Understanding Your Energy Cycles
Written by Lisa Montanaro | October 11, 2011

From Guest Blogger, Janet Barclay

Time management can be defined simply as looking at your various activities and deciding which are most important. An important aspect of time management, which may be overlooked, is determining the best time for you to engage in each of those activities.

Everyone has a unique cycle of daily up-times and down-times, and working according to your own cycle can have a tremendous impact on your productivity. Failure to understand and apply this key principle can cause you to waste your peak energy times on your least challenging tasks.

A simple way to explore your natural body rhythms is to complete the following sentences, from Julie Morgenstern’s “Time Management from the Inside Out.”

Mornings are the best time for me to _______________ and the worst time for me to _______________.
Afternoons are the best time for me to ______________ and the worst time for me to _______________.
Evenings are the best time for me to _______________ and the worst time for me to _______________.
Late at night is the best time for me to _______________ and the worst time for me to ______________.

You can take advantage of these cycles by scheduling your activities around them. If you determine that mornings are the best time for you to work on tasks requiring extreme concentration, try to capitalize on this knowledge by avoiding meetings and telephone calls during this time, if possible.

The type of activities that you find energizing is shaped by your personality type. If you are an extravert, you may need to spend time discussing a project with someone else before you can dive into it. On the other hand, if you are an introvert, you probably thrive on having extended periods of uninterrupted time.

Unfortunately, you can’t always choose when to do certain activities. For example, you may determine that mornings are the best time for you to participate in meetings, but you belong to a committee which always meets after lunch, when you often feel sluggish. It is therefore necessary for you to develop strategies to help recharge your internal battery. In this case, eating a lighter lunch or taking a short walk after eating may help you to have the energy you need for that meeting.

Often a change of pace is all that is needed. For example, if you have been sitting at your desk working on a task requiring deep concentration, you may find that making a phone call or two will give you a burst of energy. On the other hand, if you’ve been working in a hectic environment, stepping outside for some fresh air and a quiet moment may be in order. What works for someone else may not work for you, so being aware of your own energy boosters and working them into your schedule will help you to avoid unplanned downtime. Nearly everyone will find that proper diet and exercise will enhance their overall energy level.

These strategies are helpful not only when planning your workday, but when deciding when to shop, work around the house, or engage in social or other personal activities, and may even make it easier to fit them into your busy life.

About the Author

Janet Barclay is a former professional organizer and the author of Organizing Your Life, Your Way. In her e-book, she combines her training in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® with her own research to outline the typical strengths and challenges faced by each of 16 personality types, along with the most effective organizing and time management strategies for each type.

Janet now specializes in blog design and support for professional organizers. For further information, please visit her website at www.organizedassistant.com.

Meet the Author

Helping others be the best versions of themselves gets me jazzed!

I’ve worn many hats in my lifetime—often at the same time—while enjoying fulfilling careers. I’ve been a performer, teacher, sign language instructor, lawyer, career counselor, law professor, coach, consultant, mediator, entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, writer, and author. 

I’m an eternal optimist and life-long learner, constantly researching ways to improve personal and professional effectiveness. And it brings me great joy to then pass on the results of that persistent curiosity to my clients and audiences. 

Of all the career hats I’ve been privileged to wear, my favorite is owner of this business since 2002. Why? Because it provides me the opportunity to work with wonderful organizational and individual clients. On any given day, I get to connect deeply with audiences, work with dedicated teams, improve workplaces, watch clients have a-ha moments, and know I’ve made a difference in their lives and careers. And that is very satisfying.