Let Your Energy Dictate Your Day

by Meryl Evans | Category: Business, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 2 comments
Fractal Energy

Image from sxc.hu user zuwiu

In the mid-nineties, I worked with a colleague who was a published romance author. She did most of her writing in the evenings, her most productive time. My night owl friend arrived in the office as late as possible while I came in early. Despite my being the morning person and her night gal, we worked well together and stayed in touch after leaving the company.

Transitioning from Sleepyhead to Early Bird

I discovered my penchant for early hours at the start of my career. Of course, there was a time when I couldn’t imagine waking up at or before 7:00 a.m. That happened way back when I was a typical teen. In high school, class started at 8:00 a.m., and I slept walked around the house in the morning and somehow made it to school on time. By the time I went to college, my body hated the 8:00 a.m. class. Somewhere between that class and the first job, the body clock changed its ways. And I heard it.

It makes sense to exercise as early as possible for a burst of energy to carry you through the day. I don’t workout until the afternoon sometime between lunch and 3:00 p.m. because I save my mornings for work when I’m most effective. Besides, if I workout in the morning, I feel guilty thinking I should be working. By the time I step onto a cardio machine or pick up dumbbells, I do it with a clear conscious.

On weekends, I exercise before lunch so I can enjoy the rest of the day without a drop of guilt.

Finding Your Peak Time

Morning, afternoon, night. It doesn’t matter. Identify your high and low energy times based on the needs of your mind and body. Most of us can figure out when we’re most and least productive. However, if you’re not sure, track your work for one week. Pay attention to when you finish the most work and when you drag that it takes you longer.

Also be aware of the types of tasks you do. For example, you may discover it’s easier to make phone calls in the morning because you’re more alert and social than in the afternoon. For me, I do the bulk of writing in the morning saving admin tasks and editing work for sluggish times.

Knowing my peak time is in the mornings, I avoid scheduling appointments and meetings during that time. I also try to schedule them toward the end of the week when I feel more relaxed having accomplished a lot of work for the week.

When are you most productive? Least productive? Are you a morning or night person? Have you always been that way?

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  • Posted by Reticula on October 27th, 2011, 10:51 AM

    I am, and have been from birth, a night person. When I have to, I can get up and move about the world in the morning, but I’m not myself. I don’t hit full productivity until around noon. My muse, Delores, doesn’t usually wake up until midnight, so I’m often writing until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning.

    I drove my mom nuts when I was a kid. I could not go to sleep before midnight, no matter what time I had to get up in the morning for school. She would put me to bed at 9:00, and I would lie there for hours in the dark, daydreaming, whispering to myself.

    I’m fortunate my early bird colleagues at the university where I teach snap up the morning classes and leave me the afternoon slots so I don’t have to go in until 11:00 or so. Sometimes when I’m staring down a stack of papers, I think about getting a corporate job but the one thing that stops me is the 8-5 schedule.

  • Posted by meryl on October 31st, 2011, 8:02 AM

    Reticula, sounds like you recognized your peak and weak times and take advantage of them. It’s great you have a job that lets you control your hours. Not many people can do that especially in the corporate world where they like everyone to be in by a certain time at the latest.

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