Best Working Hours for Better Performance, According to Chronotype

Every individual works based on their own circadian rhythm, a pattern that our body follows based on a 24-hour day. This can be influenced by factors like genetics, age, and lifestyle. According to the Cleveland Clinic, food intake, stress and medications also affect the body clock. The circadian rhythm influences an individual’s chronotype, determining whether they are naturally inclined to be early risers, night owls, or somewhere in between.

What is a chronotype?

First introduced by Dr. Alfred J. Lewy in 1974, it was developed by other researchers and popularized by Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep expert. The chronotype is categorized into four types, which are bears, wolves, lions and dolphins. The chronotype quiz can be taken here.

Here are the four types of chronotypes:


Work focus: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bears are morning people, and surprisingly, this is the most common type. Usually, they are extroverted individuals and optimists. They wake up early, do their best work before lunch, feel a bit tired after lunch, and then rest in the afternoon. For this reason, these people suit the traditional 9–5 office hours, which are their ideal working hours.

Hence, they can focus on heavier tasks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the highest productivity. Then, they focus on lighter tasks after lunchtime as their energy slightly depletes.

During lunchtime, they should consume small meals and avoid high-carbohydrate foods for better focus. Energy-rich foods, which are proteins, can help regulate energy levels and prevent experiencing a crash after lunch.


Work focus: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Wolves are night owls, which means they tend to be more energetic and productive later in the day. They are not the most common type and are often associated with introversion. Unlike bears, they struggle to wake up early in the morning and may feel groggy and unproductive during traditional office hours. They often hit their peak performance in the late afternoon or evening.

For wolves, the working hours between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. are when they can concentrate the most and accomplish their most demanding tasks. During this time, they should capitalize on their heightened focus and energy levels to tackle important projects or meetings.

To maintain their productivity, wolves need to prioritize taking breakfast, as it can boost energy after waking up groggy. They benefit from a later start to their day and a flexible work schedule that allows them to capitalize on their natural rhythm. Wolves should have a lighter lunch to avoid feeling sluggish and prioritize energizing snacks to maintain their concentration throughout the afternoon.


Work focus: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Lions are the early risers and are typically extroverts, according to research. They thrive in the early hours of the day, often waking up naturally before dawn. These individuals are typically leaders, who are highly driven, high achievers, ambitious, and organized. Lions are at their peak performance levels during the morning hours, making it the ideal time for them to tackle their most demanding tasks.

Their prime focus working hours are from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., where they can accomplish complex tasks efficiently and effectively. As the morning progresses, their energy gradually declines, so it’s essential for them to prioritize important tasks during this time frame.

To maintain their productivity, Lions should ensure they have a balanced breakfast that is large in amount to ensure they will be productive throughout the day and sustain their energy levels. They may also benefit from short breaks and light physical activity to recharge and maintain focus throughout the morning.


Work focus: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dolphins are quite the opposite of Bears, and are a rare type. They are night owls, often finding it challenging to fall asleep and wake up early. These individuals tend to be perfectionists and worry a lot, which can disrupt their sleep patterns. Consequently, they might feel groggy and unfocused in the morning, but their energy peaks later in the day.

Despite their tendency to struggle with mornings, Dolphins can still achieve peak productivity during the late morning and early afternoon. Their focus tends to sharpen from around 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., making this their prime time for tackling demanding tasks. After lunchtime, they are still productive with few pressures, and if they reach peak productivity during this time, they can last until night, about 9 p.m, according to the Ontology of Value.

To maintain their focus throughout the morning, Dolphins should ensure they have a light and nutritious breakfast, avoiding heavy or sugary foods that could lead to an energy crash later on. They may also benefit from incorporating short breaks and mindfulness practices into their work routine to manage stress and maintain concentration.


Aligning chronotypes with working hours could improve work performance and increase productivity. To achieve this, having flexible working hours could benefit the organization and individuals. Not only that, when we work according to when we focus on work the most, it can produce satisfaction for the job and improve our overall well-being.

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