Just as electrical equipment functions best when receiving a solid surge of electricity, so do you. In your case, the power you need is energy, which gives you stamina for the day and the ability to kick into high gear when necessary to deal with a problem.
It’s not that you have to be perky all day or load up on four shot espresso coffees on the way to work. But you do need to know your own energy flow. When you understand how your personal energy patterns ebb and flow, you can use that knowledge to support your time management strategy.
Are you a night person, who works late but starts slow in the mornings? Are you an early bird who can get up before dawn, exercise, arrive early at work and have your in-box cleared before your boss arrives? Or are you a mid-day person who starts slow, picks up speed then tapers off in the late afternoon?
These patterns relate to your natural energy flow also called biorhythms. Some people chart these monthly and literally use them to make their schedule, work or travel commitments. You don’t have to get that involved in the process.
You can observe yourself and note which hours are your prime working hours, the times when you can be highly productive with the least effort or tiredness. Just make a simple chart of the day either on graph paper or on a spreadsheet based graph. List your waking hours on the bottom and a high, medium, low rating along the side.
Then Make an “X” for your energy level at each hour of the day. As you connect the dots, you’ll notice a pattern of energy highs and lows. Do this for several days and see how consistent the pattern is.
Knowing your prime working hours (early bird, midday, evening) is extremely helpful in how you schedule the complicated tasks in your workday. If you have a choice in scheduling the time to make a presentation at a conference and you are a midday person, ask for a time between 11am to 3pm.
Don’t say yes to the 8am presentation time. You will wake up sluggish and not be sharp even though you know the material. The same is true for dividing tasks. With a large project, divide the elements so that you plan to work on the creative writing or material calculations during the prime energy time of your workday.
Your mind will be more alert and you will have the energy to focus on complicated work. During your off-peak energy times, gather related materials or do some aspect of the project that is less detailed and does not require a high level of creative energy or decision-making.
After using this approach for a few weeks, you’ll see what happened on those days when your time management plan seemed to derail even though you were motivated to do the work.
You simply scheduled the wrong task for your lower energy times and so your output was less than anticipated. As with electrical power, peak periods are more expensive. Peak periods in your workday are more valuable, so allocate them wisely and use that high-energy surge to get the work done faster and better.