Boost Your Productivity With This Too…

Night owl, or early bird; that is the question…

In my previous post, I talked about the important role energy plays in your efforts to boost your productivity. Here, I add another layer to the previous post.

Achieving greater productivity is a journey of self-discovery and self-mastery: self-discovery, in that you must learn more about yourself and what makes you tick; self-mastery, in that you must get yourself to do what you must (often, even when you don’t “feel” like it).

A big part of productivity is personal: you must know yourself and figure out what works for you.

One thing you must get to know is how your energy level varies throughout your day: when your energy level is highest and when it’s lowest.

Except for freaks of nature, who are high energy throughout the day, most people have times in the day when their energy level is higher and times when it’s lower.

Increasing your awareness of your energy “cycles” can really help you boost your productivity.

Are you a night owl or an early bird? In the morning, do you burst out of bed like champagne out of a bottle or does your personal “engine” need a few hours to warm up like a car in freezing cold? At night, do you feel that your day is just getting started or are you the first on the plane to dreamland? When are you the freshest (i.e. the most energized and focused)?

Night owls are fresher at night, early birds in the morning. Some people are fresh at both ends but are a mess in the middle. Some people are all over the place. Know thyself. Know your energy rhythms. When you know them, match your task and activities accordingly.

Know thyself. Know your energy rhythms. When you know them, match your task and activities accordingly.

If you’re filled with creative energy at night, spending that time slouching on the couch watching TV is a waste. That time would be better used doing creative work.

Conversely, if you’re attempting to press through creative work when your tank is on empty, you’ll be spinning your wheels and won’t get very far. Again, it’s a waste. You would have been better off slouching on the couch watching TV.

Be strategic: tackle tasks that require a lot of creative, emotional and mental energy when your energy level is high and keep easy, routine tasks for times when your energy level is low. It’s smart to use your most focused periods to do work that requires the most focus. In fact, you’d be wise to tackle your important activities when you have sufficient energy to allocate to them.

I understand that this ideal may not always possible; you may have constraints, such as a day job, kids to take care of, and other responsibilities, that make demands on your energy at fixed times, and there’s not much you can do about it for now. Thus, sometimes, even if you’re naturally a night owl, you may need to wake up early in the morning to get creative work done.

Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do. That said, make sure that the slots of times on which you do have control, don’t go wasted simply because you’re not matching your activities with your energy level effectively.

During the course of your day, your energy level varies, and to boost your productivity, you must learn to use these variations to your advantage.