Why is it when you sit down at your desk to do a few minutes of work and hours later it’s still not done? Is it overwhelm? Distraction? Could be. Another reason could be you’re operating outside of your productivity zone.
Not many of us are conscious where our productivity zone lies. Even long after we have left the corporate world, we continue to wake up and go to work during the same times as we did before. Depending on your business, sure we do have to operate a certain number of hours within the socially accepted business hours. However, your best work should be scheduled for times when you are at your peak.
What is Peak Productivity Zone?
Some people call these their power hours. It is the time of day when you feel you are most alert, creative and energized. Most people identify with being a morning person or a night owl and these are clues to where your zone lies. It’s not always a hard and fast rule. Some self-proclaimed morning people can also be highly productive at night. To better identify your zones, try these steps.
Step #1 Re-assessing What “Type” You Are
If you confess you are a morning person. Think again. Do you jump out of bed each morning and are able to hit the ground running really quickly? Or are you a slow starter. Though you wake up early, in actuality, you can’t think of work or anything until you’ve taken time for quiet reflection, and to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Maybe you are able to get to work after some time to complete your ritual but you need more mundane starter tasks before you feel ready to tackle the harder tasks.
Step #2 Map Your Energy Levels
Using a simple a spreadsheet or paper, record your energy level during different hours of the day. A simple scale of 1-10 works, 1 being low and 10 being high.
Track this over a period of time. 3-4 weeks will give you a good indicator. You may see a pattern emerging that you’ve never noticed before. Don’t be surprised if you find your energy levels waning and returning through the day.
Step #3 Work It
By now, you would have identified a time or times of day when you are fully engaged. This is where you should schedule the big tasks that require your focus, concentration and creativity. These are the times when you should hang a do not disturb sign on your door, make sure everyone respects it, and protect dearly.
If you have meetings, administrative tasks, time for others, and chores should be scheduled them outside of your peak productivity zone.
Sounds simple? It is, but don’t mistake simplicity for inefficiency. Often, it’s the simplest things, and smallest change that can make a big difference.
One great book that talks about a similar concept of managing your energy is The Power of Full Engagement. Put it on your reading list.
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