When Do People Actually Get Work Done?

Priceonomics

If we’re going to be precise about it, work gets done at 11AM on a Monday in October. At all other times of day, we’re basically slacking from our most productive.

Sustaining 8 hours-plus of intense focus year-round is more of a Herculean pipe dream than a reality of the modern day workplace. We come into the office with resolve and determination, pump out a few tasks, eat lunch, then gradually deteriorate into a potpourri of Reddit posts and cat videos. 

But there are certain times where we’re more likely to get our work done.

We analyzed data from Priceonomics customer Redbooth, a project management software company, to see when people were actually creating and completing their work tasks. In this data set, users have generated over 1.8 million projects and 28 million tasks since Redbooth launched. By studying the anonymized data, we can find out exactly when we’re more likely to be productive. At what time of day do we complete the most tasks? Which days of the week are best for productivity? How about months, or even seasons?

Here’s what we found.

Summary of findings

  • Our most productive day time of day is 11 AM when we complete the most tasks (9.7% of all tasks)
  • After lunchtime, our productivity drops — and it completely plummets after 4PM
  • Or most productive day of the week is Monday (20.4% of tasks)
  • We’re least productive at the end of the week (Friday, 16.7%), and unsurprisingly, get virtually nothing done on the weekends (Saturday + Sunday, 4.7%)
  • The highest percentage of tasks are completed in October (9.5%); the lowest percentage of tasks are completed in January (7.2%)
  • Fall ranks in as the most productive season, and winter (22.8%) is by far the least productive season
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