To Be Your Most Productive Self, Schedule Your Day Around Your Energy Levels

Getty / Alys Tomlinson

There are only so many hours in a day, and as a busy person, it can be hard for me to steer clear of getting burnt out. Time management strategies are vital to avoid having to stay late at the office or the library wrapping up things before a big project or test. But now I’ve come to understand that implementing a plan doesn’t mean finding ways to cram in as much work in as possible. It’s instead about figuring out how I can complete tasks faster but with my best potential. Having a laundry list of things to do is one thing, but knowing the best way to manage my time and get them done is another.

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There are so many strategies out there to help tackle time management, but what may work for you may not work for me. For some, setting a timer to complete a task, like the Pomodoro Technique suggests, helps fight procrastination; otheres like to prep every detail of their week or day in advance. But even for the busiest people, sometimes these strategies don’t help.

Your daily productivity correlates with when you have the most energy, so your schedule should reflect that.

My suggested trick? Schedule work around your energy levels. Your daily productivity directly correlates with when you have the most energy, so it would only make sense that your schedule should reflect that. This strategy will not only help you manage your time better but help you learn when you perform at your best and when it might be smart to take a step back and regroup.

Simply put, determine when you’re at your highest energy levels during the day and complete more critical work then. For you, that time may be first thing in the morning when your mind is fresh or after your cup of morning coffee, or maybe it’s not even in the morning at all but right after dinner. It doesn’t matter because this time management plan is totally personalized to your schedule. As someone who works from home, for example, I’ve learned that my energy levels are at their peak from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then again from 7 p.m to 9 p.m. I do my best to work on assignments or projects during these times and use the in-between time frame to recharge my brain, whether that means unplugging from electronics or socializing with friends.

During these high-energy levels, you should focus on tackling tasks that require extra brain power or energy. This is the best time frame in which to schedule important meetings and work that calls for creativity or a high attention span. When you’re at your lowest energy levels, work on tasks that don’t need your absolute attention, like cleaning your desk, or duties that can be done while multitasking, such as sending emails, making copies, or following up with coworkers on projects and presentations.

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