Your energy levels have a profound impact on your effectiveness. Think about it. Amongst your circle of friends, you can see the differences: there is the friend who is up at the crack of dawn, to the one who always hits a workout after 7pm, to the one wide-awake working on proposals well after midnight. Harnessing your energy cycles isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” conversation. So how do you figure yours out?
Study yourself. Clues to your energy cycles and preferences lie in the way your days operate. For example, if you keep leaving your toughest brain work (can anyone say proposal writing?) for 6pm, after everyone goes home so you won’t be interrupted, but that’s also when your eyes start to glaze over, this might not be the most best match. The self-assessment below will help you to start thinking of your schedule in an energy-minded way.
Identifying Your Energy Cycles
Complete the following sentences:
Mornings are the best time for me to _____________, and the worst time for me to _____________.
Afternoons are the best time for me to _____________, and the worst time for me to _____________.
Evenings are the best time for me to _____________, and the worst time for me to _____________.
Late at night is the best time for me to _____________, and the worst time for me to _____________.
What can you do with this knowledge?
Understanding your natural daily rhythms gives you a point of negotiation. Let’s circle back to our “6pm-eyes-glazing-over” example…try scheduling this high value activity at a high-energy time, even if this means coming in an hour early to get that uninterrupted window—or scheduling it between 12-2pm when everyone else is more likely to be at lunch. You might not always be able to do things at your optimal time, but if you’re aware (and willing to make the effort), you can pull it off more often than not.