Picture this. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your computer, knowing that your next newsletter needs to go out but, the words just aren’t coming out. You think to yourself, “I just can’t do this right now.” Or, you might be looking at a spreadsheet with intentions of taking care of some bookkeeping but the numbers appear jumbled and you mutter to yourself, “My head doesn’t have the capacity for this… Where’s the coffee?”
Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. Over the years there has been endless research into about how our brain works and how it applies to our work lives, particularly the argument that the typical 9-5 routine doesn’t work for everyone. One key piece of this puzzle is looking at our chronotype, that is the time of day that we sleep and what determines us as early birds, night owls, or somewhere in between. Many times when we hear productivity advice, it’s given simply as, “Do your work during your most productive hours.” This is great advice but the problem is that many of us aren’t even sure when our optimal work or peak productive time is. So, let’s start there. Here are a few steps to take in beginning to discover your prime hours for productivity.
Track your time and tasks: This can be as simple as jotting down on a piece of paper or you can also use a time tracking app. The key here is to identify everything you’re doing on a daily basis. Also, be sure to include the times when you get distracted (“What’s going on over on Facebook…”) Take note of how you felt during each task. Were you on a roll or did you have to muddle through? Again, the log doesn’t need to be anything extensive or fancy – just enough for you to start recognizing patterns. It may also help to break down the type of task as creative or analytical.
Analyze and look for patterns: As you begin to track your time, you’ll begin to identify patterns such as how long you spent on a task, times when you got distracted, and the times of day when you were in the flow. If you also noted the type of task – creative or analytical – you might notice that certain times of the day are better for your creativity while other times are best for decision-making and other analytical tasks. As you analyze your findings, you can start to make adjustments in your workday such as working on creative projects in the morning while leaving administrative tasks until the afternoon or early evening.
Reflect on the past: In addition to your task log, take some time to think back to other periods in your life. Were you always the student who was ready to go at 8am while others fell asleep at their desk? Or, did you get your best work done staying up until 3am? In looking at your past behavioral patterns, you may discover some key information about your chronotype and identifying the various stages of your day.
Ask for feedback: If you work with a team, you may ask co-workers, your employees, or a manager if they have any insight into your best working time. If you’re self-employed, ask your close friends and family members if they ever noticed a certain time of day when you seemed the most alert and productive. Seeking an outside perspective can reveal some valuable insights.
If you’re just beginning your journey as a self-employed health, wellness, or fitness professional, you may find that finding time for everything you need and want to do is one of your greatest challenges. Rest assured that even the most experienced teachers, trainers or coaches experience this but hopefully these steps will provide some practical information to apply to your tasks and workday. We also know you’re busy which is why we created an all-in-one solution for administrative and marketing tasks. Save time and energy with our simplified system that includes a website builder and hosting, blog platform, email marketing, scheduling, payment processing, and more features to come! Visit offeringtree.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs.