If your 9-to-5 routine is starting to grind you down, consider working with your biological rhythms. Knowing your body’s rhythms will help maximize your productivity in those hours, Rachel Feltman writes. Feltman’s tips include:
• Wake up at the same time every day.
• Put off the caffeine for a little bit. Cortisol, a hormone responsible for alertness, begins to rise when you wake up, so the coffee will be redundant at first. Instead, wait till about 9:30 a.m., when cortisol levels dip.
• Send emails before you leave the house, especially ones that don’t require an immediate response. People check email early in the morning, but they don’t necessarily respond then. Sending your email early will give them time to think about it.
• Drink some coffee at the office and then do your toughest work from 9 a.m. to noon. “University of Southern California biologist Steve Kay told The Wall Street Journal that most adults do their best focused work in the late morning,” Feltman writes. “Rising body temperature gives concentration, memory, and alertness a boost. All of those benefits start to decline around noon—especially after a meal.”
• Eat lunch away from your desk, if possible. Take a walk and get some fresh air to re-energize.
• Cortisol dips again about 2 p.m., so this is a great time for more caffeine and checking email again. Many people check in after lunch, so this is the perfect time to send emails that require a quick response.
• Save creative tasks for the end of the day. As your attention and energy wane, your imagination increases.
— Adapted from “The complete guide to structuring your ideal work day,” Rachel Feltman, Quartz.