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Researchers Discover The Most Creative Time of Day

samzenpus posted about 6 years ago | from the ask-me-that-in-a-few-hours dept.

Science 154

Creativity is least likely to strike in the afternoon, according to a survey that suggests office workers have little chance of solving problems after lunch. A poll of 1,426 people showed that a quarter of us stay up late when seeking inspiration. Taking a shower or just sitting in the bathroom proved to be a popular way of getting the creative juices flowing. The survey found that 10:04pm was the most creative time, while 4:33pm was the least. I'll think of something funny to write here later.

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World of Warcraft Time!!! (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | about 6 years ago | (#25445817)

FUCK IT. I'm going home!!!!

(And I'm only working between 10pm and 1am from now on!)

Because I'll be more productive, I can get away with only working for 3 hours.

My new World of Warcraft schedule will be as follows:

8am-1pm (World PvP & farming)
2pm-9:59pm (BG premades & Arenas)

With WotLK I won't need to worry about stupid 25man raid times ...which are such a waste of time anyway -- for all my efforts in T6 content I get to replace it all in 3 weeks! x.x

Wait a minute... it's 4:30pm and I just thought of this brave new strategy. OH SH-

Re:World of Warcraft Time!!! (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 6 years ago | (#25446167)

(And I'm only working between 10pm and 1am from now on!)

Because I'll be more productive, I can get away with only working for 3 hours.

Lunch time!!! Cya.

Re:World of Warcraft Time!!! (2)

agent4256 (893846) | about 6 years ago | (#25446275)

... what?

Sarah? Is that you, you're not making any sense.

AGAIN!

My Take (5, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 6 years ago | (#25445821)

Honestly, the most creative times I've experienced have been driving, both with and without passengers, on trips in the two to five hour range. I live in NE Montana, and there are plenty of such trips that offer few distractions (other traffic, road signs or lights, other roads.)

Sometimes I talk to my passengers; sometimes to myself. I go over the subject matter this way and that, and I try to use metaphors to gently prod myself into seeing other angles (by pushing the metaphors until they either break, register completely, or actually show me something.)

My sweetheart, who is both brilliant and kind enough to let me talk technically at her for considerable lengths of time, assists by letting me go through this process:

I'll pick something that either simply seems to need work or is an actual problem, and I'll explain to her exactly how I see the issue at the moment, complete with explanations of why I don't do this, or why I did that. Sometimes - not always by any means, but a reasonable number of times - I run down into a splutter, asking myself... "Why? Why did I do that? Uh... " or "man, that sure could have been done better..."

Which is followed by pulling over and making a note for later. :-)

The thing is, she's not technical (in my field) so I have to explain everything, pretty much. Metaphors help a lot too. But because she's actually paying attention, there's no getting away with hand-waving. I find that many times, inspiration lurks in areas I've discarded as no longer worthy of much (if any) attention. This process forces the issue.

Time of day doesn't seem to matter in my case. Coffee, however, is definitely involved.

We do this for management of our businesses as well; we have a couple retail operations, a software store, a lingerie store (stockings, mostly), a martial arts studio and a portrait photo business, plus I do some consulting here and there. We do a lot of juggling, and it helps to rattle ideas around in an unstructured environment. With the cell phones off!!!

å

Re:My Take (5, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 6 years ago | (#25446155)

The thing is, she's not technical (in my field) so I have to explain everything, pretty much. Metaphors help a lot too. But because she's actually paying attention, there's no getting away with hand-waving.

Indeed, talking to a human is much better than "talking to the [teddy] bear" as it is called here in that a human pays attention. And talking to a human that doesn't know the subject has its own benefits, as Douglas Adams pointed out:

"There really wasn't a lot this machine could do that you couldn't do yourself in half the time with a lot less trouble," said Richard, "but it was, on the other hand, very good at being a slow and dim-witted pupil."

Reg looked at him quizzically.

"I had no idea they were supposed to be in short supply," he said. "I could hit a dozen with a bread roll from where I'm sitting."

"I'm sure. But look at it this way. What really is the point of trying to teach anything to anybody?"

This question seemed to provoke a murmur of sympathetic approval from up and down the table.

