To get started, spend a week assessing your focus and energy levels throughout the day so you can identify your finest hours for deep work. During this time, keep a notebook handy and log when you are able to focus and be productive versus the times when you are restless, unfocused or lack energy.
According to my focus and energy levels, this is how my typical day unfolds. First, I need some “me” time in the morning and then my most focused and productive time of the day is between 8 and 10:30 a.m. After that I quickly lose my focus. By noon, I need some social interaction, movement and external stimulation. The afternoons are my most unfocused and low energy times and then I get my second wind in the early afternoon to evening. After that spurt, I really need time to wind down
It doesn’t really matter how your energy levels rise and fall through the day, it’s just helpful to recognize your natural highs and lows.
Once I understood how my energy levels ebb and flow throughout the day, I was then able to clearly determine the best times for certain activities or tasks that would result in optimal efficiency. I must admit that as a result of this exercise, I decided to change my schedule around to focus on deep work versus checking email first thing in the morning. For many years, I started my day pouring through and responding to emails and then I realized I was wasting my most productive hours doing mindless work.
So, based on my findings, here’s what my perfectly productive day would look like:
While this presents an ideal case, inevitably things will come up that will prevent you from sticking to your optimal schedule but having a solid starting framework will still help you structure your day when you do have flexibility.
TRY THIS OUT:
- When scheduling meetings, proactively propose times that best suit your schedule.
- Block your calendar during your most productive times to focus on deep work.
- Turn off email and social media notifications during focused work times to eliminate unnecessary distractions.
- Proactively reach out to your network to schedule lunch meetings, walks or outings in different and new places to get motivated and energized.
After 25 years in the corporate world, working at Lotus Development, Ernst & Young, The Weather Channel and Play On! Sports, Monisha Longacre has founded her own company, Productivity101 and created priorigami: the art of productivity. Her mission is to provide simple, actionable and easy-to-use tools to help busy adults track, prioritize and complete tasks, to better manage their time and become more productive. Her goal is for priorigami to become the "FitBit" for productivity to help people lead more meaningful lives.