What's your peak time of day? How do you make sure you are doing your best work during that time?
We all have a specific time of day when we are most effective on the job. It is the time of day when we have the greatest clarity of thinking, the most creativity, the most confidence and the most energy.
Our activities and objectives for each workday fall into two categories -- those that require maximum brainpower and those that require little brainpower. Unfortunately, no matter what we wish, our mind and body do not function at peak performance during the entire workday.
Most people find that during the course of a workday, they experience about three to four hours of peak performance. Our peak performance hours can occur anytime during the workday, but will generally remain the same day after day.
By carefully planning which activities we tackle during these important hours, we can increase the results we get from our workday. In fact, if you maximized the use of your peak performance hours and just did routine tasks for the rest of the workday, you would still feel you had experienced a day full of accomplishment.
First, we need to determine our hours of peak performance. If you ever refer to yourself as a "morning" or a "night" person, you already have a good idea. If you're not sure when you're at your best -- or if you want to figure out a pattern of peaks and troughs -- try experimenting.
Work on a high-focus project first thing in the morning. Try storming through your inbox backlog at 10 p.m. Get into the office an hour earlier than usual -- or stay an hour later.
What feels most comfortable for you? When do you get the most work done? When do you feel "in the zone"?
Now that you know when you're at your best, you need to use that knowledge. Our peak performance periods are those hours during which our attitude says "can do." Therefore, peak performance periods are the best time to do the following:
* Make important decisions. Alternatives will be clearer and there will be less concern about making the wrong decision.
* Use your creative power. Ideas will flow better, more quickly, and more coherently during these hours. More powerful words will be chosen and placed into well-organized thoughts. This is the time to write reports, letters and emails, as well create new goals and objectives for your business.
* Negotiate. During this period you will have more confidence and will be more alert and less likely to be intimidated. This will be when you have the best chance making your point. You may not prevail every time, but your "win" percentage will increase dramatically. This is a good time to negotiate business deals or discuss a promotion or compensation for a new job.
* Read, study and learn. Your mind will absorb and comprehend more and wander less. This is the time for work-related reading, training or study that requires your full concentration.
Avoid confrontational meetings during your off-peak hours. When you attempt to force creativity, concentration and attention to detail during off-peak hours, your reward is often frustration and distraction. Get the best out of your off-peak performance periods by scheduling them for your routine, noncritical activities where less brainpower is needed.
As you begin working on critical and biggest payoff activities during your peak performance times you will not only reduce workplace stress, but will feel energized and fulfilled.
Brad Larsen is a life coach and corporate consultant from Northern Utah. He can be reached at email@example.com.