Richard continued, "What I mean is that if you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain it to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your own mind. And the more slow and dim-witted your pupil, the more you have to break things down into more and more simple ideas. And that's really the essence of programming. By the time you've sorted out a complicated idea into little steps that even a stupid machine can deal with, you've certainly learned something about it yourself. The teacher usually learns more than the pupil. Isn't that true?"

"It would be hard to learn much less than my pupils," came a low growl from somewhere on the table, "without undergoing a pre-frontal lobotomy."

BTW, I wouldn't suggest you compare your sweetheart to a very slow, dim-witted pupil. Certainly not to her face.

Re:My Take (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446311)

Come on this is /.
The "Sweetheart" thing is metaphoric... It is just a more intimate way to call for "imaginary girlfriend".

Re:My Take (2, Funny)

Dripdry (1062282) | about 6 years ago | (#25446441)

I wouldn't compare her to that, either, unless all you want her to do is SELL lingerie.

Re:My Take (1)

ktstzo (885924) | about 6 years ago | (#25446375)

.....and I'll explain to her exactly how I see the issue at the moment, complete with explanations of why I don't do this, or why I did that. Sometimes - not always by any means, but a reasonable number of times - I run down into a splutter, asking myself... "Why? Why did I do that? Uh... " or "man, that sure could have been done better..." å

Inside his girfriend thougts: "mmmm what should be Vannesa doing rigth know, God i need sex.......... .", aha, yes baby, you are so brilliant And, i wrote this at 17:03.... mmmm thats odd.

Re:My Take (2, Interesting)

oever (233119) | about 6 years ago | (#25446659)

Each day, I bike 14 kilometers to work and 9 miles back. This is a great time for planning and evaluating the day. On a bike you are active and awake because of the wind and the required exercise. On my bike I think about programming strategies, past and future social interactions, planning my commercial/proprietary and Free software activities or the odd real-life subject. When I get to work I change my shirt and answer my email; the routine kicks in. During the day I'll have lulls in motivation for the boring tasks during which I'll work out the ideas I had whilst biking. If it's a bad day, there's little time for that and I'm steered from meeting to meeting, answering dumb emails, chasing people for facilities and fixing bugs. On a good day, I'll have time to really get some beautiful coding done. On such a day I'll think about the code on my way home and will have more great ideas I'll work on in the evening. Depending on the mood and challenge the evening code is for 'real' work or for FOSS.

Taking a walk during/after lunch helps creativity too.

Re:My Take (1)

teknosapien (1012209) | about 6 years ago | (#25447363)

Wait do you have like a black hole at work that allows you to knock off 5 KM on your ride home?

routine numbs the soul (4, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | about 6 years ago | (#25445833)

Well in absolute terms it might be "10:04 pm", but really it's just whatever time of day that all your usual distractions are gone and you've forgotten for a moment what a boring life you lead, but you're not tired enough to sleep yet. Inspiration can only strike when you're energized and your mind is clear and receptive. Far too few people appreciate what a toll the 9-5 shcedule takes on one's creativity. If you ever get a couple months off work/school for any reason, try sleeping only when you're tired and eating only when you're hungry. I did this for six months straight one time, and although ultimately I was exhausted, it was the most creative and rewarding period in my life. It felt absolutely bizarre to be rotating around the clock on a schedule of 20 hours awake followed by 8 hours of sleep, but man did I get a lot of stuff done! Now I'm on powerful sedatives so I can hold down a "normal" existence, stay out of jail/hopsital etc... but what fun I had back in the day. :)

Re:routine numbs the soul (4, Interesting)

ookabooka (731013) | about 6 years ago | (#25446057)

I get extremely creative during the beginning of a manic phase (I'm bipolar). I know full well what it feels like to have creativity, have it go hay-wire (not make much sense) and then feel dumb (depressed). For me, my creativity is best when I'm well rested, under little stress, and enthused about what I am doing. Too little sleep and my ideas start to make less and less sense and are less practical which just frustrates me and increases my stress level; I've also found that sleep helps with thinking outside the box. Being enthused about whatever you are doing can be tricky, it's all about attitude and how you approach the problem. Writing a program that controls various stages of a sewage treatment plant? Instead of being bummed out look at it differently: how many computer programs are there that perform the same function? I bet I could make something that's more efficient and better documented. . .Whatever you do, don't sacrifice your health for a burst of creativity.

