Understanding your energy levels for peak performance?

Have you ever been at work all day and come home feeling drained โ€“ too exhausted to be with family or participate in social events? Ever wondered how someone can party all night and sleep in till noon the next day? These patterns have to do with understanding your energy levels and when you are at your peak to be most effective when you need to be.

Everything you do needs energy, from the most mentally challenging tasks through to doing things that you enjoy. If you are not feeling your best, everything can feel like a challenge.

Broadly speaking, your energy can be put into three categories:

๐Ÿ’› Physical โ€“ for moving and keeping active;

๐Ÿ’› Mental โ€“ to think, negotiate, plan and learn; and

๐Ÿ’› Emotional โ€“ for understanding how you feel about people, things, places, situations.

Each is important to help you do what you need to do during your day However, as you may have experienced, your level of energy does not stay the same all day – it fluctuates. You may feel more alert in the morning where you are most effective, then by noon you start to feel sluggish and tasks start to feel like a chore.

When this happens you may feel like you need more than 24 hours to get things done. As we have discussed in previous posts, this is not possible. There are only 24 hours in the day and how you use those hours determines your effectiveness.

Instead you need to work out your peak energy rhythms and use them to your advantage.

By understanding and recognising your pattern and cycle of energy, you can plan what are the best times to work on certain tasks. Of course, these patterns can change depending on how you feel and what you do. But by recognising those fluctuations in your energy, you can give yourself the best chance of managing your energy levels.

Designing your energy rhythm

Planning your activities around your energy levels will help you get things done.

Set aside a day to plan out the next day recognising your own energy levels. When do you feel most energetic? Plan your challenging tasks during this time so they get done. When do you feel less energy? Choose a relaxing task or one that requires little effort at that time.

A simple step by step guide to energy planning:

๐Ÿงก Do all those tasks need to be done today? At all? By you?

๐Ÿงก Is there a specific time some tasks need to be done that you cannot negotiate an extension?

๐Ÿงก Which tasks require your full attention and high use of your energy? Mental energy, physical energy, etc.

๐Ÿงก Which tasks are the easiest to do and require little energy?

๐Ÿงก Write down two or three activities to relax and re-energise you?

๐Ÿงก Schedule your high priority and high demand tasks around your peak energy times.

๐Ÿงก Schedule your relaxation activity before or after that high demand task to boost your energy or as a reward.

At the end of your day, review your achievements and reflect on how your new schedule. Did you find it easier to accomplish those challenging tasks? Do you feel more refreshed and relaxed?

If something did not work on your schedule, experiment over the next week and mov tasks around until you find what works for you. Keep experimenting until you find your own natural rhythm.

Most Importantly, make it fun and enjoy the activities you do and love.

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