Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Time of Day Are You Least Productive?

Survey says late afternoon.

According to a new Accountemps survey of senior managers, late afternoon is the most common time for workers to hit a wall.

The worst times of day include 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., when 37 percent said their employees were least productive. Coming in second was 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., as cited by 28 percent of respondents.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.

Managers were asked, "In general, what is the least productive time of day for employees?"

Their responses:

8 a.m. to 10 a.m. 10%

10 a.m. to noon 4%

Noon to 2 p.m. 19%

2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 28%

4 p.m. to 6 p.m. 37%

Don't know 2%

Accountemps also offereds five tips to help professionals avoid the afternoon slump and maximize productivity:

1. Plan ahead. Don't push challenging projects off until the end of the day, when your energy may wane. Use your less-energetic periods to catch up on more routine tasks, such as responding to e-mails and reading industry publications.

2. Get out and smell the roses. If you feel your energy beginning to dip, stretch or take a short walk to recharge. Try eating your meals or holding afternoon meetings outside.

3. Eat well. Remember to make time for lunch and nutritious snacks throughout your workday. Avoid high-carb foods, which can cause you to crash later.

4. Track goals. Keep a to-do list to remain focused, and ensure it's visible on your desk so you can check items off as they're completed. There's nothing more motivating than making progress on your projects.

5. Switch gears. If you're struggling to focus, take a quick break and research something new. Changing tasks can help increase your productivity late in the day.

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