Currently I'm depressed, so I'm sure my post could have been much more creative and charismatic had I posted it a few months ago :-D

Re:routine numbs the soul (1)

Khavanon (1253062) | about 6 years ago | (#25446207)

Sounds to me what you really need is to move to a planet with a longer day. Hell, I can relate to the desire for that kind of schedule. I feel like the day is so short.

Re:routine numbs the soul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446407)

Perhaps *you* are only inspired when *you* are energized and *your* mind is clear and receptive. Don't assume this applies to everyone, as it certainly does not apply to me. Inspiration strikes me somewhat randomly, regardless of mental/physical state.

I do agree with your application of sleeping when tired / eating when hungry. I have done this successfully several creative times in my life but have learned that it is important to be responsible over the course of the experiment. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, even if you're not thirsty. Be sure nourishment trumps perception of hunger. Equally important is restful sleep. It is easy for me to stay awake longer than I should, even remaining productive throughout. However I have found that initiating restful sleep can be difficult when I get over tired, which can lead to a nasty tail spin of out of control sleep/wake cycles. Plenty of exercise usually makes it possible for me to identify the best time to sleep, as it is the body that decides, not the mind.

Re:routine numbs the soul (3, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 6 years ago | (#25446511)

If you ever get a couple months off work/school for any reason, try sleeping only when you're tired and eating only when you're hungry. I did this for six months straight one time, and although ultimately I was exhausted, it was the most creative and rewarding period in my life. It felt absolutely bizarre to be rotating around the clock on a schedule of 20 hours awake followed by 8 hours of sleep, but man did I get a lot of stuff done!

And did it drive you stark-raving mad [xkcd.com] ?

Now I'm on powerful sedatives so I can hold down a "normal" existence, stay out of jail/hospital etc... but what fun I had back in the day. :)

Ah, it appears you have anticipated my question. Well done.

(I am considering trying this. There's just a matter of certain regular meetings, occasional free lunches on Thursdays to consider, and the usual holidays, and a benefit is that the off-peak work times mean more opportunities to do coding that would otherwise disrupt all the other programmers.)

Re:routine numbs the soul (1)

crowtc (633533) | about 6 years ago | (#25446575)

I have a feeling that there may be a significant number of people out there that have a 28 hour circadian rhythm, I've heard it from several people in person. Look around on /. even, it seems to come up. We're all probably alien sleeper agents, no pun intended.

I feel like crap when I work a "normal" 9-5 schedule for more than a week or so, but when I let my internal clock run, my day snaps back to a 28 hour cycle and I feel sharper, more alert and very creative. When I was self employed, I was able to make my own hours, and I did, on a 28 hour cycle, essentially 6 of my days in the 7 normal days. I only worked afternoons on Fridays, but the rest of the work-week seemed normal to my clients.

I've had this "issue" my entire life, and it can be very bizarre when you have to interact with others on the flip-side of the cycle, they're all tired and you're fresh as a daisy.

Re:routine numbs the soul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446673)

Naturally, this [xkcd.org] is the ideal schedule for maximum creativity.

Re:routine numbs the soul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446737)

I'm in grad school and I get to live this life everyday.. for past 5 yrs now.

- I just walked into office, 5:42PM EST...
- I'll eat when I feel hungry
- My creativity peaks between 1am-3am
- I do my experiments and write papers or grants.
- I ll go back to bed when I feel sleepy..
- I don't have a girl-friend. So my mind is free like a bird.
- I party like a pig on weekends and possibly get lucky.
- I don't want to graduate.

This is THE best time of my life and I know it ll not last forever.. but I will miss this so much...

Re:routine numbs the soul (1)

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) | about 6 years ago | (#25446919)

If you ever get a couple months off work/school for any reason, try

Being a night person, I "fall" into a nocturnal schedule. But even when I am working a usual 8AM to 6PM (9 to 5 is a myth) schedule, I function better and am more creative the later in the day. Heck, I can get as little as 4 hour sleep, get to work by 8AM and still be wide awake and at a high level of mental function at 10PM (or later).

Re:routine numbs the soul (3, Funny)

pcgabe (712924) | about 6 years ago | (#25447293)

you've forgotten for a moment what a boring life you lead

I keep hearing about this 'boring life' that people are talking about, and I have to say, I'd like to try it.

