What is your optimal time of day, night owl or early bird?

Last Update: April 02, 2014

There are many hours to choose from in a day, but not all are created equal when it comes to being productive, creative or simply awake!

With our hectic schedules, it is hard to respect the suggested work/eat/sleep guidelines or our own circadian rhythm, better known as our ''body clock''.

Most of us will say we are doing our best, but that might not be good enough. A research, done by the University of Southern California, shows that the disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity.


Hum...well maybe we should consider these guidelines (men/women in general):

Cognitive work: Best performed in the late morning. Working memory, alertness and concentration are at their peak.

Focus & concentration: Best performed no later than noon. Most of us are easily distracted between 12h00 and 16h00

Alertness: Best performed before a meal. Alertness diminishes after eating a meal. Sleepiness is nearby with it's popular 14h00 arrival. Time for a nap!

Creativity & insight problem solving: Best performed at off-peak times!? Yes, fatigue may boost creativity. Being less focused can allow us to consider ''outside the box'' ideas and/or solutions.

I'm writing a blog at 24h00, I might be living proof of this last guideline. ;)


For all the social media users, the following research results can be of high interest:

Sending emails: Sent at 06h00, messages are most likely to be read first and beat the inbox rush of the day.

Reading Twitter: Between 08h00 and 09h00, that's when users are sending their most upbeat and enthusiastic messages after a good night sleep. (On weekends, make that 1 1/2 hours later, we are sleeping in! :) )

Re-tweeting: For your tweets to be re-tweeted the most times, posting them from 15h00 to 18h00 will increase the chances. Users lack the energy to write their own, so they will turn to re-tweeting those of others.

Posting to Facebook: Posts published after 20h00 get the most ''likes''. People want to unwind after work/dinner, so they will turn to diversions such as social media.

Drama and strong emotions are shared between 22h00 and 23h00, you may want to steer clear of this time frame!


Care to take a quiz to find out what your peak and off-peak hours are?

Try the Automated Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire:

http://www.cet-hosting.com/limesurvey/index.php?sid=61524

I am a moderate evening type, 1 point away from being a definite evening type.

That makes sense, it is now 12h30, I'm off to have desert and watch Late Night with Seth Meyers!

Good night WA members (Good morning to the ones across the ocean)!

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Damien Lane Premium
Ok, G you asked;

The Heading is not captivating enough in the sea of headings you are competing with for eyeballs. Actually, I don’t even recall getting a notification for this post & I would have, so the fact that I don’t even remember the heading means it didn't grab me.

The main thing us greedy homosapeans are skimming hundreds of headings a day for is something that will grab our attention - because I am going to “GET” something for “ME”. A product or information that will ease my pain / bring me joy.

When I see ‘What is your optimal time of day, night owl or early’ ~ I think to myself ‘Meh, Night, I guess, & move on. I not only am not enticed to start reading, I am not even tempted to click on the link. Something like “Enhance your productivity ~ time poor entrepreneurs need to read this” (not great, but better).

There is top content here G, though we both miss out, you lose a reader & I don’t get to see your helpful content, simply because out of the hundreds of email I see in a day yours didn't grab me by the scruff of the neck & say “READ ME, PICK ME. I'VE GOT SOMETHING REALLY AMAZING TO TELL YOU THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND / EASY YOUR PAIN / MAKE YOU LAUGH”.

Once you establish a connection with the headline, then ‘Engagement is the key’. Because, remember I still have those hundreds of mail to sort, kids to feed, my tv show starts in ten (do tv’s still exist? whatever ~ you get my point). So grip the reader from the start. You've done this reasonably well for me, I have looked into this sleep thing a bit, so no surprises in the first few blocks of content for me (for your target audience it’s hard for me to say, though I imagine it would be valuable info for many).

You do engage with;

‘I'm writing a blog at 24h00, I might be living proof of this last guideline. ;)’

Which personalises things nicely, though think song ‘hook’ here, this is more Simon & Garfunkel than ‘Samurai’ ~ yes.. Need to be punchy for the young & old kids today.

