Time management is something that I’ve struggled with for a long time. I’ve struggled with it, mostly because it just seemed so easy to everyone else to just go go go all day long.
I’d listen, envious, while people talk about how they would get up an hour or two earlier in the morning to exercise, or get some work done, or just simply enjoy a leisurely breakfast. I’ve often harboured fantasies about waking up with the sun, pulling on my running shoes, and setting off into the misty morning for a few quick miles before work.
Unfortunately, when the alarm clock jolted me roughly from sleep, I would, consistently, hit the snooze button repeatedly until I’d snoozed away all chance of extra early morning productivity. I simply can’t bring myself to leave my cozy, comfy, warm bed in the morning. Nothing could rouse me from my slumber.
I spent a long time lamenting this feature of my behavior, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do what came to other people so naturally.
Finally, I’ve realized and accepted that at this point in my life, I’m just not a morning person.
I’m not productive in the morning, so I’m better off spending that time sleeping peacefully, instead of hitting the snooze button every ten minutes for an hour. These days, I spend my nights being productive. I actually spend about an hour and a half getting ready for bed, doing all of the things I would’ve forgone in favour of “ten more minutes”.
I make my lunch, I make my breakfast (to take to work with me), I pack my workout bag so I can run on my lunch break, I lay out my clothing for the next day. Anything that allows me to sleep in a little later.
It’s working! Since I’m sleeping in later, I can stay up later. I spend a good 45 minutes of that hour and half before bed catching up on blog admin, scheduling my week ahead, and jotting down any ideas, thoughts, or to do’s in Evernote. This decompressing process I’ve started going through has helped me sleep so much better, since I have fewer thoughts running around in my mind when I finally lay my head down, it’s all written down.
Some people might think I’m lazy, some people might think “yeah, getting up sucks, deal with it.” Personally, I think I’m just finally in tune with my most productive times of day, instead of trying to force my ideal of when I should be productive. I’m most productive in the evening, so now I’m giving myself a chance to benefit from that.
Using Productivity Peaks to Your Advantage
By using your productivity peaks and valleys to your advantage, you can be so much more productive in a given day. For example, I generally run out of steam at work at around 3pm. I could have laser focus on a project all day, but once 3pm rolls around, things just sort of fall apart. I have trouble focusing, and I feel the need to get up and walk around or change tasks.
So, since I’m not being productive anyway, I take this opportunity to take my lunch hour and go for a quick run.
Exercising does the trick at getting me out of my funk, and I usually have enough energy left over to finish up the day’s work and prepare for the next day before heading home. Low points in energy levels, will power, or productivity don’t have to be loses. They can be turned into benefits by scheduling in relaxing activities, or, in my case, exercise.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the productivity cycle of a day. For me, I’m bad in early in the morning, good throughout the day, another bad spell at 3pm, and then pretty good in the evening. By scheduling my day around these strengths and weaknesses, I’m able to work with my natural habits, instead of against them.