One of the main tips just about any book on production, self-help or business will tell you is to use your high energy times of the day for your most important tasks. While I believe this is certainly a good idea, I have a small twist to it for those looking to go from a job/career to a calling/passion/purpose....I have a small twist to it for those looking to go from a job/career to a calling/passion/purpose. Click To Tweet
First, instead of just limiting your high energy times for your most important or most pressing projects, why not expand your priority to let this time be the time you focus on your calling/passion/purpose? Many gurus or experts will say you should start spending at least one hour a day on what you love until you can make the transition and spend more time on what you love. Why not let this one hour be a part of your high energy time of day?
Discovering Your High Energy Times of Day
Your highest energy times of day will likely be in the first eight hours you are awake. Most people have two high energy times, one when they first away or about an hour or two later and another later in the day (a bit of a second wind). Everybody is a bit different, however, so it can vary.
For me, my most productive time of day is about three to four hours before breakfast when I have first awakened. I don’t even need coffee to power through at this time as my mind is fresh, I haven’t used it yet and I am ready to go. When I write during this time, I can often get twice, even three times as much done as I can later in the day.
I do have a second high energy time right after breakfast. It’s important to understand; my wife and I don’t wake up and go right into breakfast. We start with lemon water to get our liver going and to rehydrate, before moving onto our green/fruit smoothie. Both of these things get me going and help get my systems awake and ready for the day. Breakfast is usually about 3-4 hours after we awake, which also allows for a nice intermittent fasting between dinner the night before and breakfast.
Anyway, I hit a second high energy time right after breakfast; probably due to the cup or two of coffee I pour out of my French Press, which I drink after eating a healthy breakfast of vegetables, oatmeal, beans and fruit. This second high energy part of my day can last up to 4 hours on a very good day and when I am using the Pomodoro Technique (more on that in a later post), but it usually lasts closer to 2 hours. I can really get a ton of writing done when I am in this second high energy point of my day.
I discovered these times of day are best for my productivity just by keeping track of how I felt each day. I bet if I had done this back in my bartending days, my high energy times of day would have been when rest of the world is sleeping. However, I am not on that type of schedule anymore and I don’t have the mental capacity for writing or much of anything outside of reading a book or watching a movie after dinner.
If you want to find your high energy times of the day, just track how you feel each day. For some, it’s not first thing in the morning. In fact, my wife swears she’s most productive later in the day and it certainly takes her longer to get into her day than it does for me. We are all different and it’s not about trying to be someone you’re not. It’s simply about tracking how you feel, discovering your high energy times of day and cashing in on these times with highly important tasks.
Filling Your High Energy Times of Day
There are two plans you can use here and you may not have much of a choice, depending on your job and regular schedule. I recommend putting your one hour a day of something you love into one of your high energy times of day. If you don’t, this will become something you put off and it will never get done, which will rob you of energy you probably don’t even realize you have.
The first plan is for those with some flexibility in their weekly schedule. It works for me, but it may or may not work for you. However, it could be a baseline you adjust to find your perfect schedule for the week.
Instead of thinking you have to be like everybody else in the world, why not use your flexibility to your advantage? You don’t have to work 9 to 5, five days a week. Those with flexibility can adjust this to provide huge benefits.
Work a 3-day Work Week
What I like to do, since I have flexibility, is work three days a week and take four days off. I still work about 30 hours, maybe a bit more each week right now, but the goal is to cut that back over time and as I build my blog and the books I am writing into a source of income. Right now, my schedule looks something like this:
- Day #1 – 11 hours of work and 18-20 Pomodoros
- Day #2 – 11 hours of work and 18-20 pomodoros
- Day #3 – 7 hours of work and 10-12 pomodoros
I know that only adds up to 29 hours and not 30. The other hour is probably spent checking/returning emails on the other two days of the week outside of the weekend. At some point, I will cut that back, but I am not there yet.
Since we travel, I can adjust my week to fit our needs based on days we are moving from one place to another or if something is going on we really want to do, I can adjust my days during the week to fit our specific needs. This type of schedule can also work great for parents working from home since kids may have things going on during times you would usually work or on days you may want to take off.
I do this so that I can do what I love, which is writing for me (books/blog posts) on those other four days of the week. I don’t spend all day writing, but those days are about a half or one-quarter day for me and it’s all about my writing. The only time I don’t use those days for my own writing is when I have a pressing project or something a client needs quickly, which only happens once in a while.
The second plan works better for those with a more traditional job and not as much flexibility. Basically, you will have to figure out when your highest energy times of the day are and make sure one of those hours you can use for what you love, your calling/purpose/passion. Even if this time falls within your job time, you have to figure out a way. This is the hard part.
It becomes easier if your highest energy time is earlier in your day because this can be adjusted. For example, if you commonly wake up at 7:30am, eat breakfast, shower, change and leave for work, maybe you start waking up earlier at 6am and using an hour in there for what you love. You could even wake up at 5am and use more than just an hour in there.
This would work for me, since one of my highest energy times of the day is when I first wake up.
If this won’t work for you because you take longer to get into your day, you may have to wake up even earlier to find the time or you may have to look at another time of day. Maybe your lunch break is the perfect time and you can somehow eat something while you’re working during lunch or on the regular job. Maybe your highest energy time kicks in when you first arrive home from work (not likely, but maybe) and this is the time to get your hour a day of what you live done.
For some, it may even be later at night, which is perfectly fine. If you work best when everybody is asleep and it’s quiet, find an hour in the middle of the night to work on what you love.
There is no set-in-stone best way to go about using your highest energy times of day. However, if you know the first 4 hours at your job is the best time for your productivity, why not do as much work for your job as possible in the first 3 and use the other hour for the thing you love, as long as you won’t get fired for doing so.
Look at it this way, many workers spend an hour on social media or checking email or doing something else meaningless, so why not just let your wasted hour be used for something you love? Of course, all of this is based on your individual situation and the rules/expectations of your job.
The Ultimate GoalFinding your highest energy times of day and cashing in on them is part of a larger goal. Click To Tweet
Finding your highest energy times of day and cashing in on them is part of a larger goal. This strategy can help you to cure laziness, conquer procrastination and start moving from a job/career that gives you a paycheck to a calling/purpose/passion that gives you a paycheck and puts a smile on your face. You don’t have to be stuck in a 9 to 5 doing something you hate or just don’t love. You can take strides towards something you love.
It all starts with a plan. Start by finding your highest energy times of day by tracking each day and how you feel throughout the day. It won’t take more than a week or two before you have it nailed down and you know exactly when you’re most productive.
What’s your highest energy time of day and how did you find it? Put your answer in the comments below.