Do you frequently hit an afternoon lull in your energy level that makes you dependent on caffeine and mood-boosting music to get through the rest of the day? I find that the afternoons are much harder to focus and get stuff done, and I know I’m not alone. At the beginning of the day I feel like I have all the power to save the world, and by the late afternoon it’s all I can do to not fall out of my chair.
The truth is, not all time is created equal during your work day. Some companies are changing their work schedules to accommodate highly productive blocks of time and creative cycles. No matter what kind of work you do, there is a period of peak performance during your work day, that when used strategically, can greatly increase the productivity and quality of your work.
3 Tips to Optimize Your Work Day:
1. Optimize Your Wake Up Call: In the mornings before you get started with your work for the day, spend some time on you. When all is still and quiet in your home, devote the first part of your day to prayer, personal growth, and bible reading. You will be your best you at work when you’ve taken the time to be filled up. Invite God to be with you throughout your day at work and in every conversation, meeting, and decision. You don’t need to spend hours on this part of your day. Just 15- 30 minutes will make a significant impact on the rest of your day.
2. Optimize Your Mornings: During the first three hours of your work day, do your most intense work. For writers, this is when you should be writing. If you’re making big decisions, this is the time to do your deep thinking and decision-making. Studies show that the brain is most active and creative immediately following sleep. So your mind is at its best for creative work when you first wake up. Similarly, our energy levels and willpower/self-control is strongest when we first wake up. The longer we go throughout the day, the less willpower we have left (which is why I make frequent candy runs to the gas station in the desperate hours of the late afternoon). Let the emails sit in your inbox for the first three hours of the day. Concentrate your most focused time doing high-priority work.
3. Optimize Your Afternoons: After lunch, your energy level is probably going to drop. And by about 2:00, you’re ready for a nap- am I right? That’s why the afternoons are perfect for socializing and relationship building. This is when you should be engaging in emails, phone calls, business meetings, and coffee meet-ups. Try to schedule ALL of your meetings for the afternoons. If you’re afforded the flexibility, this is also a great time to hit the gym for an afternoon pick-me-up. In the afternoons, if you give yourself an hour to mentally check out and do some form of physical exercise, you will be able to better regain focus toward the end of your workday.
Being strategic about using time effectively will help you become a better leader and business owner. Are you ready to grow your business and take it to the next level? Find out what’s keeping you stuck and what you need to do next to grow.