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After reading some threads here on PP.SE, I've encountered that a lot of people seem to be more motivated and focused in the late evening/night to do challenging and work-intense tasks.

Interestingly, it's the exact opposite for me. In the morning I easily get in the 'flow' of doing something and forget about everything else that's going on around me, while later in the day I have problems to get motivated and stay focused on the tasks that actually need to be done. This is not an issue of fatigue, even if I sleep late and do no work till 5PM I'm facing the same issues.

Do you have any techniques to overcome such daytime-related problems, if you prefer to work late at night, what do you do to be productive in the morning? If you prefer working early like me, what helps you to stay motivated in the evening?

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Perhaps you have been seduced by the stupid idea that you must be in a flow state to get anything done? The secret is to just keep slogging through even when you don't feel like it. Even when you get distracted or dislike the task. Who cares, none of that is important. You simply keep working. Sure you won't work as fast as when you are in the flow, but who cares about that either. Persistence is FAR FAR more important than flow. You don't have to be motivated to work, you don't have to enjoy the task to work, you just have to work. –  HLGEM Dec 14 '12 at 16:10

2 Answers 2

Different people respond differently to the various times of the day.

The important thing is that you find your own personal peak times. It sounds like you are doing great in the morning, and that's when you should do your important work.

Outside of those times, stick to simple routine stuff. This is when you can do urgent but not important tasks to get them out of the way. What's probably more use is using this time relax and recharge like your body is telling you you should do.

If you want to increase the length of time you feel motivated, you could experiment with things like the Pomodoro Technique to get into and stay in your flow state.

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Even if you aren't experiencing physical fatigue, diet and sleep might still be playing a part in the problem. You might want to experiment with a brief nap to "reset" before you embark on evening activity and look closely at when, what, and how you are eating up to that point.

I think of the evening hours as a different time, in terms of work, than just an extension of the day. As a writer, I don't find evening hours to be productive when it comes to composition. But it is a good time to be productive at other aspects of my work: critical reading, revision, etc. So I try to stage my evening with aspects of work that make sense given that frame so I can be productive knowing it won't be the same kind of productivity at night.

It's all about routine, I think. It's easier for me in the morning because establishing that routine is easier for me! But I've been getting better at having an evening routine down to the small details, and that's paid off in terms of productivity.

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