientists have studied how cognitive abilities rise and fall throughout the day, and found that most of our brains follow a timely and predictable pattern, hour by hour.
Of course this pattern differs from person to person, as some of us are early risers and others are night owls. The following tips and findings are backed by scientific research, and are suggested to help you reach peak productivity each work day and help your small business thrive!
ALMOST ALL OF US FOLLOW THE SAME MOOD PATTERN EACH MORNING
Most of us tend to rise in good spirits, making these early morning hours the best time to follow a routine and stick to your schedule. If you’re looking to add some exercise into your daily routine, the morning is the best time to get up and get moving. Making time for even a ten minute workout will help set your body and mind straight before tackling all those small business tasks. Starting your morning with exercise minimizes the risk of distractions and last minute marketing tasks creeping their way into your schedule and derailing your workout routine.
OUR MOOD CONTINUES TO BRIGHTEN THROUGHOUT THE MORNING
As we continue to move through our morning, our attitude becomes happier, and we tend to enjoy work more. This warm feeling typically peaks around noon. That being said, it might be a good idea to schedule important marketing meetings and sales calls during these hours when most people’s moods are relatively happy. Scientists studied more than 26,500 sales calls over the course of five years to find that the most success was reached in the morning hours, as opposed to calls made in the afternoon which had an increasingly negative tone. According to a Harvard Business Review article, moving an 8am call to 3pm could result in -1.5% returns on average over a year.
IT’S EASIER TO DISMISS DISTRACTIONS IN THE MORNING
The majority of us are at peak sharp-minded, analytical capacities in the late morning and around noon. Speed, accuracy and task completion are at their best during these hours. Scientists have also discovered that maximum alertness tends to peak twice during the day: once in the late morning, and again in the evening. Furthermore, our capacity for logic and reasoning rises around 8am and typically falls off around 2pm. Keeping this in mind, the late morning might be a great time to schedule those crucial marketing and business development projects, while your brain is at its best.
SAVE MUNDANE TASKS AND CHORES FOR THE AFTERNOON
The morning is typically not the best time for checking emails and running errands. Save those more mindless tasks for the afternoon and utilize the morning time to tackle your more challenging tasks, such as marketing and design meetings. Since energy levels tend to drop in the afternoon, scientists suggest to fill that time with easier tasks.
TAKE A LUNCH BREAK
This is especially true for people who work in highly emotional or cognitive jobs. Even better, take your break with a friend or colleague with whom you can talk about things other than marketing, sales, and similar small business chatter. Research has shown that taking a break with a coworker and refraining from work talk is typically more stress relieving than taking a break alone.
AFTERNOON SLUMP IS NO JOKE
The effects of afternoon drowsiness can be as strong as a stiff drink. To combat this, get up and go for a walk. This will help refocus your energy and generate new ideas. What a great time to start that new social media campaign! Even just a brief, five minute walk can help reenergize your brain. A good rule of thumb is to get up once an hour, for about five minutes or so. Research shows that our brains comes crashing down around 2 or 3pm. Overcome this with a small cup of coffee and a 20 minute power nap - a “nappuccino”!
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE OFFICE
Psychologists suggest that we tend to highly remember the most intense part of an experience, as well as the final part of an experience. To end your work day on a good note, take a moment to reflect before you leave the office for the day. Think about all the marketing or general small business tasks you accomplished that day and get excited for the projects that await you the next morning. One researcher has been practicing this for years now and claims that, “On good days, the exercise delivers feelings of completion; on bad days, it often shows me I got more done than I suspected.”
As we mentioned in the beginning, all of our internal clocks differ and not everyone functions best in the morning. Regardless, studies have shown that we all experience similar flows of energy of an early high, mid-day low, and a final peak. Whatever works best for you, keep in mind that all of our energy levels rise and fall throughout the day. Be sure to give yourself breaks as needed to recharge and refocus.
Do you have too much on your plate? We know that small business owners and professionals have a lot going on. If you feel like you need a hand, call JanMar Agency! Our team of diverse individuals can help you with any and all aspects of your business. Call or stop by today to schedule your FREE one hour consultation!