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Productive Hours


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#1 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2108

Posted 23 November 2011 - 03:58 AM

I notice that I am the most productive when it's past 12AM (like right now) -- meaning that my brain is starting to stay calm and think cool, and that's the time when I can do most of my productive activities. It's a bit of inconvenience as it's past bedtime. I don't want to go to sleep because I want to do more work, but I have to because I need to be up for work tomorrow morning.

Once, I created this unusual sleep cycle just so that I can stay up at 12AM. I'd go to sleep around 6PM, and have about 2-4 hours of sleep. Wake up around 9-10PM, stay awake till 3-4AM, then fall back to sleep again to wake up around 8, and go to work.


What's your productive hours, and how does that affect your schedule?

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#2 japro   Members   -  Reputation: 887

Posted 23 November 2011 - 04:28 AM

I always think I'm productive when working at like past midnight. But when I look at what I did the next day I'm often like "what was I thinking?"... Well, actually I tend to get a lot of stuff done in that time. But I ends up slightly messy. So if I wrote some text I always have to go over it the next day since there will be weird sentences that end differently than they started and funky typos etc.
I think what actually happens with me is that I somehow get very motivated and "into it" at that time, but I don't actually produce better results.

#3 fla   Members   -  Reputation: 474

Posted 23 November 2011 - 10:20 AM

I am also more productive at night, but I don't think that it's mainly a physical matter (indeed, I'm more tired), in my case it's because I have no interruptions in that time slot.
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#4 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2076

Posted 23 November 2011 - 10:55 AM

My most productive hours are when I'm at the office. It's not as much because it's a particular time of day but a sense of, 'this is what I should be doing here'. If I'm at home and there's a personal project that I want to work on I have to take myself out of the room where ordinarily I'd be playing games and watching TV otherwise I won't have the discipline to stay focused. The distractions don't have to be completely removed, I just need to be somewhere that feels like it's supposed to be a work space.

That being said, when it comes to programming, there's something about a mind when it isn't at what people would expect it to be at its optimal operating conditions that produces optimal results. This would be the classic example. I'm inclined to think that it has something to do with being in a state where you don't over think things as much as you would ordinarily. The result is that more work actually gets written down. The trick is to get enough things written down before you hit the point where everything you write down makes no sense.

#5 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 23 November 2011 - 10:58 AM

I'm similar in that I find myself more motivated to work after midnight, but similar to japro my technical work isn't the highest quality. I tend to think best in that period, the most creatively, so it's good for design and writing and stuff. But something like coding I find I do better in the mid afternoon or evening.

I try to avoid chopping up sleep time, as quality and type of sleep are more important than just tallying hours. But I hate that my best work time is locked up when I'm at the office, so I often stay up late and do a flurry of work, and try to do more technical design work on a notepad when things are slow at my job.

#6 Matias Goldberg   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3398

Posted 23 November 2011 - 11:09 AM

Similar schedule (from the original thread) here. Although I do find that sometimes I'm even more productive going early to bed and then waking up early (6-7 am), calmly drinking coffee and then going to the PC.

That having said, the time at which I'm serisously productive is after drinking a tiny glass of licour or whisky (or any other beberage with high alcohol in a small dose). It seems to grant me superhuman coding abilities. And I'm actually not kidding. My brightest lockless and highly scalable parallel algorithms have been coded under the influence of alcohol. Not only I write more code in fewer time, but the code itself contains less bugs than usual.
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#7 Sirisian   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1756

Posted 23 November 2011 - 11:15 AM

At night is when I seem to program the most. Take the past few nights. I stayed up until 5 AM then went into work at 10 AM then stay until 6. Seems to work well. I'm in the short sleeper group so it's never bothered me.

#8 achild   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1842

Posted 23 November 2011 - 11:25 AM

As soon as I wake up. This is so inconvenient because that is when I need to get my son ready for school, and get ready and go to work myself. Then, by the time I get to work, I can't focus any more :/

But for some reason, during that just-woke-up time, my brain works amazingly well, as long as I don't stop. It puts together things and solves problems in minutes that I would struggle with for far longer - even hours - at other times of the day (esp. after 12am).

