Up until about 5 years ago, the first thing I would do in the morning, when I started work was sift through my e-mails to check that there was nothing urgent for me to do. I relished in getting my unread e-mails down to zero. A battle that could never be truly won, but I felt one worth pursuing.
However on consideration, I realised that in terms of my performance and success, this was not only a futile goal, but it was also using up my valuable energy. Now as a morning person, my energy is highest between 7am – 12pm. I also get a second burst of energy around 5pm.
What this means is my brain is charged and ready to cope with the most complicated, taxing tasks, where I would need not only creativity, but maximum problem solving capability. And yet I was using this morning high energy, to sift through e-mails… something I could easily do with one eye open.
This realisation made me rethink how I prioritise and organise my week and, give or take the odd exception, I ruthlessly plan my day around my natural energy cycles and I would urge you to do the same.
Protect your high energy brain moments
That means protecting your high energy moments, by blocking them out in your diary for your high brain activities, for example; designing a talk, a blog, strategic planning, creative problem solving etc.
Also ensure that you plan your low brain activities – the ones you can do with very little energy all, such as your business admin, expenses, trawling through e-mails, even picking up the dry cleaning, to your low energy times (for me that’s between 1 – 4pm).
Finally, when you feel this low energy coming on, if you still have high brain work to do recharge your batteries; take a break, go for a brisk walk, get some fresh air and of course remember that your brain uses 25% of your calories, so eat for energy, (try nuts, fruit, whole grain crackers and hummus).
By being very deliberate about what you do and importantly when you do it, you will naturally achieve more through your week as you tap into this mental energy.