Most of us have a period of time during the day when we are more energetic, creative and energetic than we are at other times. For me, my “8-hour productivity window” is approximately 5:30am to 1:30pm. I can get another spurt in late afternoon to wrap up the day, but overall, once I’ve finished that period of time, I become less creative and start to wind down into rest mode. It is important for me to maximize productivity by knowing when I’m most energetic and planning accordingly.
Perhaps your productivity window is more like 8 to 5. Or 10 to 7. Or even 3 to 11. Or maybe, you aren’t sure what it is.
Take a few days to pay deeper attention to your energy patterns. Jot down your observations, so that you can begin to see any trends. There isn’t going to be a perfectly predictable pattern … energy levels can be affected by sleep, nutrition, and stress. But you should still be able to see a general tendency, on which you can start building your productivity plan.
I realize we can’t all set our own hours. But even so, as you start looking at how much you get done and when, you’ll start to see what hours of the day should be reserved for your most important tasks, whether you work for yourself or for others.
For example, I’ve been thinking that I should give more focused attention to housework, and I find that if I carve out a set amount of time per morning to do it, I feel a sense of relief and joy that I am making some progress. Conventional wisdom would say that I should use that chunk of time for my business and creative pursuits, but part of the reason I work for myself is to be able to give attention to more than just “paid” pursuits. So for now, I am making sure that some focused housework is part of my 8-hour productivity window.
Maybe for you it means that you tackle the hardest task of your day right after arriving at work, or that you wait until around 10:00 when you’re finally really awake. Maybe you ask to reschedule meetings that currently occur during your highest creative energy times. Maybe you talk to your boss about adjusting your hours in the office to better reflect your best energy.
It will be worth the effort to track and tweak your 8-hour productivity window and do your best to utilize it well. You’ll see a difference in your results over time, and you may just enjoy your day a little more, too.
Bonus: for more on this concept, check out this article in Entrepreneur.
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