Your language is friendly in this piece, though a little restrained for me. For eg, an interesting bit of data that you did make a good joke (engage), with;

‘Drama and strong emotions are shared between 22h00 and 23h00, you may want to steer clear of this time frame!

Though just step it up a notch;

I don’t know, can’t think of a good example currently it’s 1am here, my brains liquid…. hey, that's more grabby….. Wrong example though…. maybe something like ~ All the drama queens are preparing for & creating the juicy goss at this time, to unleash on the unsuspecting early birds tomorrow… Again not a great example - hope you get the idea.

Nice engagement at the end - as in directing the data to the audience, In a friendly conversational way. Good read for mine G, nice and short & no fluff.

Last suggesting, dig up some hard to find bizaro/unusual kind of fact relating to your topic… Something that does not show up in the first 3 or 4 pg’s of a google search. Our planet is in constant motion & people are in various points of these cycles simultaneously - use the weirdness inherent in such facts...

Possibly, something like.....(?) how traders have to deal with being at the best time to work in their own country, while working with others half way around the globe - & how this affects daily market fluctuations according to “XYZ”. which then could be a ‘hook’ to use in your title - ‘the Japanese market loses $x million / day due to circadian rhythm mismatches….(?). Not good examples though, hope you can take something home anyway G.

Good job I say ;)
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DNTL Premium
Wow Damien, millions of thanks! That's the best constructive criticism ever, you are very generous. Everything makes sense, as I was reading, I was going ah for sure! I really appreciate your time. I will be applying this advice (hopefully so) in my writing, practice makes perfect. Simon & Garfunkel, hilarious, advice and humour, awesome! Off to lunch, you're probably off to bed, will pm you later. Merci beaucoup!
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Damien Lane Premium
Feeoooouuuuw, you'd be surprised how I have to hold my breath after 'helping' someone. I often get the feeling people think I'm ripping them apart for my own entertainment (hmmm, it can be amusing sometimes.....not).

This may well be the best response to a critique I've received G... Good onya, nice to know both your & my time was not wasted. It's ~ 2:30am in the sunshine state, a few dozen more mail then I'm going to fall of this stool & snore ;)
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DNTL Premium
Anybody who leaves comments equal or longer than the actual subject deserves big props! :). 2 hours have passed, I hope for you, you're snoring the night away.
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Damien Lane Premium
zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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AnnieB Premium
Mornings are spent getting ready for school, walking dogs and my exercise. Then into it - action station for me is in the morning. After school it's bits here and there. In other words, a washout - dinners, homework, anything and everything else.

I like to have a daily action list that I've written the night before. Helps me to achieve.
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DNTL Premium
That's a great idea! A daily action list, with that in hand you have no choice but to be productive.
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rodkrug Premium
Great info. I took the quiz and I am the same as you. I prefer the evening time as to the morning time. However I do on occasion enjoy watching the sun come up while drinking a cup of coffee with my wife on the deck. Thank you for sharing.
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DNTL Premium
Thanks! That's a lovely moment you share with your wife. I'm not ready for sunrises yet, I'll stick with sunsets. ;)
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jovandi Premium
OK - good afternoon down under. Guess what - time of day is less important for me personally. I believe I am sharper at 5:00 am (when I start running) and great when I start work anytime after 7:30 am. But then - I can have very deep and meaningful discussions late at night as well. I found location has far more impact on my ability to see things more clearly. I used to fly a lot (as a passenger) and spent thousands of hours in a plane. (Australia to Europe and/or USA takes a very long time). When you are at 42,000 feet - you feel like you are a great distance away from everything (well you are really). But at that distance I always got great insights on my business (I was a GM & VP) and it enabled me to see things more clearly. Perhaps it was the thin air - but I always collected (and wrote down) tons of ideas while flying which I could then later use in my business.
Cheers - John.
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DNTL Premium
Thanks for sharing! The point you bring up about location is interesting, I would not have thought about this factor. Have a great afternoon! :)
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