Does this sound familiar? You sit down at your desk to get some work done and what should take you mere minutes, isn’t completed two hours later? Maybe you blame it on low energy or perhaps you feel overwhelmed. The truth is that timing matters. If you’d sat down at your desk during your peak productivity time, you would have accomplished everything on your list, and more.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know that they have a peak productivity time. Even if they’re aware that some times of the day are more productive than others, they may not be able to identify a consistent pattern. Yet, when you can clearly identify it, you can accomplish ten times more in less time. This means you’ll have more time in your day to both work and play.
What is a Peak Productivity Time?
Also called “power hours,” your peak productivity time is the time of day when you feel most able to focus. It’s generally a more creative time of day as well. You may have an inclination about your peak time already. For example, you may call yourself a “morning person” or a “night owl.” These phrases are clues to your productivity personality. However, you might be surprised to learn that a self-proclaimed morning person may also be a night owl when it comes to productivity.
Step #1 Those Common Phrases and a Little Self-Assessment.
Are you a “morning person?” Do you use phrases like that to describe yourself? Take a few minutes to consider when you consistently feel more energized and productive. For example, Ann considers herself to be a morning person but it also takes her about two hours to fully wake up and reach that peak productivity time.
Step #2 Energy Mapping
Using a simple day planner with the hours of the day on one side of the paper and the days of the week at the top, start tracking your energy level. You can also whip up a simple spreadsheet to track the information. Track your energy on a scale of 1-10 and jot down the task you’re performing.
For example, you sit down at your desk at 9:00am to answer email messages. Your energy level may be at a 6. You’re feeling pretty good but not at maximum productivity. Later, in the day you may be writing sales copy and your energy level is at a 9. Track this information for a few weeks and you’ll be able to identify patterns in your energy levels. You may find that every afternoon around 3 or 4 o’clock you have a burst of energy and are able to get a lot accomplished.
Step #3 Put it to Work
Once you’ve identified your power hours or peak productivity times, use them wisely. Schedule your priority tasks during this time. Any activity that requires focus, concentration and creativity should be scheduled during a power hour. Save the less energetic times for administrative tasks and chores.
There are only so many hours in the day. Identify your peak productivity time each day and get much more done. Your personal and professional life will benefit.