#9 Yann L   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1798

Posted 23 November 2011 - 11:51 AM

I'm definitely most productive at night.

For me the reason is the total lack of external disturbances at night. At daytime, you are constantly interrupted by phone calls, emails, people coming into your office with stupid questions and whatnot. And even if you put that "don't disturb me or I'll rip your head off" sign on your office door, the simple fact of knowing that something could potentially interrupt you at any time puts your brain in an annoying state of alertness that disrupts this special kind of 'flow' you need for programming.

All that are non-issues at night. Your subconscious knows that no external event will interfere with your activity for hours on end. And that tremendously improves productivity for me.

#10 jjd   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2075

Posted 23 November 2011 - 03:04 PM

I don't really have times when I am most productive, but rather times when I am least productive (probably just splitting hairs). I found that I am least productive 1 hr before and after meal times. So 11am -- 1 pm is low productivity as is 5 pm -- 7 pm. This has a little bit to do with being hungry/full but it seems to be more a product of these being more social times of my day, i.e. I end up talking with people around those time. In any case, the result is that I find my mornings and evenings are the most productive times.

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#11 zedz   Members   -  Reputation: 291

Posted 23 November 2011 - 03:43 PM

doesnt really matter for me, though I dont get much done the hour or so after if Ive just travelled somewhere, (perhaps cause I normally bike/run & need my body to recover)

#12 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7278

Posted 23 November 2011 - 04:38 PM

Unless you have something which can disturb you then 'productive hours' are nothing more than a learned habit and purely psycological.

I'm most productive when I decided to be and do something to adjust my brain so that it is happy to do so; this basically involves putting on some music + headphones and sitting down to do something.

This too is nothing more than an associative trick; I code listening to music, thus when I list to music I'm transported into the correct mindset to code.

The music thing also works well at work as it cuts out distractions, invokes the same mental status change and makes it less likely people will bother you with idle talk when you've got things to do.

#13 Krohm   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3119

Posted 24 November 2011 - 02:16 AM

Mostly 0930-1230 for me. If the S/N ratio is good enough I will also churn out some good effort 1500-1730. I've given up on peaking and I'm trying to improve on average performance, multitasking abilities and such.

#14 Gaiiden   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5178

Posted 24 November 2011 - 02:30 AM

This was a poll topic numerous time back in the day. One of the poll results was messed up but here are the other two:

From which hours do you do your best work?
When are you most alert and creative for working on projects?

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Executive Producer
GameDev.net


#15 Nytegard   Members   -  Reputation: 820

Posted 24 November 2011 - 08:28 AM

Unless you have something which can disturb you then 'productive hours' are nothing more than a learned habit and purely psycological.


I can't agree with this. I'm not a morning person by any means, and regardless of how much sleep I get, I can't hold a thought for about the first 2-3 hours that I'm up. Even with caffeine, it takes awhile before my concentration is good enough that I can do anything. In the evening though, I'm wide awake and can focus, even despite distractions. Typically I can get more done from around 9 PM - midnight than 7 am-4 pm.

#16 JDX_John   Members   -  Reputation: 284

Posted 24 November 2011 - 04:17 PM


Unless you have something which can disturb you then 'productive hours' are nothing more than a learned habit and purely psycological.


I can't agree with this. I'm not a morning person by any means, and regardless of how much sleep I get, I can't hold a thought for about the first 2-3 hours that I'm up. Even with caffeine, it takes awhile before my concentration is good enough that I can do anything. In the evening though, I'm wide awake and can focus, even despite distractions. Typically I can get more done from around 9 PM - midnight than 7 am-4 pm.

If you're going to sleep after midnight and getting up at 7am, you are sleep deprived. One long sleep won't cure chronic sleep deprivation.

I think that while you may find concentration hard in the morning, it is still a learned habit. I bet if you were in a combat zone or some emergency, you would think fast as soon as you were awake!

If it really takes 3 hours before you can hold a thought, that would worry me personally. How much sleep, how good sleep, how much coffee you drink, yada yada. It shouldn't be like that.



