Picture the last time you had an important decision to make. When did you make it? At night? In the morning? Midday?

Is there a best time to make important decisions?

What if you are a night owl? A morning person? Does it vary from person to person?

Researchers in Argentina sought to find the answer to this question (APS, Is There an Ideal Time of Day for Decision-Making?). And it turns out, there is a right time - and a wrong time - of day to make important decisions.

Morning is The Best Time to Make Decisions

Their findings? Regardless who you are, morning hours are the best time of day to make any important decision.

They determined this by studying 100 elite online chess players - each having played at least 2,000 games. For analysis, players were categorized by gender, time zone, and whether they were a morning person or a night person.

They chose online chess players because it made it easy to scientifically judge the quality of their moves and decisions.

For the experiment, participants were allowed to play games as they would in the real world. Morning people played in the morning, night owls played in the evening.

Their initial assumption? That morning people would make better decisions in the morning. Evening people would make more accurate decisions in the evening.

The Later in The Day, The More Sloppy And Risky The Decisions

As it turns out, personal time preferences had no impact on the quality of their moves and decisions. What did have impact on all players? The actual time of day.

  1. In the morning, all players made slower and more accurate decisions.
  2. By midday, all players hit a plateau.
  3. In the evening, all players made faster and more risky decisions.

The takeaway?

It doesn't matter if you are a morning person or an evening person. Male or female. Living in the United Kingdom or the United States. You make make better decisions in the morning. Period.

Guard Your Morning With Fervor for Decision Making

That's why every major business leader consistently extols the virtues of morning routines. That's why every powerful personality guards their morning with fervor.

Shouldn't you do the same for your morning and the decisions you have to make?

Published on: Mar 17, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.