The phrase biological prime/peak time (BPT) refers to the window of time in which we feel most alert, energetic, and consequently most productive. It’s a universal human experience, not just something that happens to night owls or early risers. Everyone has their own BPT, and it’s different for everyone.
BPT is a scientific, measurable, reliable state in which your body is primed and ready to take on tasks — whether they be mental, physical or social — with ease and effectiveness. Knowing my BPT has changed my life and made me so much more efficient and productive. To learn more, read on…
Understanding BPT (the science)
When it comes to productivity and peak performance, our days and hours are limited. But we can optimize those valuable minutes by harnessing the power of our circadian rhythm. With so many factors affecting your sleep, from stress to artificial lighting, how do you know when you’re operating at your peak? Understanding the biological peak time for each individual can help you get the most out of your night time routine and improve your performance during the day. If you feel like you’re always hitting a wall around the same time every day, that’s probably because it’s not prime time for your body. Finding out when your biological peak is and working towards that will have positive effects on all aspects of your life
The concept of biological prime time originates from the field of chronobiology. Chronobiology is the scientific study of biological rhythms in living organisms. Humans are not void of biological rhythms; instead, these rhythms help to dictate our sleeping, eating and working habits. Our circadian rhythm and ultradian rhythm, two of the most significant biological rhythms, are responsible for dictating BPT.
The circadian rhythm, also known as the “biological clock,” is a natural cycle that is influenced by light and plays a role in many areas of our health. It controls your sleep/wake cycle, hormone release and body temperature. Your biological clock has a natural tendency to fall into a 24-hour cycle. However, it’s influenced by external factors such as your environment and lifestyle.
The ultradian rhythm, on the other hand, is a series of cycles that occur throughout the day and are related to your level of focus and energy. This rhythm is influenced by many factors, including your circadian rhythm, your diet, your current mood and the type of work you are doing.
Benefits of Knowing Your BPT
When you understand your BPT, you can take advantage of it by scheduling your most important tasks during that time and schedule mundane tasks that don't require a lot of brain power at your lower times. To do this, you need to know when your BPT falls, so you can plan around it.
For example, if you know you’re at your most productive and creative during the morning hours, then you can make the most of that time by scheduling your most important tasks during that time as well. If yours falls after lunch then use that time to respond to do emails or admin tasks and knock off more minor items on your to-do list.
How to Find Your BPT
You can try a few of these methods to find out what times of the day you feel most alert and energised.
Some methods include:
Use a graph to log your levels every hour over a period of a few weeks to see a trend of your natural ebbs and flows. Chris Bailey does this in this blog post.
Keep a journal - Journaling is a great way to track your productivity and discover trends in your behaviour. It can also help you discover your BPT. All you have to do is write down what you did each day in a notebook, including the tasks you completed, the time of day you did them, and how you felt doing them. Then review for trends
Try an app - There are apps that allow you to track your productivity, They’re designed to keep track of your productivity in real-time and will help you discover your biological prime time.
Ask your friends or colleagues - they may be able to tell you when you seem to be the most productive and when you have your daily 'slumps'. They will definitely be able to tell you if you are a morning person or a 'night owl'!
What To Do During BPT
By scheduling your important tasks during this time, you’ll get more done and feel more accomplished throughout the day. It’s during this time that you’re most focused and creative, making it the ideal time to tackle your biggest tasks.
Dive into creative thinking, problem-solving, strategic planning or anything else that you want to get done (with no interruptions!). You can use this time to get ahead on your most important tasks that progress your business or to knock out the tasks you’re not looking forward to. For a productivity-winning combination use it to get into flow state or 'into the zone'. Check out my article on flow state here.
Block out time in your diary in your peak times to avoid filling them with non-productive tasks. Use this time to work on things that progress your business.
Identify items on your to-do list that should be done during your BPT and those that should be relegated to less productive times.
Our attitudes continue to get better as the morning wears on. The good feeling usually peaks around 12pm. So it might be best to make important meetings during these happier morning hours.
Speed and accuracy at completing tasks are better in the morning.
Analytic abilities peak in the late morning or around 12pm.
Alertness and energy levels reach their peak around 12pm and tend to drop in the afternoon
Use the afternoon to do easier tasks. Afternoon sleepiness is real. Check out this video from Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman on how to stop feeling tired during the day
The worst time of day for your brain is usually around 2 or 3pm. Recharge with a little coffee, exercise (10 minutes can provide 2 hours of energy) or a 20-minute power nap.
Take time to reflect on the day before you leave work. Psychologists say we cement memories at this time. Finish your day by writing down what you’ve accomplished and make a plan for tomorrow.
Your biological prime time is the best time to get things done. It’s when you’re most alert and productive, making it the ideal time to tackle your most significant tasks.
During your biological prime time, you can dive into creative thinking, problem solving and strategic planning.
Be super-protective of these 'golden hours' or peak times. Block them out in your diary and only plan important work that progresses you towards your important goals.