Now that you’ve analyzed when you’re most productive and perhaps adjusted the timing to fit the needs of your schedule, how are you going to use your best time? How can you rejig your to do list to make the most of your natural rhythm?
Hacking the schedule
Now that you know when you’re most productive, schedule tasks for when you have the energy to deal with them:
- email for when you can concentrate and really understand the message;
- social media for when concentration is flagging; and
- your core or creative tasks (editing) for when you naturally feel “flow.”
Mind, if you’ve got a particularly gnarly task you just haven’t felt up to tackling, it might be a good idea to tackle that when you have the most energy and feel the most upbeat. And just this once,* make that task non-negotiable in that time slot. It simply must get done then.
Minimizing interruptions is, of course, highly effective. Turn off notifications for email and social media. Instead, schedule time to check in. Use a site blocker if you need help staying antisocial. Or commit to only being social on your phone. That turns holding your phone into a powerful indicator that you are not on task (unless “social” is your task).
Flowing with the Lows
What about those times when your productivity naturally flags? Most of the time, you can just lean into these moments because you’re better off taking a break from “the big hard task” than trying to power through a low:
- take a break — look out the window, close your eyes, stretch
- do mindless chores — personal (like laundry) or for business (like filing)
- be social
- drink water
- tackle the two-minute tasks that pile up
The thing about down time is that it boosts the up-time as well as giving you balance. Welcome it.
*That’s a lie. You’re going to trick yourself into doing this again and again, you sly devil.