Struggling to maintain a productive schedule?
Not got the motivation to get everything done on your list each day?
Many people have a “case of the Mondays” and other times where distractions trump productivity. I certainly do. For me thoughts of “If only I could alter my schedule” turned into “I should change my schedule.”
How to Change Your Schedule for Better Productivity
In most instances where you may feel like you hate your job, or are unproductive, some altering of scheduling can make a world of difference.
Here are 6 ways you can change your schedule in order to achieve better productivity throughout your work day.
1. Balancing the Most Optimal Shifts with Necessity
If you work a normal Monday thru Friday schedule, but Monday isn’t your day, consider making that a day off.
In my previous job, Monday’s proved to be wasted days. Client needs were low, amount of staff was high and that created a general lethargy. Saturdays, with no staff, opened an opportunity to switch to Tuesday through Saturday.
The employer loved that because it expanded service without increasing payroll. Having Monday off gave me time for household chores and errands, allowing weekends to be more relaxed.
2. No Plan Can Be Too Unorthodox
Where you have odd jobs, extra part time work, weird rotating schedules, sacrificing personal time may be necessary. If it’s not worth a big sacrifice, consider whether the endeavor is ultimately worth it.
My current schedule squeezes in a part time job early on Thursday mornings, for which I wake up at midnight. The schedule is not ideal and it’s an intimidating proposition, but the reward is worth the sacrifice in my opinion.
How I make it work has been astonishing to my cohorts.
Though it’s only one early day per week, going to bed slightly earlier each day (10:00 PM on Monday, 8:00 PM on Tuesday, 6:00 PM on Wednesday) creates an opportunity for six hours of sleep even waking up at midnight on Thursdays.
While waking up at midnight may sound like an exercise in torture, it is followed by a sharp increase in productivity as the week plays on.
3. Scientific Support for Night Owls
There is certainly a method to the unorthodox madness of alternative sleep schedules. There is a lot of support for staying up late actually.
In college, students often use late night hours for completing coursework because it is the only option. The end result is the awarding of degrees, proving that doing whatever works can be a strategy.
Some of my most well-received work was written in the middle of the night.
Professors noted that many writers work well past midnight, when the creative juices really flow.
Turns out the professor’s weren’t just giving encouragement to be weird. Science may support the night owls.
Australian research on stroke victims determined that the human brain learns more effectively in the evening. It even seems night thought processes are an adaptation for organisms to avoid predators in the dark.
A Spanish study on simulated driving found “evening-types” drove worse in the morning and that circadian rhythms appear to have a correlation with motor tasks, such as operating vehicles.
The research suggested that employers should adapt work schedules based on employees’ natural time of day tendencies, particularly in high-risk professions such as pilots, taxi drivers and nuclear power station workers.
A sleep quality study of morning-ness and evening-ness of shift nurses in Taiwan ultimately came to the implication that it was significant to determine whether a nurse was a morning or evening type based on sleep issues before deciding the proper shift assignment.
In sum, this basically suggests that some people are morning people, some people are night people, but it makes the most sense to do your most important tasks at the time that is best for your own nature.
4. Working When the Mood Strikes
It’s no secret that the brain is quite complex and, in fact, circadian rhythms vary with age and across gender to some degree. Sleep patterns are controlled by biological clocks, which feature many aspects of personality and intellectual performance.
The hormone melatonin assists circadian rhythms regulation of sleep cycles, body temperature, and blood pressure. This is why adding melatonin, via drug store supplement, moves the biological clock ahead in the sleep cycle and can work as a sleeping pill.
The sleep cycle helps the brain anticipate day, night and seasonal changes.
The ability to predict different periods of time has been significant for the survival and thriving of animals and plants. What humans think of as “day length” is crucial to an awareness of time and place.
Most significantly, it is a biological clock that humans, and all other organisms, operate from. The precise time of the clock on the wall is irrelevant compared to the body clock.
Applying such concepts, makes the late week production on an early schedule make sense being that I was also a late night student. On my Thursday schedule, noon for my body clock becomes like 7:00 at night.
This creates an “in the zone” feel later in the day, approaching what feels more like midnight, where I am at my most productive.
This said, a work schedule that would allow enough flexibility to work when you wanted, sleep when you wanted, eat when wanted, should provide for the maximum production.
5. Working in the Most Ideal Setting
As an ever increasing portion of the workforce shifts to a work-from-home or more mobile strategy,
employees should be able to maximize productivity by shifting toward more appropriate personal schedules. In the way that online learning has taken hold, modern work schedules are adding some flexibility for people to get work done at their most optimal times and places.
For some people, particularly those who have problems focusing, working from home can be too distracting.
However, there are many ways to change perspectives and work from home without going nuts, such as implementing a hard start time, a dedicated work space and other rituals like making coffee and reading the paper as a normal work-type morning.
Finding a shared space with other work-from-homers can help each other stay on track and make work feel less independent or directionless. There are any number of organizational ways to manage the time of working away from a traditional office.
Technology hasn’t just helped create a home-based system.
It has also provided tools for more self-realizing full potential. Cell phones now can use an app to uncover hidden talents. With things like the Thinking Tools app, a person can uncover their analytic, innovative, procedural or relational sides.
With such tools, find out what place, time and other conditions work the best for you. In other words, another end toward a more objective, mindful approach to maximize productivity.
The only bad thing about such inventions is possibly taking the thinking process away from humans, but no doubt knowing who you truly are and how you’re most effective really amps up the potential to be all the more productive.
6. Mindfulness and Self-Direction
Employees can be responsible to figure out their own preferences. Since all other life forms are more productive on their own terms, there is some encouragement for employers to adapt work schedules in the best interest for all involved.
Critically, people become more aware of themselves, their rhythms, and natural tendencies to know when, where and how to create an approach for the most productive outcomes.
Whether that be changing a work schedule, sleep schedule, or changing a job entirely, there is an answer to an unproductive situation.
If the employee can hone in on what makes their clock tick for peak performance, it shouldn’t be hard to convince an employer of their needs.
Knowing all of this, maybe I have figured the cure for my weekly case of the Mondays: wake up at midnight!