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Perfect Timing: How to Make the Most of the Day

From when to send e-mail, sell something on ebay, or make a baby, find out how to best use your 24 hours each day.

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8:30 a.m.: Decide Something

Researchers have found that we make our best decisions right after we wake up. Later, we suffer from “decision fatigue” and make the quicker or easier decision.

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9:30 a.m.: Update Your Blog

Most Web surfers check their favorite sites before 10 a.m. If you want to maximize your blog’s traffic, be sure to post shortly after breakfast.

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10 a.m.: Take an Aspirin

Mornings, specifically Monday mornings, are the most common time for both heart attacks and migraines. A preemptive aspirin could ward off pain or even save your life.

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11 a.m.: Send an E-Mail

Analysis of more than 200 million e-mails found that people are most likely to read their mail shortly before their lunch break. Send one at 11 a.m. to be at the top of the pile.

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1 p.m.: Watch a Funny YouTube Video

Researchers from Northeastern and Harvard, who studied 300 million tweets over three years, concluded that the national mood is at its lowest at 1 p.m. Why not chase away those early-afternoon blues with a video of a sneezing panda?

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2 p.m.: Take a Power Nap

The post-lunch slump isn’t just a symptom of a full belly; at around 2 p.m., your body temperature starts to drop the same way it does at night. Australian researchers found that a ten-minute power nap is the most effective way to combat the mid-afternoon blahs.

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4 p.m.: Tweet Something Witty

If you come up with a 140-character zinger first thing in the morning, save it. A study conducted by social-media scientist Dan Zarrella found that Twitter users are most likely to retweet others’ pithy comments between 3 p.m. and midnight, peaking between 4 and 5 p.m.

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4:30 p.m.: Clean the House

It’s best to clean when your hand-eye coordination is highest, around 4 to 5 p.m.

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5 p.m.: Get Some Exercise

Your body temperature is highest from 5 to 6 p.m. The heat increases your stamina and strength while decreasing your reaction time, so the added warmth makes your workouts more effective.

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9 p.m.: Sell Something on eBay

According to eBay users, the best time to end an auction is 9 p.m. EST because people tend to surf the Web when they get home from work at night.

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10 p.m.: Solve the World’s Problems

Difficult problems require creative thinking, and studies show that people do their most abstract thinking when they are tired. If you’re not a night owl, letting your mind wander when you’re worn-out might lead to a creative solution to a problem that seemed insurmountable at noon.

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7 a.m.: Make a Baby!

If you want kids, your best bet is trying when you wake up—men’s sperm counts are significantly higher in the morning.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest