Energy Lifesavers: Maximize Your DayDec 07, 2021
-By Sophie Pinkoski
A common struggle for any leader is how to find and sustain momentum throughout your day. This is particularly challenging for CEOs, whose sheer amount of responsibilities can often become overwhelming if not managed properly.
Many have attempted to tackle the question of whether there is a magic time most conducive to maximizing productivity.
For example, the Wall Street Journal posits that waking up at 4am to start your day in quiet solitude is the ticket to building momentum. In comparison, Redbooth and Priceonomics found a far less drastic statistic that people got the most work done at 11am. Of course, the divide between early risers and night owls out there proves that there is no one size fits all for the most productive time of the day.
In actuality, it’s your personal routines that determine your productivity levels throughout your day.
The biggest roadblock for many, however, is putting a routine in place and sticking to it.
But how do you create an effective daily routine if you don’t know what works for you and what doesn’t?
Here’s some ways to discover when you’re most productive throughout your day and how to make the most of your time:
Mornings are for you – While a 4am wake up call is far from meant for everyone, Wall Street Journal might be onto something when it comes to dedicating your morning to personal solitude. After all, mornings are often hectic and rushed as you prepare yourself and your family for the day ahead.
Before you head right into the chaos, it’s important to take time first thing after you wake up to ground yourself.
Even 15 minutes of calming activities such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or working out will get you motivated before you head out the door.
Start with your most challenging task – Everyone’s got that one task on their to-do list they dread. The more you put it off, the more that dread builds your stress and anxiety. So get into the habit of putting it at the top of your priority list in the morning. If you can knock that off your list, you can do just about anything. You’re starting your work day with a win, building both your confidence and momentum.
Set aside focus blocks throughout your day – Research shows that people’s concentration threshold exists within 90 to 120 minute bursts before their focus begins to flag. Distribute specific focus blocks for yourself with particular goals in mind. As you get into the practice of working in uninterrupted hour and a half to two hour stretches, you’ll begin to notice patterns of when you’re most productive with certain tasks.
Accommodate the midday slump – In a typical workday, it’s not unusual for momentum to dip after lunch. Instead of grinding to a halt as your energy flags, take that time around 1 to 3pm to take a walk or schedule brainstorming sessions to get ideas flowing again. You’re going to be less energized to think about more challenging tasks, so switch your focus to more creative thinking and tasks with less urgent deadlines.
Your sleep schedule is sacred – Believe it or not, your sleep pattern holds the biggest influence when it comes to regulating your energy levels, focus, and general mental wellness. If you’re getting regular sleep, many other aspects of your health will fall into place. It’s tempting to constantly be “on” and available through the evening, but switching off is crucial to setting a regular sleep routine. Screen time directly before bed especially prevents your brain from slowing down. Switch your phone for a book, for example, to settle your mind, before you go to sleep.
You know yourself better than anyone else, and you will know what routines work for you best. By putting habits like these in place, you can distribute your energy through your day, thus maintaining your productivity while minimizing the possibility of burnout. No matter how you balance your day, it’s important that you take control over your schedule before it can control you.
Why 4 a.m. is the Most Productive Hour, Wall Street Journal
Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time, Harvard Business Review