As a student, you have a lot of work that you need to accomplish. You may wonder: when is the best time of the day to get your work done? Unfortunately, there is no one time of day that’s best for productivity because each person’s body ticks to a different clock. For some, waking up at the crack of dawn is a perfect time to start work, while others find their creative spark late into the evenings.
For adult learners balancing education with family, work or both, it is helpful to not only know when you work best but to structure your schedule accordingly. Get yourself on the right track by asking yourself if you are an early riser or a night owl. If you are unsure of which category you fall in – or somewhere in between – here are three steps to determine how to take advantage of your most productive time:
Think about your typical day from the moment you wake up to when you go to bed. When do you feel most motivated? Are you “on fire” during your morning classes, more plugged in after you get moving at mid-morning or best in the mid-afternoon or evening?
For example, if you are a parent attending school, your mornings might be occupied with getting your children ready for the day, whether they are staying home, going to daycare or getting ready for in-person or virtual school. As a result, you might consider the evening – after they have gone to bed – to be the best time to work on school assignments.
Refreshing yourself on standard time management skills can also help you recognize when you tend to be at your peak level of productiveness. While we would all love to have enough time in the day to accomplish everything, it’s not possible. Therefore, listen to your body’s clock for the best chance at productivity.
Most of us can already sense if we are night owls or early risers. You either gravitate to early mornings or late evenings or maybe for you, it is a mix of both. Once you figure out what works best for you, apply work time into your new schedule.
Put It into Action
Now it’s time to put this new work schedule to the test.
Start by planning out your assignments for the next week to give yourself a better idea of when to tackle them and stay organized. For example, if you know that you work better at night, try to stagger your smaller assignments during the day then save the bigger projects for the evening.
If you are still unsure of what time works for you, then here is your chance to be experimental. Try out a different working schedule for a week and observe its strengths and challenges. Perhaps staying up late helps with your writing assignments but creates problems for group projects since most of your teammates are asleep by then.
Whatever time works for you, take advantage of that creative spark by organizing your day around certain assignments. Sticking to a routine that works for you will promote productivity and alleviate procrastination in the long run.
Reflect on the Results
Take a moment at the end of your workweek and honestly ask yourself: Did it work? Did you feel in control of your assignments and feel productive throughout the day?
Ideally, the answer would be yes. When you find the right time, you will experience fewer mental blocks and feel confident in your time management ability. However, like most things, it is easier said than done. We all have off-days, which shouldn’t discourage you from adapting to another plan.
While a schedule based on productivity is ideal, make sure to take advantage of the times when you feel productive regardless of when it is. Even if you call yourself a morning person, that doesn’t mean you are limited to only working from 5 to 10 a.m. Stay open-minded to fitting in work when you are available and feel motivated.
As much as we try to avoid procrastination, sometimes we just fall into it during our busiest weeks. However, with these steps, you can discover your ideal time to get work done well and efficiently.