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Structuring your day around your Chronotype

Posted on 29 March 2023

Structuring your day around your Chronotype

​4-minute read

Work starts at 10am, you dive straight into task one or a pre-planned meeting. Once finished, you scan emails, respond to slack messages, grab a coffee and tackle the next topic before lunch. If this sounds like you, don’t worry you are not alone.

Over the years you naturally develop a flow into your day, if left to tackle your day without an effective plan it can quickly feel like it has gotten away from you. However, if you are a planner doing so day without understanding your chronotype, might leave you feeling a lack of energy at times when it is unwanted… say in the middle of an important meeting.

Chronotypes are the natural peaks and troughs of energy throughout the day. Day as in 24-hour period, not the working day… therefore it is very important to help shape your working day around your type.

Truth be told, chronotypes fall on a spectrum with many of us lying between two. Over time our chronotypes tend to shift, especially as we grow older, by recognising this we are able to plan our days, food consumption and sleep to help offer us the best chance of focus and boosting productivity.

 

What are the core chronotypes?

There are three common chronotypes: Larks, Middle Birds and Owls. However, in more recent years and through the popularity of Dr Michael Breus chronotypes are often referred to as animals and specifically Dolphin, Lion, Bear and Wolf.

As we are not sleep scientists we will focus on the three main definitions and give you the chance to explore Dr Breus’s version in your own time here - https://thesleepdoctor.com/sleep-quizzes/chronotype-quiz/

Understanding the names of the core chronotypes is not enough, next we need to understand what they mean and how they might relate to you, please consider these times as a rough guideline and not a definitive principle.

 

Larks

Larks can be often referred to as the morning person. If you fall into this group, your cognitive peak is early, and you should try to schedule your demanding tasks accordingly as you will be more focused.

Deep work time – 7am – 11am and 2pm - 4pm

Less demanding work – 11am – 2pm

 

Middle Birds

Middle birds follow a similar pattern as Larks, albeit they wake up slightly late therefore everything is pushed back a few hours in their focus times (this is where the majority of us fall).

Deep work time – 9am – 12pm and 3pm – 5pm

Less demanding work – 12pm – 3pm

 

Owls

The extreme opposite to Larks, Owls generally get their cognitive peaks during the night and to best serve yourself here, try to minimise intense work during the day and plan late into the evening.

Deep work time – 4pm onwards

Less demanding work – 1pm – 4pm

 

Of course, if you are an employee or even a freelancer who works with a team, structuring your day all the time to your own style can be difficult, especially for all our owls out there. Therefore, we would recommend experimenting with your day plan, identify where you typically have the best focus and over time you will learn, as will your employer what structure suits you.

We would also advise doing this for those in a job search, it might seem crazy applying for jobs at midnight if you are an owl, but you can do the more cognitive work such as finding openings, researching companies and drafting cover letters to click send during your less demanding time.

Feel free to share this article with those in your network if you feel they could benefit from knowing their own chronotype and structuring their day in the most effective manner.

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