Leaders: Smart Ways to Increase Productivity


Most of us are familiar with the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

His wisdom has stood the test of time. And it still rings true today for those looking to maximize their daily productivity.

But what about this:

  • If we want to make the most of our days, how do we determine what time of day our minds and bodies are most productive?
  • Most importantly, once we have this knowledge, how can we use it to our benefit?


[proh-duhk-tiv-i-tee] noun

1. the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services: The productivity of the group’s effort surprised everyone.

Timing is Everything

If we want to maximize our time each day, it’s imperative to know when our minds and bodies are firing on all cylinders.

  • Some of us are morning people
  • Some are night owls
  • Others might do their best work around their 10 A.M. coffee break

It’s valuable to recognize our bodies’ own rhythms and take advantage of this natural surge of energy.

Power Hours

Here’s a good way to gauge your personal energy levels and find your “power hours.” Map out the day from the time you typically wake up to the time you wind down according to two-hour time slots. For example 6-8 A.M., 8-10 A.M. and so on.

Now take into consideration when you naturally have the most energy, have a heightened sense of urgency to complete tasks, or feel most creative.

Be honest with yourself. This simple exercise can provide a road map to more effectively plan your day.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, research has shown most people accomplish the least in the two hours following lunch. It’s hard to say whether this can be blamed on a heavy meal or a long break from the office, but it might be a case for disbanding “working lunches” altogether.

Why it’s Important

Now that you’ve mapped out your power hours, the next question is simple: What’s the big deal? Well, knowing when you’re most productive can impact many areas of life personally and professionally.

First, if you can structure phone calls, meetings, follow-up, and presentations at the office around your most energetic times of day, you’re already one step ahead. You will have more clarity, more tenacity, more willpower to complete the task at hand.

Taking control of your time means you maximize your time.

Next, consider your personal relationships. If you can more effectively manage your time at work and home, you will be happier.

In a blog article by Frances Wade entitled, “Can Happiness Be Created with Proper Time Management?” he noted researchers who study happiness actually determined people are happier when they carve out blocks of time daily to work on time management and cutting out distractions so we can focus on the importance of the task at hand or conversation at hand.

This leads to better relationships with your spouse, friends, and colleagues. Planning our days effectively allows us to be more engaged at work and at home.

Major Keys to Boost Productivity

To boost overall brain power, we must take care of our bodies.

Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition put it this way:

“(When people don’t eat right) the number one thing that happens is they become less energetic, less able to think clearly and less able to do their jobs. Productivity will go down when you’re not eating properly and nutrition is very, very important for mental activity and to maintain productivity.”

Other helpful ways to boost your physical and mental stamina include

  • Regular exercise
  • Getting enough sleep at night
  • Regulated napping
  • Reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Engaging in stress management techniques

Another wise man named Paul Meyer says this:

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

Knowing our natural energy patterns, harnessing our schedules, and taking good care of our physical bodies will allow us to make the most of our time each day.


Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadershipsubscribe today!
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders™


Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web

Image Sources: notes.envato.com

L2L Contributing Author


  1. Dr. Scott Simmerman on February 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    It’s funny, but when I read “regular exercise,” I often think of Steven Hawking. Go figure… And there is an irony that when I am at my most creative for thinking of new ideas, it is often when I am sitting at a boring conference presentation. Lots of anchors and perceptual realities and all that operating, I guess.

    My thought when I read the title was that this was about workplace productivity and not individual stuff. For me, the 6 best tips for improving energy and organizational performance are these: