Prime time, 8pm-11pm, is defined as the period of maximum productivity when advertisers pay a premium because more viewers are tuning in.
Deion Sanders, elected in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, earned the nickname “Prime Time” for his ability to perform at a peak level during the biggest games.
In his book, The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey explores a number of productivity hacks. He refers to one of them as Biological Prime Time (BPT), a term he picked up from Sam Carpenter’s book, Work the System (available in PDF for free here.)
Tracking Your BPT
The concept is relatively simple. When do you have maximum energy, ability to focus and motivation? We all have a general awareness as to whether we are an early riser or a night owl, however, Biological Prime Time is more sophisticated than that.
Bailey deprived himself of caffeine and alcohol then tracked his energy, focus and motivation for 21 days from 6am-9pm. He charted the results.
He had peaks in the early morning, late morning and early evening.
When I paid attention to my biological clock I found my Biological Prime Time to peak at 6am, 9am and 2pm. After dinner, I am at Biological Flat Line. 🙂
Assuming you assess your own BPT,what do you do with this information? Here are a few ideas.
Perform more difficult and higher leverage activities during your BPT.
For example, I write articles at 5:30 or 6am directly after writing in my Five Minute Journal.
For me, writing requires maximum energy, focus and motivation. Most writers would agree. You inner voice will pipe in, “someone has already written about that topic…” or “no one cares what I have to say…” This is so wrong!*
Avoid email during BPT.
Prior to implementation of BPT I would jump right into my email inbox. Without realizing it, I would burn through my most highly productive time!
Checking email doubly damages your productivity. Why? Because email is where everyone adds their action items to your to-do list.
Understanding your BPT also enables you to happier and healthier.
Exercise during a lull.
Dan Pink explored this topic in a recent article for the Wall Street Journal. He quoted authors of Rhythms of Life who said extremes in performance between BPT and low productivity points can be equal to driving while intoxicated.
You know you should exercise regularly but have trouble following through. How can you use the concept of BPT to increase your commitment?
Depending on your BPT, try exercising after work or first thing in the morning. (Don’t wait until you are at a valley because you may opt for the couch instead!)
The Bottom Line
As life becomes more complicated, with more demands on our time, we owe it to ourselves to take advantage of our Biological Prime Time. It’s one more way to maximize what life has to offer.
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