When do you do your best thinking? Your most productive thinking? The thinking that yields the most AH-HA!!! moments?
When do you have the most energy? When are you most ready to take on the world? Morning, afternoon, evening, or after everyone else has gone to bed?
Which day of the week do you get the most done? Are you a hit-the-ground-running-on-Monday-morning person or do you need Monday to ramp up so you can knock it out of the park come Tuesday? Are you a powerhouse of productivity on Friday? Does the quiet of a Sunday morning set you up for success when it comes to focusing on your most important work?
I apologize if I’m overwhelming you with too many questions. I realize my mission is to help you overcome overwhelm instead of adding to it. My goal though in asking these questions is to help you build awareness around the importance of timing when it comes to your personal productivity, and increased productivity may help you overcome your overwhelm.
Because these questions are designed to raise awareness, there are no right or wrong answers. The best answers are those that most closely reflect what actually happens in your life.
Each of us has our own productivity preferences.
For example, I have a distinct flow to my day. Over time, I’ve noticed my best times of the day for personal productivity and self-directed action are from 6:30AM to about 11:30AM (in fact, the clock reads 6:49AM now) and again from 4PM to 5:30PM when I get a second burst of focused energy before leaving my office. I’m less self-directed during the afternoon hours and I’ve learned that makes those hours a perfect time to work with others.
Because my prime productivity time is when I first wake up in the morning, I have to do a lot of self managing at this time of day so I don’t end up wasting those precious hours. For me, this time is best used for writing, tackling challenging reading, communicating with clients or thinking creatively. Some days it is best used for exercise, if that is what the day dictates and exercise won’t happen otherwise. What I don’t want to do is squander my prime productivity time on tasks like unloading the dishwasher or folding laundry.
When scheduling sessions with clients, I ask what time of day they’re at their best, so they can benefit from the session as much as possible. Someone who typically doesn’t get out of bed until 9AM isn’t going to be at their best for a 9AM session. We also consider time preferences when creating organizing systems. Why establish a schedule that has you working on your downsizing project, rife with decision-making, during the morning hours if that is when you’re at your foggiest? If your project is important, doesn’t it deserve the best you have to offer?
I’m confident you’ll experience increased productivity if you schedule your day and your week with your prime productivity times in mind. Identify those slots and fill them with your most meaningful projects – the work that really matters to you, the work that is mentally challenging for you, be it writing a book, working on your business, or making headway on sorting through and organizing your paperwork. Consider what might be possible for you if you were to create a best practice around scheduling in this way. How much more might you accomplish in a day? What kind of difference might there be in your output and even the quality of your output? Imagine the possibilities.
What do you know about your prime productivity periods? What do you do to make sure this time is protected for your most important work? I’d love to hear from you.