I'm stuck in an interesting life. I didn't realize this until recently, but apparently, not everyone was kidnapped as a child, or had a roommate who tried to kill them, or were accidentally mistaken for a terrorist and caused a bomb-scare. I had no idea that boring was even an option!

Man, I had more but (I can't believe I'm saying this) the house is filling with smoke. There may be a fire.

Re:routine numbs the soul (2, Funny)

pcgabe (712924) | about 6 years ago | (#25447365)

It wasn't a fire. Or, it wasn't an uncontained fire.

One of my roommates was microwaving a burrito, set the time too high, got a phone call and left to go to the store. Forgetting the burrito.

The house stinks of smoke, the microwave may be toast, and it's getting cold with all these windows open. At least the smoke detectors have stopped going off.

I really, really, REALLY wish I were joking. :-(

Posted by samzenpus @04:33PM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25445871)

well for some of us at least (those of us reading it).

10:04 pm sounds about right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25445881)

I'm usually drunk by then.

Thanks for the help! (1)

Deflagro (187160) | about 6 years ago | (#25445889)

I'm going to forward this article to my boss and go home early, awesome thanks!! Who says I can't be creative in the afternoon?

Re:Thanks for the help! (3, Funny)

itamihn (1213328) | about 6 years ago | (#25446067)

If you show this article to your boss, he will force you to work until 10:04 pm, and beyond.

From The Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25445897)

I'll think of something funny to write here later.

I doubt it.

Yuck (4, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | about 6 years ago | (#25445905)

Having "sitting in the bathroom" and a reference to one's "creative juices" in the same sentence kind of grosses me out for some reason.

Terminology error (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446731)

By "bathroom" you mean "toilet", right? Otherwise you'd say "sitting in the bathtub", wouldn't you?

I wish you'd say what you mean.

Re:Yuck (3, Funny)

xTantrum (919048) | about 6 years ago | (#25446787)

i honestly don't know what it is about the toilet seat but I do my best problem solving there and i feel relieved after having done so.

Re:Yuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25447027)

this phenomenon has been called 'excremeditation'. ...just so ya know.

Re:Yuck (1)

michaewlewis (1362339) | about 6 years ago | (#25447067)

Agreed, I usually feel relieved after sitting on the toilet.

4:20 (5, Funny)

Daveznet (789744) | about 6 years ago | (#25445909)

Sounds about right, right after 4:20 people usually tend to get lazy and just not do work in general.

Re:4:20 (0)

Gonarat (177568) | about 6 years ago | (#25446029)

Things tend to go to pot around that time.

Re:4:20 (1)

ghostfacehallik (723307) | about 6 years ago | (#25446685)

Actually I think a little bit better after 420. :)

Re:4:20 (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | about 6 years ago | (#25446749)

I'm not sure about that. I'll bet there are a lot of people trying to come up with a creative way to go home early after 4PM.

Re:4:20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446907)

I don't even know when 4:20 is. Last time I tried to wait until 4:20 to blaze, I ended up at a medi-evil fair...

Am I the first to post... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25445913)

...a 4:20 joke?

Re:Am I the first to post... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446081)

no

Poor choice of words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25445919)

"...sitting in the bathroom proved to be a popular way of getting the creative juices flowing."

Just think about it.

Siesta (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25445933)

Some cultures have figured out the low point and adjusted their whole day around it. My biological clock agrees. I find my energy levels and creativity at their lowest sometime between 2-4pm. It is almost a depression. Best to nap through it.

I peak emotionally and creatively at dusk. Something about the night coming on just starts it. I stay this way until I go to sleep. Best time for coding, thinking something out, or just plain enjoying music, movies or reading. You do must make it a point of stopping at a reasonable time, as your whole next day is wrecked without a solid nights sleep.

Seems right to me (1)

JB19000 (1389999) | about 6 years ago | (#25445941)

Its 4:30 and I'm suppose to be writing on nuclear power. Yet I find myself here. Its going to be a long night

Research: Uncyclopedia worker interruptions costly (4, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25445959)

YOUR DESK, Your office (Work) -- The chances of you finishing writing this article without getting interrupted or distracted are slim.

