(Frankly, I’m not sure about any of this. Maybe there would be more validity if I had taken it when I was middle-aged and had the energy to rebound and peak. As a seenager I seem to be in the slowdown phase, perpetually.)
Let me explain . . .
What’s the best time to Think?
Daniel Pink* (born in 1964 and he’s NOT a seenager) says our ability to think changes throughout the day, consequently we function better, smarter and even more creative at various times. Research suggests these effects can be as large as 20%.
Generally, we have a peak, a slowdown and a rebound during the day.
- Most people are at their peak function during the late morning, till about noon. We think and focus the best then. We don’t get distracted as easily.
- Early to mid afternoon we are less alert and focused-this is the time for “busy work”.
- In the late afternoon to early evening we rebound. We are more easily distracted though, which turns out to be good for creativity – problem solving and creative thinking. Our mood tends to be up and we are alert. Note that night owls have this time in the morning.
One in 5 people is a night owl, then the order is reversed–rebound, slowdown, peak.
(Frankly, I’m not sure about any of this. I’m a night owl person. My morning rebound lasts until about 3 pm, followed by a slowdown until 11 pm when I go to bed. My peak performance occurs undoubtedly while I’m sleeping.)
What’s the best time to Exercise?
When is best time to exercise? Depends on your goals-here is Pink’s guide:
- Morning exercise is best for losing weight –since blood sugar is low before we eat, we will burn fat – even 20% more fat than later exercise
- Cardio in morning will boost your mood, and doing this in the morning lets you enjoy the boost longer
- It is easier to have a routine in the morning that later in the day.
- Late afternoon exercise is best for avoiding injury, since your muscles are warmed up
- You also perform your best in the afternoon ( one study by Elise Facer-Childs and Ronald Brandstaetter at U. Of Birmingham in 2015 showed a 26% difference. Lung function is highest and strength peaks at this time, reaction time is quick and eye hand coordination is at its best. This time of day is when athletic records tend to be set-late afternoon to early evening. You tend to enjoy your workout more at this time.
(Frankly, I’m not sure about any of this. I’m a night owl person. Since my morning rebound lasts until about 3 pm, followed by a slowdown until 11 pm when I go to bed. I should be exercising while I’m sleeping which will ensure I enjoy it more.)
How to stay happy and productive
Take short breaks-this helps keep you able to focus, especially when you move during the breaks. Taking a 5 minute walk every hour will increase your energy, focus and mood, lessening afternoon fatigue. It’s better than one 30 min. walk. Researchers at Stanford found motivation, concentration and creativity went up with short walking breaks.
(Frankly, I’m not sure about any of this. Peggy told me this is how we evolved – pick some food from a plant, walk a bit, pick more food . . . I tried this and gained 10 pounds which depressed me and now I’m going to bed to sleep at 3 pm when my slowdown starts.)
Pink says social breaks are the best as they increase mood and decrease stress. The best breaks may be ones in nature, people feel happier and more rested.
(Frankly, I’m not sure about any of this. I could take a social break but I don’t think my husband would appreciate my asking anyone else to bed)
Peggy made Mood Tracker charts to help me pinpoint my daily energy swings.
Click HERE to get a PDF and print your own chart and instructions.
Sample Mood Chart & Tracker
Wall Street Journal article Feb. 16, 2018,
*“How to be Healthier, Happier and More Productive: It’s All in the Timing” by Daniel H. Pink