Circadian Rhythms: The Key to Boosting Your Energy And Productivity

Note: This is a guest post from Josh Lipovetsky of Optimistic Wellness

Circadian Rhythms. Cool sounding word, but how can this be they key to productivity? Let me explain. We are all different, yet similar in some basic ways. One of these ways is our circadian rhythm. It is the reason why you feel so energetic at some points of the day, yet so lethargic at others. Some of us are most efficient in the night, afternoon, or day. If you don’t know which one you are, then it’s time to experiment.

The key to my productivity has been finding a block of time where I am most efficient. I am almost 100% certain that you have a 2-3 hour block of time every day, where your cognitive functions are incredibly alert. During this time of the day you can learn languages, you can get your most intense creative work done, and if you’re in school you can get some great schoolwork done.

For me, my most powerful block of time is between 9 AM – 12 Noon. My second time block in the day is 8 PM – 10 PM. During these times, my brain is naturally more alert and ready to take on intense tasks. Isn’t it great to know you can find your productive times of the day, and skyrocket your productivity? Oh, the joys of being human!

It is so important to find a 2-3 hour chunk of time during the day when you are most productive. And when this time comes, cherish it. However, if you find yourself unproductive, it’s even more important to have a secondary time chunk for yourself.

Here are a few tips to help you optimize your productivity during these peak daily times:

1. Take breaks

Let’s say your peak time is 11-2 PM. If you envelop yourself in mentally rigorous work for all 3 hours without any break, you will likely feel run down afterward. And your mental performance/energy for the rest of the day will probably not be at full capacity. This is why you need to take a short break during your productive time. I recommend about 60-90 minutes of work, followed by a 30 minute break. I usually watch an episode of a favorite TV show during my break. I think listening to music is also a wonderful way to make use of your break time. Music that empowers you to do your best. Check out http://www.8tracks.com or http://www.unhearit.com for some awesome songs!

2. Don’t beat yourself up

Mistakes happen all of the time. You may not be as focused as you like during your sharpest time of the day, but that is no reason to beat yourself up. If that voice inside your head is hassling you, calm it down, and know that you will eventually build this amazing and empowering habit. This is another great reason to have a secondary time block. If you miss your first, you still have another shot later in the day!

3. Set up your schedule the night before

I am not a big schedule person. I get so much done with schedules, but they make me feel trapped, stressed, and limit my spontaneity in life. Yet, it is quite important to know what tasks you will tackle during your sharpest times of the day. The rest of your day can be unplanned.

In short, find two chunks of time, approximately two hours each, in which you are most productive. It’s best if they are spaced far apart. During those blocks of time, focus on the most important and fulfilling work that you have scheduled in advance. Remember to forgive yourself if you have trouble developing this habit at first. Just because you can’t lift the weights today, doesn’t mean you won’t be strong enough to lift them tomorrow.

Josh Lipovetsky has been battling severe Crohn’s Disease for the past 3 years, and he is always looking for new ways to help people achieve more in their life. He loves public speaking, and can be found video blogging at http://www.optimisticwellness.com. His twitter is http://www.twitter.com/joshlipovetsky

Photo by R’eyes

8 Comments

  1. […] also: Boosting your energy Leave a Comment LikeBe the first to like this post.Leave a Comment […]

  2. Ah man, that was such a great read! You’re an inspiration Josh, you truly are.

    What I like the most about this post is that it speaks a lot of common sense, and I can relate to the ‘3-hour productive period’. My chunk is usually between 9am-12pm, during which time I can rip through many tasks. But I still get stuff done at all times of the day, just not as much.

    I had a look over at your website as well Josh, love the set-up. Tweeted this article for you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Stuart, thank you so much for reading! I hope you got some good, practical value out of it. It’s really true for me, and on days when I wake up earlier, I get so much done during my 9-12 time. It takes some discipline, but you gotta hold back the Facebook/Twitter/Email. I can’t say that I succeed all the time, but I do my best ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the tweet, and the kind words about my site set-up, Stuart!
      Josh Lipovetsky.

  3. Hey Josh thanks so much bro.

    I never thought about circadian rhythm before, this was something new for me!

    I also think my most productive time is in the mornings. Just gotta make sure I don’t sleep through it! Haha ๐Ÿ˜€

    Thanks!

  4. Thanks Josh,

    Just this morning I was lying in bed a few minutes before I needed to get up, and all my brain wanted to think about was what priorities at work I was going to get done that day.

    Like you said, planning everything out the night before is a major stress reliever. Your mind isn’t going to race through all the tasks you need to get done, because it will know you already established that.

    • Oh man, Bryce, you’re right! Knowing what you’re gonna do the day before is half of the battle. Or maybe 6/10; who knows? ๐Ÿ™‚

      It’s a big psychological relief, and a burden lifted! I keep a ‘Love To-Do’ list. It’s the same thing as a to-do list, just the word ‘love’ in front of it is a really powerful re-frame. Got that idea from Tim Brownson!

      Thank you,
      Josh Lipovetsky.

  5. Good article, thank you. I’m going to try to pay closer attention finding my peak times. I think this could be quite helpful. I think my wife will be able to get a lot out of your good advice, looking forward to showing her what you wrote.
    Thanks again,
    Martin

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