U.S. office workers get interrupted on the job as often as eleven times per hour, costing as much as $588 billion in paid time lost to open content production each year. The digital communications that were supposed to make working lives run smoothly -- cc'ed email jokes, Internet porn and chatting up that hottie in the next office by IM -- are actually preventing people from getting critical tasks like writing Uncyclopedia or Wikipedia accomplished.

The typical office worker is interrupted every three minutes by a phone call, e-mail, instant message or other distraction. These take up 2.1 hours of the average day -- 28 percent -- with workers taking an average of five minutes to recover from each interruption and return to their original gag-writing or witty picture editing, or querulous talk page arguments and arbitration cases about the correct format for subheadings on articles about disused former US highways. The problem is that it takes about eight uninterrupted minutes for our brains to get into a really creative state.

From online shopping at work to planning the office holiday party, workers are bombarded with distractions. "It's certainly a recipe for even less writing getting done," said a typically bone-idle and parasitical Uncyclopedia timewaster. "It's 'There's my BlackBerry. What time is it in Kittenhoeffer right now? How many phone calls did I get? Can I win the sales office spider solitaire competition?' It's a lot of productive timewasting turned to useless 'productivity.' People like the convenience and possibilities that this technology affords them when they want to use it, but that doesn't increase the average quality of Wikipedia or pump up the funneh on Uncyc!"

Still another study found a group of workers interrupted by e-mail and telephones scored lower on an IQ test than a test group that had smoked marijuana. Unfortunately, EPA regulations still forbid bong hits at one's desk, even when trying to fix one's makefile.

There is a mini rebellion under way, however. Desperate for some quiet time to think, people are coming up with low-tech strategies to get away from all their technology. "If you don't have that sort of free time to dream and muse and mull, then you are not being creative, by definition. I find hiding in the server room with my laptop is a good place to work on witty tales of Britney Spears flashing her lunch at paparazzi."

The problem appears to be getting worse. A study by Wikia earlier this year found that 62 percent of British Uncyclopedians are addicted to their e-mail -- checking messages during meetings, after working hours and on vacation, hoping to get their funny take onto UnNews first.

"If I wanted to work," said the user, "hell. I'd get a job."

(original link [uncyclopedia.org] )

flowing water = flowing ideas (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25445967)

Taking a shower, washing my hair, working out hard enough that the sweat is dripping off, IME facilitates creative thought flow.

My vacation was supposed to start on a Monday, but something broke on Friday and it manifested itself in my code (although ultimately the error was detected in a recently submitted change from another programmer). Late in the evening, I ran out of ideas. Fortunately, the exercise room downstairs was open 24/7. Forty minutes on a treadmill, and I lost significant water weight through my pores and gained several useful ideas for different approaches to debugging.

that old saying (4, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 6 years ago | (#25445989)

Early to bed and early to rise makes Jack miss out on his peak creativity period.

Re:that old saying (3, Funny)

Nick Number (447026) | about 6 years ago | (#25446343)

I am Jack's stunning lack of peak creativity.

Re:that old saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446509)

Interesting though that it was a Benjamin Franklin quote.

"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise."

Makes you wonder what he could have done if he had stayed up later, but then history says the ladies were quite fond of him,,,

Re:that old saying (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 6 years ago | (#25447083)

He did stay up later, thinking up quotes that made everyone else miss their peak creative hours, which left him as the wisest man of his times.

He also exhorted everyone to get drunk on beer. While selling beer and staying up late etc. etc.

Ahead of his time in the sophistry department, that guy was.

Re:that old saying (2, Interesting)

GospelHead821 (466923) | about 6 years ago | (#25447001)

I find this article to be concurrent with my own observations. Your statement further reflects upon my circumstances. I often find that I face the choice between getting sufficient sleep (which increases my productivity at work) and utilizing the creative burst that I get between 10:00 p.m. and midnight. I envy everybody who boasts of hours flexible enough to accommodate even a little bit of variance. I work in inside sales, so my job consists of answering phones from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. According to both this article and my own experiences, I am getting out of work just as my creativity reaches its nadir.

On a related note, does anybody else resent how much of one's schedule is dictated by one's employer? It isn't just the time that you're at work. That dictates the time that you must/should be asleep. That affects when you'll be hungry. And now we have this article that suggests I'm sleeping through my peak creativity, giving average creativity to my employer, and hitting my low point just as my "me time" begins.

