If you're planning to start a business shortly, you should consider moving the start date to September. Why? Because on average, people get far more work accomplished during autumn than any other season.

The task-management software company Redbooth recently compiled data from 1.8 million projects and 28 million tasks over a four-year period. Some of the these findings include:

  • Monday is the most productive day of the workweek.
  • Friday is the least productive day of the workweek (but not by much).
  • Work activity peaks at 11 a.m. and starts declining after lunch.
  • Even though most people are still at work, productivity nose-dives after 4 p.m.

While it's interesting to see statistical proof, most people intuitively know all of that. What's surprising, though, is that there's a huge variation in productivity according to season. According to the data, the average worker is

  • 20 percent more productive in autumn than in winter.
  • 11 percent more productive in autumn than in spring.
  • 7 percent more productive in autumn than summer.

The sharp differences in seasonal productivity are echoed by month-to-month productivity figures. On average, workers get 32 percent more done in the most productive month (October) than in the least productive month (January). 

In fact, the three most productive months of the year are September, October, and November, despite the fact that two of those three months have only 30 days and November contains a four-day weekend.

Redbooth speculates that the autumn productivity boost is because people are "cramming in work before the holidays," but since they were only analyzing historical data, that's pure speculation.

An article in Business Insider on the same subject (but based on a separate study) similarly opined that autumn

represents the best working conditions of the year. People come back to school and work from summer breaks refreshed and ready to be productive. Many companies begin eyeing their year-end results and kick into gear for a "fall sprint" into the fourth quarter.

I'm not so sure. I can't remember any occasion where a boss or coworker said anything like "Hey, it's September--let's get working on those year-end results!"

I suspect there's something more primal at root here. For thousands of years, agricultural societies have depended upon autumn harvests for year-long survival. Humans have probably developed a genetic propensity to become especially active in the autumn.

So there you have it. Because starting a new business requires extra effort in the first few months, you'll be better able to handle the additional workload if you schedule its launch in September, preferably on around the equinox, which in 2018 falls on September 22.

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Published on: Sep 6, 2018