June 25, 2014

Best Time of Day for Everything

By Crabby McSlacker

First off, I love the auto-fill suggestions search engines come up with, don't you? Because google thought I was wondering about "best time of day to do enema."

(And I'm afraid I didn't hit enter on that one, so I can't tell you when that is. My sincere apologies to any random enema googlers who found their way here).

But anyway, I kept seeing articles saying there's a "best" time to do stuff, so I thought I'd collect a few.  Just in case you were wondering when you should exercise, take your vitamins, think creatively, ask for a raise, shop for super-discounted peanut butter Oreo cookies when no one is there to see you fill your basket, rob a convenience store, or whatever the heck you're trying to plan and optimize.

There's some useful advice to be had, I guess.  My productivity, minimal as it is, has improved greatly since I discovered some tricks along these lines.

And yet... I also find some of these generalizations, particularly the circadian rhythm ones, pretty damn annoying.

Crabby McSlacker... annoyed about something? Shocking, I know!

Some Handy Sources on the Best Time of Day to Do All Kinds of Crap:

I thought perhaps this was the same article recycled to different media outlets, but while there is some overlap, the tips and sources are different enough that they're all worth a peek, if you care about such things:

Real Simple has some Best Time of Day Time-Management Strategies;

Prevention has more Best Time of Day tips, with an emphasis on health-related stuff;

Life Hacker has a Best Time of Day to Do Anything post; and

Oprah Magazine has tips on the Best Time of Day to Eat, Exercise etc.

A Few Interesting or Useful Time of Day Tips:

If you go through all the articles, there are quite a few so I'm not gonna even try to round 'em all up.

  • If you live somewhere with crappy weather head for an outdoor vacation in February or Early March in order to ward off SAD.
  • Send emails at 2pm; people are most likely to read emails between 2-5pm.
  • Schedule dental surgery in January or February when dental offices are slow.
  • Go to the post office between 7:30-10am when it's less busy.
  • Schedule flights after noon Pacific Standard Time if you're on the west coast, when fog has dissipated," but for southeastern and Gulf Coast flights, steer clear of the thunderstorms that kick up around 3 p.m.
  • Tweet stuff between 1-3pm on Mondays but wait until Wednesday at 3pm or Saturday to Facebook it. (Tip doesn't say what time zone, though!)

Some Contradictory Time of Day Claims or Things I'm Skeptical About:

When should you take a nap? At 1-2pm! No, wait, between 3-5pm! (How about when you realize you're really sleepy? Just a thought.)

When should you do cardio? First thing in the morning! No, early evening!

When are you best able to handle mental challenges? Between  10-11am or  8-9pm. Um, really? Just those two particular hours, no matter what time you get up or if you're a morning person or a night owl?

The Crabby McSlacker Time Management Principle:

The Best Time of Day for Everything is in the Morning

Yes, this is when I love the world and everything in it and have the most energy. (Coffee helps too.)

It's also when trails and and bike paths are pretty darn empty. (If you live in an urban area rather than a resort town, probably the opposite).

And yes, this was on a morning walk yesterday, though it was already 7:30ish so I'd already been up for 3 hours.

Because first thing in the morning is the only time I can write! Or tackle difficult decisions, or make daunting phone calls or organize things or feel optimistic and confident and somewhat productive.  It's also a great time for meditation and gentle yoga-like MMMMMMovement to music. Plus mornings tend to be less crowded for errands and appointments and shopping.

But I can't do all that good stuff during that time frame, so I have to prioritize each day.  Which stuff really needs my morning attention? And what can I put off? I really hate that question but if I don't ask it, I do the wrong stuff.

So I've gotten ridiculously protective of the hours between, say 5am and 1pm. I used to be more prone to squandering morning time with things that were easier or more fun or just whatever happened to be in front of me--but then, before I know it, I'd find it was afternoon already and my brain cells were only good for rationalization, procrastination and frustration.  Well, that's still the case--but now I'm more likely to have gotten a couple of things done before the brain cells shut down for the remainder of the day. 

What about you guys, have you found any "best time" tricks?


  1. My best time is the morning, I get more done and have the most energy between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. or so. I have a peak in the evenings, too, around 9 p.m. where I feel like writing. Given that bedtime is about 9:30 p.m. these years I get less done than I like.

  2. To be Cranky about it, what if the best time for you to do something just doesn't fit with the world? No matter how alert and energetic I may feel at eight o'clock at night, I can't make business calls then. (I love email soooo much!)
    My personal best times to do things vary so much with my health that the restrictions on my life imposed by job schedule don't really matter much. Early morning (now that I find it impossible to sleep past six) is not ever about physical effort. It's for slowly absorbing caffeine and information/entertainment and gazing off into space, or in this case watching the reflection of moving branches in the computer screen. Evenings are for stuff like exercise (or mowing the grass/raking leaves) and for things that require mental concentration.
    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  3. Converting myself to a morning person was one of the best things I did!

