Productivity Hack: How to Find Your Most Productive Hours

Sandi Warren
Home > Blog > Productivity Hack: How to Find Your Most Productive Hours

Not all hours of the day are created equally when it comes to productive work. There may be some coffee infusion involved, but let’s put that aside for the moment. Some people are morning types who thrive by getting up early, jumping out of bed and can get started on work projects right away. Some people are night owls who struggle throughout the morning and daytime hours, but can burn the midnight oil and work into the wee hours producing quality work. Then there are those who are better suited to a 9-5 traditional schedule, experiencing random peaks and valleys throughout the work day. Whatever your productive hours are, you do have them and they are usually pretty consistent each and every day. Pinpointing them and optimizing accordingly can boost your outputs and overall success.

With the latest surge in employees working from home, many organizations have relaxed a bit on employee schedules. Instead of mandating uniform working hours, many managers have allowed for more flexible and varying work schedules. With everyone at home, employees now have added pressures to balance their personal lives such as family responsibilities and new dynamics of multiple people working from home simultaneously. What could feel like a burden is actually an opportunity for millions of working professionals to work at the times they feel alert, inspired, and productive. But with this flexibility comes a need for managers to have more visibility into how productive their remote employees are, and how to help them be the most productive in this new work environment.  

All of this opens up key questions: 

As an individual…

  • How do you know which hours are your most productive? 
  • How do you measure productivity and make best use of your time?
  • How do you optimize your schedule around these peak performance hours?

As a manager…

  • Do you know which team members are most productive and when?
  • How do you measure overall team productivity and engagement?
  • Where do you need to make adjustments and optimize for success?

Here’s a way to help you and your teams answer those questions. You can find those productivity power hours and take steps to optimize schedules with user activity data to unleash full potential. Using ActivTrak’s Data Connect will give you a unique level of business intelligence in the areas of individual and team productivity. 

You can access productivity trends by specific users or roles including productive hours per day and most productive times of day each day of the week via a focus score. Focus scores area gauge to find times you are least distracted with less switching between work applications. You can also compare productivity patterns by team, office locations, remote employees or outside contractors to identify other ways to optimize your resources.  

Focus Scores can also be used to determine benchmarks of team productivity. Learn where work time is spent, uncover gaps in productivity focus areas and view comparisons by individuals and groups or teams. Analyze productivity & focus metrics for different users and benchmark the team averages.

View a personal weekly summary by each individual to compare trends across time horizons and activities. Managers and individuals can understand key activity and productivity metrics including which apps or tools are being used and whether that translates to productivity. Measure progress with quantitative data over time or against team averages. Use the data insights as coaching opportunities to celebrate achievements or discuss areas for improvement. 

Measure activity performed after-hours (between 6pm and 6am local time) and during weekends to identify employees who may be working too many hours. This can help identify those who are at risk for burnout  or can help managers become aware of possible unbalanced workloads across the teams and make adjustments. View productivity by weekly trends, in aggregate across teams, or in a heatmap grid for quick comparison of each individual team member.

Leveraging these kinds of insights can help you discover your team’s most productive hours, helping you to analyze trends and make refinements to better optimize your teams for success. 

Sharing these insights with individual team members and teams lets them truly understand their most productive times with their own real user data vs. just relying on hunches. Most employees want to be productive working on deep thought projects, solving problems, writing, or strategizing in the right hours. Working smarter, not harder, is a win-win for the organization and the employee. Scheduling specific activities or tasks during times that have proven to be more optimal for focused effort improves quality and success.. To the extent your work environment allows, protecting peak times from interruptions and other distractions such as ad-hoc meetings help productivity tremendously.

Keep in mind that some of the productivity valleys are just our body’s natural way of saying, “Hey, take a break.” You shouldn’t expect to eliminate all of your energy dips. However, being aware of them and working during your power hours makes a day more productive and enjoyable.

Here’s to working smarter, not longer.

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