By Vicki Wrona, PMP
In September, Dr. Oz had a show on the best time to do anything. In it, he discussed several things that we can use to our benefit at work. This information centers around working with our natural circadian rhythms.
From a business perspective, I found the following information useful:
• Mundane tasks: Our analytical brain is slower on Monday, so Mondays are best for the more mundane tasks. And you thought it was just YOU who had a hard time getting into the work week. As it turns out, we all naturally do, to some extent!
• Issues: In general, morning is a better time for us to naturally deal with issues. Cortisol levels are high in the morning, which helps us deal with stress and think more clearly. Our brain function peaks in the mid-morning, so 10am is the time our natural body rhythms allow us to be most organized and able to deal with complex issues. I know those of you who are not morning people are thinking this can’t be true. But if you think about it, our internal circadian rhythms have developed over thousands of years from ancestors who better followed natural daylight. Due to lack of good lighting and the reality of their work, they didn’t typically stay up as late into the night as we do now. But that’s a topic for another time.
• Confronting problems: People are more willing to compromise at the end of the week, so Thursdays are a good time to confront those difficult problems.
• Brain Power: Our brains are most focused and rested on Sundays, which can be a good time to try a Sudoku or crossword puzzle…or study for the PMP exam!
• 2pm slump: our bodies naturally make more epinephrine at this time, which is a relaxing hormone. This is when we experience our natural slump. My takeaway here is that if I schedule a meeting at this time, I need to either keep people actively engaged or bring a snack. If I am working alone, I may need to walk or move around or stretch to keep myself awake and more alert.
Now that I know this, when I have a choice, I will choose options which work better with my body’s (and other’s) natural internal rhythms.
How do you work with yours or other’s natural rhythms or preferred patterns?