Office Time: How Much Does An Hour Difference Make?

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain

Although he didn’t use the terms, “efficient” or “effective”, that’s what Mark Twain was referring to in his quote. Sometimes the hurdles employee face during the workday are more biological than task-driven. Everyone is more alert and energetic at a particular time of day. When workplace efficiency and productivity suffer, it may not be the work that’s the problem. The real problem may be with your own body telling you that adjustments need to be made.

Know Your Own Biological Clock

Our bodies have a powerful “clock” working inside us at all times, creating periods of peak and less productive moments. The term for this biological clock, is “circadian rhythm”.

If you are a “morning person”, your body is most alert and efficient early in the day. If that describes you, an 8 to 5 job is ideal. However, some people perform better in the afternoon, needing more rest in the morning. For them, a later start may help them be more productive.

In order to be the most productive and effective for yourself, and your employer, tackle your biggest and hardest jobs when you are at your best. While it’s possible to self-adjust your biological clock somewhat, finding ways to work with your natural rhythm is healthier. A slight switch in your work schedule, may be the most effective way to reach your optimal productivity.

What are the Benefits of an 8 to 5 Job Schedule?

If you are more productive earlier in the morning, an 8 to 5 job may be better for you related to your biological clock.

There are other benefits to working this schedule. One benefit is that by working an 8 to 5 schedule, your work hours may more closely coincide with your family’s needs, especially if you have children. This allows you to be more focused and efficient during the day. It also provides you the valuable family, or personal time, you need after work.

Would a 9 to 6 Job Work Better for Me?

Pay attention to your body’s rhythm, and notice if you are most effective earlier, or later, in the day. If you find yourself sluggish and having difficulties getting started early, a 9 to 6 job may be a better choice. Wasting valuable time getting awake, gives you less time to complete your work. Your employer will notice the problem.

If you find it difficult to get moving early, consider switching to a later schedule. Just an hour difference in your start, can mean a huge improvement in your productivity.

In your family life, a 9 to 6 job can also be a benefit, leading to better focus while at work. Starting later in the morning can give you extra time to get ready, and focus on yourself, or family. This extra time would allow you to have a relaxed breakfast together. Or, the extra hour might give you time for yourself, or to run errands. With the peace of mind that comes from this efficiency, you will find you are more focused and productive at work.

The Greek philosopher Socrates has been credited with the saying, “Know thyself.” Knowing yourself is the key to being an efficient, effective, and productive employee. Pay attention to what work schedule is best for you. Have a discussion with your supervisor to see if a change is possible.

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(About the Author: Mary Isabale is a career expert and experienced hiring manager. She has written more than 100 articles on career advancement and unemployment issues.)


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