Re:that old saying (3, Interesting)

Czarf (730417) | about 6 years ago | (#25447285)

"Early to rise and early to bed, makes a man healthy, but socially dead." -Yakko Warner

No Kidding (3, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | about 6 years ago | (#25446031)

Quite likely it's due to the chance to decompress a bit that creativity occurs outside of normal hours. It's really hard to focus and think up anything actually creative when the PHBs are bugging the hell out of you, or the phone is ringing with someone panicing about what is usually a non-issue.

It's why great authors often are almost recluses while working on a book.

Stress, meetings, coworkers, etc. do more to kill creativity than anything else.

Creativity requires being relaxed and focused on the actual problem to be solved. Normal office life is the exact opposite of that environment.

Makes sense (3, Funny)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | about 6 years ago | (#25446037)

Isn't 10:04 about when the effects of that third shot of scotch is starting to kick in.

Re:Makes sense (1)

GunJah (264670) | about 6 years ago | (#25446087)

I takes about 13 minutes for my buzz to kick in, too.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446445)

You drink scotch in shots? There is a better way my friend.

Re:Makes sense (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | about 6 years ago | (#25446689)

Shots? Of scotch?

You're definitely doing it wrong.

Lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446069)

I once decided to change from high carb lunches (sandwiches) to low carb (salads - rather hefty ones though). Seems to make me a lot more active in the afternoon.

Re:Lunch (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 6 years ago | (#25446251)

that's not very creative

Wait, showering is the answer? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 6 years ago | (#25446075)

Damn, that explains why I never get any good ideas/dates!

hah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446091)

nice timing on the boring post -- 4:33pm

While this is in absolute terms... (4, Interesting)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | about 6 years ago | (#25446125)

it would be interesting to see what a shifted sleep schedule does to this. Personally I have a very flexible work schedule and generally wake up between 11 AM and noon and go to sleep between 3AM and 4AM.

I actually feel the most creative around the 3-4PM area (which would be equivalent to most people's 10AM whereas around 7 or 8PM I start dragging serious amounts of creative ass unless I'm highly caffeinated.

I'm not saying that me alone shows this is relational to the time you normally wake up, but it would be interesting to find that out also.

Doesn't this depend on your schedule? (3, Interesting)

swb (14022) | about 6 years ago | (#25446127)

I go to bed somewhere between 9:30 and 10:00 pm. After about 9 PM I'm generally too tired to do anything but watch TV, and even that usually puts me to sleep.

But I get up around 5 AM and my most productive time seems to be between about 6 AM and about 10 AM. I feel the most alert and productive then, possibly because I'm enjoying the benefits of sleep + coffee (without being overcaffeinated or relying on it for energy) and I'm not "bogged down" psychologically by all of the bullshit and stress accumulated during the course of the day.

Now that I'm fully entering old farthood (41), I'm guessing the study conclusions must be biased towards the under-30 set, since most people I know in my age/lifestyle category (over 40 with kids) are largely in my same situation with regard to being dead by about 10 PM, although most don't seem to be up at 5.

Re:Doesn't this depend on your schedule? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446519)

I'm also in early old farthood (41 too). I get up at 3:40 AM, am at my desk by 5:00 AM and leave the office at 2:30 PM (home by 3:45 PM). I can choose my own hours, and I pick those so that I miss the worst of the traffic and can do things like coach soccer for the kids from say 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM. After that, dead tired by 9:00 PM on coaching nights. On nights with no soccer, maybe 8:00 PM. It certainly works well for me to have that schedule and I would say my most creative time is around 6:00 AM before there are enough other people in the office (there ARE some, and some that beat me in!) to bother the creativity out of me.

I doubt that it does much good to take a bunch of people who probably have completely different 'most creative times' and average them out or take mean or whatever. As all that would say is, 'this isn't anyone's best time, but it is an average'.

Re:Doesn't this depend on your schedule? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 6 years ago | (#25446781)

Now that I'm fully entering old farthood (41) ...