  4. I usually have lots of energy at 2AM but if I start jumping around at that time I will still have to find time to slow down for a couple more hours of sleep before I need to get out of the house at 5AM. I'm a morning person but when I am on vacation I am an all day person. If the office would just let us have a little bit of oxygen I think we would all turn into energetic people.

  5. I don't even want to know the answer to the enema question! LOL

    That is so funny. My tip of the day to recommend would be taking vitamins with lunch. They tend to make me queasy so I need to take them with a meal. I would find breakfast I didn't eat enough to take the nausea away and dinner was too late because they would keep me awake. Lunch was perfect because it was a larger meal than breakfast and plenty of time for the energy to go away.

    You're welcome, Cranky Readers. ;)

  6. Love your blog!!! Your writing has me cracking up. I struggle to be a morning person. I want to be a morning person. I know I actually get a workout in and the dishes done before anything can derail those plans. I can garden and play with the dogs without interruption. But I'm cranky by 1pm. Hmmm. Maybe I should just take a nap then and it will be like I get two days out of one...and then I won't feel so lazy or cranky!
    Thanks for sharing your awesome crankiness with the world!!!

  7. For me, morning is not the best or right time for anything. At all. In fact, having to do anything active and/or social before 10 am throws my whole day out of whack. My personal best time to exercise has always been to start at around 4-5:00 pm. This was very convenient for the years I was a gym rat and would leave work to head to the gym for either two 1-hour classes or a class and a weight workout. My best time to play Two Birds on the iPad--which I bet was not included in any lists--seems to be around 11:30 am or about 6:30 pm, though I am only marginally less apt to lose the game then than at any other time.

  8. Going Completely Cranky... There IS a worst time for almost everything and it's 3 am.

    IMO, the only good things that happen at 3 am are: sleep and - oh, wait... there is NOTHING else wonderful at 3 am, so it's only ONE thing.

    Even if you're a super-early bird, you're still waiting for the morning paper to arrive at that point and there's nothing good on cable.

    Even if you were out until 2:30 am, my guess is by 3 am things ain't so great unless: you're asleep! (ok - maybe "passed out" and that really ain't so great).

    Even if you word 3rd shift - at 3 am you're just waiting for the shift to end and hoping nothing important comes up before then.

    Even if you're in the middle of an ultra marathon, this can be the 'dark period" where all self-doubt creeps in, the hallucinations start and you just want to be done, done.

    So, by default, it means that any time besides 3 am would be better for just about everything :)
    Submitted for your Cranky Consideration.

    1. 3AM on the bike or a walk in the normally crazy city is wonderful and peaceful! Convincing yourself to get out the front door, that is super difficult part.

  9. LOVE that last pic of yours - amazing & beautiful!!!! I am with you on the time stuff.... EXCEPT when I am in HAwaii & then I love it all except exercise early & relax & watch the sunset at night! :)

  10. This morning lark tries to get it all done in the morning, and wishes there were more hours in the morning. Oh, well.

  11. I'm right there with you - 5 am until about mid-morning is my best time to do the biggies (workout, business stuff, important emails....) - I would like to say the rest of the day is fun and games but....

  12. I am so not one of those life-hacker types of people - you know, the Tim Ferris-esque types who are all into tips and tricks to shave .000001% of effort off their every day tasks - but I found this information really interesting. Oh my god, maybe I AM becoming a life hacker!

    My best time of day is usually the mid-morning, just after I've had coffee and my morning workout, but before it starts getting too hot outside and I wilt. However, because my best hours are usually spent at my workplace, I find a way to make my best hours happen whenever I can. If anything, it's not so much that I have "best hours" as much as I have "hours that don't totally suck," and then I just see what I can do then.

  13. Also now I am curious to know the best time of day to do an enema, but I am TERRIFIED to search for this while at work. I ran into the same issue a couple of days ago when I wanted to show a coworker the before-and-after makeup photos of porn stars. So many innocuous Google searches, so many horrible ways to misinterpret them...

  14. Am loving these great comments! Flew off yesterday to to get a little extra time to explore before the Fitblogging conference. And I discovered that the best time of day to curl up into a sobbing cursing ball of heat exhaustion turns out to be anytime after 8am in Savannah in the summer! (Unless one retreats indoors.)

    Stay tuned and thanks so much all for your awesomeness!

  15. Hi Crabby! Remember me? I was thinking about you the other day and decided to see if you still have your blog. I wasn't disappointed. :-)

    Best time of day? Is there a best time of day? It's 4 a.m. on a Sunday right now - can't sleep for a variety of reasons. I usually end up working when I'm up this early because there's not much else I can do.

    1. Marijke! Of course I remember you and have missed you, thank you so much for stopping by!

  16. Hey Jen! Was great meeting you at FitBloggin' this week. Hope you got home safely. Just stopping by to say hi :) Lena

  17. Morning is heavenly time. In morning, the weather was cool and calm. I feel refresh and energetic mind. Morning is the best time for exercise.


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