On Leadership: Are you optimizing your energy patterns?
Research shows that you can be more effective by completing your most important tasks when your energy is at its highest. All people have a biological rhythm called a chronotype which is defined as a person's natural inclination regarding the tim...
Research shows that you can be more effective by completing your most important tasks when your energy is at its highest. All people have a biological rhythm called a chronotype which is defined as a person's natural inclination regarding the times of day when they prefer to sleep and when they are most energetic. Your chronotype dictates when you are most alert, when you have dips and when you recover throughout the day. Daniel Pink, author of bestselling books about business, work and behavior, describes this pattern as "peak, trough and rebound" in his book "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing". He suggests to become more efficient and effective you should capitalize on your own personal rhythm.
Pink describes three main energy patterns as:
• The Lark - people who love to get up early and have their emotional highs and lows earlier than most.
• The Third Bird - this is the majority of people. Their patterns are neither late, nor early in the day.
• The Owl - individuals who don't like to get up early and peak in the evening. They follow a "recovery, trough, then peak" pattern.
Plan your work to optimize your "peak, trough and rebound" periods.
• Peak period - do analytical, logical complex project work during this time. This should be uninterrupted time so don't check emails, answer phone calls or fall prey to other distractions.
• Trough - in this timeframe do less important or administrative type work that does not require a lot of brain power.
• Rebound - do creative work, brainstorming insightful work during this period.
Research also shows that including these restorative breaks throughout your day positively impacts your effectiveness:
• Micro-breaks. Short, frequent breaks of a minute or two to switch up your body and mind provide value. Stretch, hydrate and shake it out.
• Moving breaks. Every hour a 5-minute walk, office yoga or jumping jacks at your desk boosts your energy level and sharpens your focus.
• Social breaks. Short interactions with others talking about something other than work are effective at reducing stress and improving mood.
• Nature breaks. Moving or sitting outdoors breathing fresh air provide more replenishment effects than doing the same indoors.
Pam Solberg-Tapper, president of Coach for Success Inc., is a Duluth-based executive coach, professional speaker and 7 continents marathoner. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org 218-729-0772 or www.coachforsuccess.com .