What is the best work schedule according to science?

  (photo credit: PIXABAY)
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Are you satisfied with your work schedule? Do you think your routines are productive and healthy? It's no secret that flexible hours are one of the most valued virtues of remote work. However, this can work against you if you lead a messy life and need to realize the mistakes you may be making. Knowing the best work schedule according to science can help you be more efficient and have more time for rest and leisure.

Is there a single ideal schedule?

The answer is no. There are many factors in work environments that make it impossible to establish a single ideal schedule: night shifts, overtime, peak seasons, the particularities of each business and each individual, and more. However, some habits and trends allow you to identify your best work time.

It is easy for science, more precisely for chronobiology, to determine the ideal schedule for office workers: most follow the same patterns, the advantages and disadvantages can be generalized, and, in a few words, there are not many options. Therefore, some studies may determine that an optimal schedule would be from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with a break around 1:00 pm for lunch.

The challenge for science is to determine the best working hours for freelancers. Programmers, editors, essay writers, web designers, and other remote specialists would definitely be interested in this question. But for there are no patterns, each dynamic is individual, and therefore there are many options. Therefore, more than an ideal, precise, and systematized schedule, science has discovered that when you work in sync with your biological clock, you are in better conditions to give the best of you.

What to consider when finding the best work schedule?

Here we don't intend to tell you what time of day or night you should devote to your work commitments. We will only make some recommendations and bring up scientific arguments that can give you guidelines to define your routines, trying to be as healthy as possible and not harm your productivity.

Know what time is ideal for each thing

Chronobiology has concluded that the body and mind are more disposed to certain tasks at certain times for most people. Thus:

Important meetings

We've all woken up on the wrong foot at one time or another, but fortunately, that's not the rule. According to science, the rule is that most people wake up upbeat, with a good attitude and a clear mind, reaching a peak of enthusiasm around noon. So, by scheduling important meetings in the morning hours, it can be assumed that there will be a friendly atmosphere among participants.

Precision, logic, and analysis tasks

The morning is again the ideal time for these tasks. That is why it is important to keep all distractions under control and make the most of these productive hours.

Creative tasks

Either wide awake or very tired, but not in between. Between 11:00 am and 3:0 0 pm, at the height of the day, ideas don't flow. That's why the lunch break is so important. Do your creative exercises first thing in the morning with a fresh mind or late at night when your brain, despite exhaustion, can generate innovative sparks.

Simple, operational tasks

Checking emails, making accounts, validating inventories, or any other of this style is best left for the afternoon. The morning enthusiasm is wearing off, and the body also feels more tired, so simple tasks are the ideal way to end the day. If your work does not allow it, we suggest taking controlled and limited active breaks. It will give you energy recharges from time to time, and you will avoid procrastinating for long periods.


Chronobiology suggests not making decisions early in the morning or before sleep. At those times, the brain is in the inertia of sleep and does not see the options. You must be 100% alert and conscious to make decisions, so try to decide everything two or three hours after waking up. That is the most advisable.

Learning something new

Between 4:00 am and 7:00 am, 10:00 am, and 2:00 pm, and again between 4:00 pm and 10:00 pm, the brain is more predisposed to acquire knowledge. So, if your job requires you to study a subject, try to do it at those times.

Know your schedule

To define your working hours it is important to know your agenda. That is to say, to be clear about all the personal and work issues that arise in your day to day. Making a complete list will allow you to visualize your life's dimensions and assign them a specific time in your day. This way, you will be able to work in a more organized way. It would be a model list:

Eating habits: You should take every meal for work. You should take meal breaks (hopefully scheduled ones). If you work at home, we are not inviting you to the pantry now and then).

  • Your extracurricular habits: exercise, meditation, reading, painting, or others.
  • Your home duties: general housekeeping, cooking, sending the kids off to school, or picking them up, among many others.

Work context and obligations: deadlines, schedules of colleagues, supervisors, or clients.

Find out what your best work schedule is

Our quick tip for those who work remotely would be to try to accommodate your work hours to the office schedule we mentioned earlier. It's an easy option to implement, in line with the schedules of colleagues, friends, and family, and it's also healthy.  

However, we know that's not likely to resonate with you. Because the freedom to work at times that suit your lifestyle (employer permitting) is priceless. So if you want to make the most of that freedom without detriment to your productivity, health, and overall well-being, you've got your work cut out!

Figure out your best work schedule by making a relationship between your activities and the ideal times to do each thing. Create an agenda and stick to it. It's a matter of getting organized, prioritizing, and getting used to it.

This article was written in cooperation with Ryan Edwards