Memory Loss & the Brain, Vol. 8, Winter 2007 at 4, points out that “some studies suggest that you can improve your own learning abilities by 20 to 30 percent, just by choosing the right time to do your learning.” When you feel most wide-awake and alert, tackle your tough project or your knotty problem.
I previously wrote about metabolic ups and downs (See my post of Dec. 5, 2007: Circadian sensitivity.) in terms of tolerance of others’ daily rhythms, but the point here is that we each have customary surges of energy and ebbs of enervation. Our abilities to focus, absorb and create wax and wane with those flows. Accept them and shape your work day around them.
Or, mainline caffeine. “[S]elf-declared morning people, who would normally show a decline in their memory performance during the afternoon, can avoid this decline by ingesting caffeinated coffee” and presumably other caffeine-containing products like tea, soda and chocolate (See my post of Dec. 19, 2007: grounds for insight; April 22, 2008: caffeine and adenosine; and July 13, 2008 #1: coffee slows mental decline.).