Using the Circadian Rhythm to Increase Productivity

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We all have 24 hours. However, the use of time differentiates us. Most people wish they could have more than 24 hours daily so they can get more done. What if that wasn’t necessary? What if there was a way to get more out of each day? 

The circadian rhythm presents you with an opportunity to improve your productivity and get more done.

What is the Circadian Rhythm?

The circadian rhythm is your internal biological clock that determines your sleep cycle and energy levels throughout the day. It has a direct relationship with your ability to focus, attention, learn new skills, and work memory. 

There is evidence to suggest that patterning your daily activities in tandem with your energy level can help you get more out of each day. Of course, there is some individual variation in the circadian rhythm when it comes to nightwalkers (owls) and morning people (larks). However, that doesn’t change the fact that you should plan your most important activities for the time when you’re most energetic.

How to Use the Circadian Rhythm to Improve Productivity


From the early hours of the day, most people take a few hours to reach their peak levels of alertness and energy just before lunch. The peak energy level begins to decline, hitting its lowest around 3 pm.

After 3 pm, alertness begins to increase again, hitting another peak energy level at 6 pm. Afterwards, it continues to decline for the rest of the day and until 3:30a.m the next day. From this point, it picks up again and repeats the same cycle.

To improve productivity, you should aim to perform your most important tasks (in terms of energy and mental requirements) during your peak energy periods while leaving the less important ones till when your energy has dipped. 

Also, you should build in naps and flextime into your schedule during the off-peak periods. These can allow your body to regain more energy momentarily so you can do more.

Bottom Line

Build your schedule around your circadian rhythm. Rest and do minimally exhausting activities like reading emails, chatting, and checking your social media during off-peak energy periods. Leave tasking activities during peak energy periods. Add this to your principles of living, and people will soon be asking you how you can get so much done in a day.

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