How To Use Energy Levels To Increase Your Productivity
Or bring on the magic hour.
I have noticed that my brain switches off right after 2 pm. It takes a break for about an hour or so. It does not matter whether I've just had my break, my lunch, my afternoon walk or a nap. It seems that I have no power over this particular brain reboot occasion.
I also know that I am at a peak of productivity between 6 and 9 am. How do I know that? I feel like I am a rocket that's been sent to space. I feel like I can conquer the world, so getting myself and my toddler ready for work/nursery is a piece of cake.
But after 9 am my productivity suffers ever so slightly because I tend to enjoy daydreaming right about when my working day starts. I must say, it is a bit easier to pull myself out of the daydreaming session than around 2 pm mark. Anything is possible up until 2 pm.
What does it mean?
It means that I have high, medium and low energy supplies throughout the day. And in turn that means I could use this knowledge to my advantage my scheduling my tasks to utilise my energy levels. Yippee!
Start noting down the time of the day when you feel most and least productive.
Test your theory but trying to do something taxing during your least productive and your most productive.
Remember those time slots.
Plan your day according to your energy levels.
It's good to know your magic hours. But it's even better to create a plan to make sure you don't miss it. Because knowing and acting on it are two different things. And unless you do something about this knowledge, it remains a theory. But we need to turn into into practice.
The easiest way is to book it in your calendar, be it your work calendar or your phone calendar. I prefer to mark my magic hours on my phone. By doing that, this knowledge remains with me even if I change jobs. And sometimes you need to adjust your magic slots because our productivity and energy levels might change with age, season, life circumstances (like having a baby, new job, new house, etc.)
Book your magic hour in your calendar
Plan important, hard or big tasks for this time slot of possible.
Sometimes it's not possible to use your magic hours as planned. In my case, my toddler might have a strop and I won't be able to sit down and write anything because I need to comfort her instead. For those days I move my tasks under 'high energy' to 'medium energy' slot and pretend I have lots of energy! I obviously don't, that's why I might drink a bit more coffee or put an upbeat music on to motivate me and give me a bit of a boost.
Often it helps and I reenter my most productive energy level. But unlike my usual allocate 3 hours slot (plus minus 2 elephants), the artificially induced energy boost doesn't last as long. So I need to be extra careful about what one task is the most important that I need to complete before I leave my high energy space.
Be mindful, observe and note down time slots you have the most energy in.
Mark those time slots in your diary.
Book tasks in your diary according to your energy levels.
If you cannot complete big tasks during your high energy slot, move only one important task to a medium energy level slot. Help yourself to imitate high energy by drinking coffee, standing on your head or having a cold shower.