Boy, you really know how to depress a guy... :(

Re:Doesn't this depend on your schedule? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25447025)

I think you are most likely correct. This whole study really shows nothing new. Psychologists have been studying sleep for ages, and have know for a while that the younger crowd tends to be night owls, while the older crowd tends to be morning birds. Like all psychological correlations, there is a biological reason. However, I can't remember exactly what it is.

Sleep also is a great time to come up with new ideas, as the brain keeps thinking about whatever you were doing the day. Studies have shown that people more effectively solve a given task if they work on it for a few hours, then sleep on it, than if they work on it continuously.

Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446165)

Epiphany Toilet [google.com]

Install a royal throne on the roof of your employer's building. There's nothing like a crap at 40 ft. Just don't let your building janitor catch you using it.

...while 4:33pm was the least (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 6 years ago | (#25446171)

Posted @04:33PM. Indeed.

Depends on personality (1)

tarks (529856) | about 6 years ago | (#25446185)

This might be an averaged result but as such it might have little value. I would expect that the creative times of day vary widely between individuals. For me, e.g., it is quite the other way round. I can only do routine tasks before noon and I rarely come up with realy creative ideas before about 4pm. I wish I could be creative earlier in the day because as a theoretical physicist I should be creative for as long as possible but my personal experience strongly favours the afternoon.

You already did think of something funny to say... (2, Funny)

iceT (68610) | about 6 years ago | (#25446189)

"...sitting in the bathroom proved to be a popular way of getting the creative juices flowing."

You can't make shit like that up. It's priceless.

AHA! (1)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | about 6 years ago | (#25446193)

Take that you early risers! I always knew there was something wrong with you people.......

Re:AHA! (1)

bobbonomo (997543) | about 6 years ago | (#25446567)

Yes, because the early bird gets to eat the worms.

Sleep late. That's what I say... and beat the traffic.

Jeez - Just got this e-mail at work: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446209)

To: All Staff
Subject: Revised working hours

Effective immediately, working hours are revised to:

Mon-Fri 8:00 a.m. to 4:27 plus 10:03 to 10:05 p.m. at which times all employees are expected to be in the office at their workstations.

Hmmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446241)

I thought the most creative time of day was just after 4:20?

Entropy is a bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446269)

When I was in my late 30's, I could code from 7 am to 2 am with an hour break for lunch and a 3 hour break for wife and kids at night. The rest of the time I was able to crank code. Ideas came at all hours.

  It's been 20 years since those halcyon years and my level of creativity and productivity haven't ever since come close. The one thing I've learned in an attempt to recapture those years is that fasting during the day helps. I don't eat breakfast or lunch and am able to work from 9 to 5 without difficulty. If I eat either breakfast or lunch, forget it. Both meals will either put me to sleep an hour later or I'll just be sluggish the rest of the day.

Most creative time is relative (1)

tdhurst (946988) | about 6 years ago | (#25446285)

I call BS. The absolutely most creative time is right before whatever your working on is due, making you decide between turning in a sub-par piece or turning in a late masterpiece. The grade is always exactly the same.

Re:Most creative time is relative (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | about 6 years ago | (#25446837)

"If it weren't for the last minute, I'd never get anything done." -Unknown

What... (1)

ciphersort (1333553) | about 6 years ago | (#25446319)

No 4:20 jokes? Oh shit... I need to get the chips ready...

All creativity is . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446321)

All creativity is is seeing things in a different way and re-organizing them from that inspiration to arrive at something novel. It's more likely to happen when you're not trying to force it and in a relaxed state. This explains the bathroom angle.

4:33 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446345)

13 minutes after 4:20; I wonder why :)

4:20 (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | about 6 years ago | (#25446363)

Duuuuuude! Everyone knows that the most creative time of day is 4:20!

info value == 0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446377)

It's worth noting that this is a poll, not any kind of objective research, the only way these researches have "discovered" the most productive time of day is if each participant already knew it.

Creativity and Gundam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446467)

Just remember, the Japanese Agricultural ministry is not in charge of Creativity; even at 10:04pm.

Super burrito (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 years ago | (#25446499)

The super burrito lunch is a weapon of creativity destruction.

4:33 PM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446503)

Holy crap - I had to refresh the page just to make sure the summary text wasn't hacked to show the current time!

