Energy Cycles are the last thing on peoples minds when they make the decision to improve the way they manage their time. They inevitable look to the internet or other external sources in an attempt to find some tips and techniques to help them. I think that if we wish to improve our time management, we should first of all examine how we use the time we have at the moment, and I am not talking about logging everything you do and then analyzing it.
We should all be more aware of and focus on our individual energy cycles. We all have natural energy cycles and learning to interpret our own, and how to work with it, will go a long way to improving our productivity.
Energy Cycles – An Introduction
You’re not a robot who can function at the same level throughout the day. Your energy levels ebb and flow like the waves hitting the shoreline. If you start to appreciate when your energy levels are at their highest, you can then use this time of day to concentrate your personal effort on the high-value tasks, or those tasks which need indepth thought and concentration. If you know you’re your energy levels are low, why not use this time to complete those tasks that don’t require much mental or physical energy.
In studies of energy cycles, people are often described as Larks, Owls or Hummingbirds?
In general, larks are most alert at midday and feel most productive at work a few hours before lunch. They don’t need an alarm clock because they invariably get up before the alarm goes off, often before 6am. Larks cheerfully report their favourite mealtime as breakfast and generally consume less coffee than non-larks. Larks tend to get increasingly drowsy as the evening wears on and retire to bed (or want to) around 9pm.
In general owls are most alert around 6pm, experiencing their most productive time in the late evening. They rarely go to bed before 3am and if they do, will not sleep well. Owls invariably need an alarm clock to get them up in the morning and in extreme cases, some need multiple alarms to waken them before their natural stirring time, which is 10am. Their favourite mealtime is dinner and they drink lots of coffee all day to keep themselves going.
Owls and Larks only cover about 30% of the population, with the rest being hummingbirds, with some more owlish and some being more larkish.
How to make it work
I have drawn the diagram below to show an example of a typical Energy Cycle for a larkish hummingbird, (someone who is quite alert and productive in the morning) and how they could use there energy cycles to their advantage. Starting the day with easy warm up tasks that don’t require much thought and completing keys tasks when their energy levels are at the highest. Notice that larkish hummingbirds also have a fairly high energy level in the afternoon, just not as high as in the morning.
What does your Energy Cycle look like? Let me know
Till next Time
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor