Let’s be honest: the 9-to-5 workday isn’t working for everyone. Very few of us are at our most productive from exactly 9 am until 5 pm. Enter the biological prime time (BPT) method, an approach that aligns work with the natural ebb and flow of our energy levels throughout the day. 

I’ve been on a journey to master my time and productivity, and when I heard about biological prime time, my interest was immediately piqued. I knew I was more productive in the morning and that my productivity plummeted by late afternoon. But I wasn’t doing much to address this when I planned out my daily tasks. 

Understanding and respecting my body’s natural rhythms taught me to harness periods of maximum focus and creativity. Now, I am here to help you master this method and build a schedule that syncs perfectly with your internal clock. 

What is biological prime time? 

Biological prime time refers to the time of day when an individual experiences peak alertness, energy, and productivity. This concept is rooted in the understanding that each person has unique physiological patterns that dictate the most productive hours of the day.

The science behind biological prime time 

Biological prime time is closely linked to ultradian and circadian rhythms, internal biological clocks that regulate various bodily functions. 

These rhythms influence sleep patterns, hormone release, body temperature, and other vital functions. Scientists have found that these rhythms also determine our most productive times of the day.

For most people, BPT usually occurs late in the morning or early afternoon, but this can vary considerably from person to person. Some people even experience peak productivity hours late at night. Your biological prime time is more of a spectrum, and your productivity during the day is likely never at 100% or 0%. 

Biological prime time’s influence on productivity 

When it comes to time management techniques, BPT is a more holistic approach to maximizing your productivity, but one backed by science. 

A lot of this comes down to your chronotype. Chronotype refers to an individual’s natural tendency to sleep at a specific time, influencing their alertness and productivity throughout the day. It is largely determined by genetics, with variations in chronotype possibly serving as an evolutionary survival mechanism. 

Understanding your chronotype helps optimize daily activities to match peak performance periods and improve overall well-being.

During peak times, cognitive functions like memory, concentration, and problem-solving are at their best, which makes complex tasks easier to manage. Plus, aligning work with BPT can improve mental health and overall well-being. Research shows that it promotes a more natural alignment with the body’s needs, potentially reducing stress and enhancing job satisfaction. 

With this compelling information at our fingertips, are you ready to find your own biological prime time?

How to determine your biological prime time 

At Hubstaff, we’re obsessed with solving time management challenges. BPT is a nuanced approach to optimizing productivity by finding and catering to your most productive biological cycles. 

This goes beyond your intrinsic knowledge that you’re a night owl or morning person — it’s about targeting the hours during your workday when you have the most productivity and aligning your daily tasks with that time. 

The quick route

Are you in a rush? We’ve got a few cheats under our sleeves: 

  1. Use Hubstaff Insights to help you find your peak productivity time and identify patterns. Using Hubstaff for productivity insights requires a few days of time tracking data, but it’s a hands-off way to determine your productivity. 
  1. Take a quiz to determine your biological prime time. There are a few out there that I tried with mixed success — Peak Performance and Sleep Doctor were my two favorites. They don’t help you find the exact times of day when you’re most productive. But, if you’re in a rush and unsure when you’re most productive, these quizzes will give you a quick answer. 

Now, for those interested in aligning your tasks with your productivity levels, let’s get more granular.

Detailed guide to finding your biological prime time

Ready to dig deep into your biological prime time and use your body’s natural rhythms to optimize your workday? Let’s begin. 

1. Track your energy levels  

Over a week or two, record your energy levels at various points throughout the day regularly to see when your energy peaks and dips. You can use a simple journal, a dedicated app, or a time and productivity tool like Hubstaff to track when you feel most and least energetic.

Pro tip: Use a scale (e.g., 1 to 5) to rate your energy levels. This helps you quantify and compare your energy patterns more objectively.

2. Identify patterns 

After a few weeks, look for recurring patterns in your energy levels. Identify specific times of the day when you consistently feel most alert and productive or when your energy dips. To spot trends more quickly, group your energy ratings into time blocks (e.g., morning, mid-morning, afternoon, evening). 

3. Determine your biological prime time 

Now that you’ve tracked and aligned your productivity levels with the time of day, it’s time to determine when your productivity is at its highest.  

I decided to chart this out in a simplified way. Here’s what it looked like:

Aubrey Biological Prime Time

As you can see, I’m not firing on all cylinders after 4 PM. That’s why I build my workday around productivity — starting at 7 AM, with an active lunch break to boost my energy levels, and wrapping up by 4 PM or 4:30 PM at the latest. I plan out my most challenging tasks of the day for the morning when I am at my most productive.

In contrast, here’s my co-worker’s productivity throughout the day. They’re a late riser and night owl whose productivity peaks around noon and stays high in the afternoon and evening. 

Austin's Biological Prime Time

4. Validate with tasks

Now, test your hypothesis with tasks centered around your natural energy patterns. During identified peak times, tackle high-priority or challenging tasks and observe your performance. Compare this with how you perform the same functions during low-energy periods.

5. Implement and monitor

Finally, create a time management plan and schedule your most important tasks during peak energy. Reserve low-energy times for routine or less demanding tasks.

But that’s not all. You’ll need to refine your strategy as you go. Based on your observations, refine your understanding of peak productivity times. Periodically re-evaluate your energy levels and adjust your schedule. 

Hubstaff Insights activity features and focus time

Remember, life changes and habits can shift your BPT, so ongoing monitoring ensures continued alignment. 

Biological prime time: final takeaways

It might sound a bit woo-woo to plan your work day around your natural body rhythms, but after trying it, I swear by this method. I use it alongside other time management tricks that work well for me, like time blocking and Eat the Frog

Are you looking for more time management techniques and time management tools? Have we mentioned we’re kind of obsessed with time management methods? Check out these posts:

Try these tricks out for yourself and report back on your peak hours. We want to hear how they work for you!

Category: Product