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#17 SteveDeFacto   Banned   -  Reputation: 109

Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:36 PM

I notice that I am the most productive when it's past 12AM (like right now) -- meaning that my brain is starting to stay calm and think cool, and that's the time when I can do most of my productive activities. It's a bit of inconvenience as it's past bedtime. I don't want to go to sleep because I want to do more work, but I have to because I need to be up for work tomorrow morning.

Once, I created this unusual sleep cycle just so that I can stay up at 12AM. I'd go to sleep around 6PM, and have about 2-4 hours of sleep. Wake up around 9-10PM, stay awake till 3-4AM, then fall back to sleep again to wake up around 8, and go to work.


What's your productive hours, and how does that affect your schedule?


Since I work at night my productive hours are during the day before work. I think it's just a matter of having time to get in to the mood.

#18 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 875

Posted 25 November 2011 - 08:50 AM

I think that while you may find concentration hard in the morning, it is still a learned habit. I bet if you were in a combat zone or some emergency, you would think fast as soon as you were awake!

I suspect the physiological affects of adrenaline and so on have a significant effect in that situation, and that it isn't simply "learned" or psychological.
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#19 phantom   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7278

Posted 25 November 2011 - 07:30 PM


Unless you have something which can disturb you then 'productive hours' are nothing more than a learned habit and purely psycological.


I can't agree with this. I'm not a morning person by any means, and regardless of how much sleep I get, I can't hold a thought for about the first 2-3 hours that I'm up. Even with caffeine, it takes awhile before my concentration is good enough that I can do anything. In the evening though, I'm wide awake and can focus, even despite distractions. Typically I can get more done from around 9 PM - midnight than 7 am-4 pm.


It has nothing to do with 'how much sleep' you get, it is all about what you are use to doing; pure habit nothing more. This will have been something you came to over a number of years as such simply going to sleep early and getting up expecting to magically be able to focus isn't going to cut it.

When I was a school kid I would get up at 7am and be in school for 9am, my productivity already ready to go. Over the years I slowly got into the habit of getting up later and later until, in my early 20s, I was getting up at 2pm each day and if I got up before then, regardless of how much sleep I had had, I couldn't get my brain to kick in at all before it would normally. Once I got a job and was forced to work at 'normal' hours I adjusted this, it took a while and for the first few months I was basically useless before 1pm, but after a while I could crawl out of bed at 9:30am and be on the ball by 10am when I got into work.

Due to F1 times I spent a week getting up at 7am and going to bed at 11pm; my normal cycle is somewhat closer to sleep at 1 or 2am and up again at 8:30 to 9:30am. Every morning, despite getting 8h sleep, I would wake up and feel tired still and had to force myself to get up. My mantra for that week was 'you have had 8 hours sleep, feeling tired is just psycological' and two days in I had adapted and was just as productive earlier.

My point is it is possible to change your 'productive time' it is simply a matter of reprogramming your brain so that you can enter that zone; I use music to make it easier but simply forcing yourself to work would probably function just as well.

Now, I am of course assuming everyone can do this and I assume I'm not "special" in anyway... maybe due to the way I grew up I'm perticually adapt at adjusting my own brain and its internal chemistry to suite my needs.. however I suspect this isn't the case and I'm willing to bet with some practise anyone could do it, at best I just might find it easier than most :)

#20 blueEbola   Members   -  Reputation: 464

Posted 26 November 2011 - 02:41 AM

I'm the same way. I'm most productive and creative at around the 11pm/midnight hours. I think it's a mixture of things.. the lack of distractions is certainly a big part of it. Definitely allows me to focus a lot easier. I've always been a night person, and I am not a morning person by any means.


I'm actually very fortunate, in that my job allows me to work a very flexible schedule (I work remotely 3-4 days a week, only in the office a day or two out of each week). So I tend to split my work hours up: I'll work 5-6 hours in the morning/day, and then later at night I follow up with another 3 hours usually starting at around 10:30pm. It works really well for me: I'm there most of the time to answer emails, calls, and collaborate during the day, but I do really focused development later on in the evening. I find that I get a lot more done with a schedule like this (instead of a standard 8-5 cubicle prison type schedule).




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