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Productivity tips: What’s the best time of day to do each task in work?

3 Jul 2020

You have a to-do list as long as your arm, but where do you start? And is there a right order that could help improve your productivity?

It’s important not to overwork yourself, especially during these stressful times. However, for those who still want some productivity advice – not to overstuff their day, but to simply use their time more efficiently – we may be able to help you out.

There are many schools of thought about how to structure your workday and tackle your tasks, many of which start with taking on the biggest task first. However, for those who find themselves more productive in the afternoon, perhaps this method should be inverted.

As with most productivity tips and tools, giving several approaches a try and seeing which ones work best for you is usually the optimal way of finding your rhythm. However, if you’re looking for some inspiration, some studies claim that there is in fact a peak time to do certain tasks, which might help you find your own routine.

According to research cited in the infographic below from Headway Capital, the best time to send important emails is at 7am in the morning, when reply rates are at their highest. If you want to have these emails ready to go, you could write them the day before and schedule them to send before you even start your day.

For employees looking to upskill or managers hoping to train their team, the infographic points to research that says learning is most effective when the brain is in ‘acquisition’ mode, which happens between 10am and 2pm, so this is a good time to schedule any workshops or improve skills.

Other research suggests leaving smaller decision-making tasks until the afternoon, because decision-making is faster at that time of day but may also be less accurate. This can be an effective way of clearing some low-stake decisions off your plate.

For more advice, check out the infographic below or click here to view it as a larger image.

An infographic showing the peak times of the day when you should do tasks at work.

Infographic: Headway Capital

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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