DRUNK IS THE MOST CREATIVE TIME!!! (1)

jerryodom (904532) | about 6 years ago | (#25446517)

Looks like they dropped the ball on this one. Usually my most creative moments come about 30 minutes after happy hour ends.

mod 0p (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446609)

b een sitting here

BTTF Anyone? (1)

byersjus (987526) | about 6 years ago | (#25446631)

THAT'S AMAZING!! 10:04PM is precisely when lightning strikes the clock tower!!! Perhaps is has some sort of cosmic significance.

Remove stimuli (5, Interesting)

jedrek (79264) | about 6 years ago | (#25446647)

This may or may not work for other people, but I too find that my most creative moments are in the shower... because there's no new stimuli there. The rest of the time, I'm usually getting information from somewhere: listening to the radio in the car, watching TV while I wash the dishes, etc. Those 15-25 minutes I'm in the shower, nothing else is happening and my mind wanders. That's when ideas form and it's quiet enough in there for them to be heard.

Survey said ... (2, Insightful)

hedronist (233240) | about 6 years ago | (#25446715)

Shower! (Ding!)

My employees used to joke that the company would make more money if we had a shower installed in my office. I claimed I would end up looking like a prune, but was told that that might also be an improvement.

I find this facinating (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | about 6 years ago | (#25446725)

It actually mirrors my personal experience. I often wonder why I get such a rush of creativeness just as I'm about to turn in! Now will changing my scheduel around so I stay awake past 10 pm help me get some things done. Or will it just result in me sleeping late into the afternoon...

Right after lunch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446727)

For me the least creative time of day is right after lunch. I don't know if it's my blood sugar, or they're putting sedatives in the cafeteria food; but I get really drowsy after lunch and can't focus on the job I'm doing. Sometimes I'll take a short nap at my desk, although they recently moved a couple of new people into my room, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to get away with that. Time to start a meth habit I guess, ;-)

Style Sheets? (1)

gravis777 (123605) | about 6 years ago | (#25446771)

So, is 4:33 PM also the time of day that you corrupt your site's style sheets?

Yeah, mark it as troll, I don't care, its 4:58 PM.

Juices (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25446809)

Anyone else find "creative juices flowing" in the same sentence as "sitting in the bathroom" churn their stomach?

Muddy Offspring (1)

Chuichupachichi (1373857) | about 6 years ago | (#25447033)

Thats right, when sitting on the designer throne, everybody creates something that wasn't there prior to sitting. Then, you wipe the Democrap.

... the Crowne Plaza hotel chain showed. (1)

markalot (67322) | about 6 years ago | (#25447041)

Researchers?

Similar thread in the replies (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 6 years ago | (#25447061)

It seems like a lot of the replies all seem to acknowledge that the flashes of inspiration come when we're not directly involved with whatever the task at hand happens to be. Often times I find it helpful to get up and go for a walk. There seems to be something about shifting from actually working directly on the issue, to stepping away from it while still being able to ponder it. The brain seems to shift out of actively doing mode and into pondering how else to do it mode.

Mine is 1-2 a.m. (3, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | about 6 years ago | (#25447065)

Staying up past your bedtime is a mentally liberating thing.

There is probably some serotonin-related brain chemistry; maybe also you're a few hours farther away from the blood-sucking, chemically disruptive digestive process than at other times of the day; but mostly I think it's just that if you know you're "up late" you're working on free time, and not during the times of day that are otherwise owed to the things you haven't gotten done already.

You put aside your 16-hours-a-day budget and use the free time to reach beyond your to-do list.

Also, it's possible the situation is conditioned. Finding something creative to do at bedtime lets you stay up late, which is and always has been a reward, even if you really want to get some sleep because you have something scheduled for the morning.

In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25447237)

You are more likely to get creative ideas in the morning when you are fresh than in the afternoon when you are tired and looking forward to go home, catch up with your family, friends etc. Who would have thought of that? Honestly I'm really disturbed by this increasing trend of similar "research" - pick up a group of people, send them a random questionnaire, compile the statistical average of their answers, and bingo, humanity makes a leap forward with a new "discovery". This is NOT what I consider Research.

13 Minutes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25447279)

That's about 13 minutes later that I expected.

teknosapien (1)

teknosapien (1012209) | about 6 years ago | (#25447345)

What about those of us who by choice work a later shift? For instance I get in at 13:30 and work till 21:00
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