I just finished the book Working Hard Hardly Working (highly recommend btw) and it really made me think about and re-evaluate how I approach productivity and self-care. In particular, I really started to think about how am I most productive? Because how you work is very personal to you and obviously not everyone thrives under the same approach.
For a few days I took note of what seemed to be working for me – what was making me feel good about my days and alternatively where was I lacking/feeling bad? I started noticing that around 3pm I’d hit a wall. I’d end up feeling more tired, it wasn’t as easy for me to focus – basically it took a lot of energy for me to complete anything work related. Not only did this make the task take longer to complete (which isn’t the most productive and best use of time) but it was also probably not my best work. I started to realize that the mornings are when I feel most focused, energized and creative. That being said, I ended up restructuring my whole day around this notion.
Prior to this, I would wake up, make the bed, and then put on my workout clothes. I’d head downstairs and try to muster up the energy for a morning workout. The workout would inevitably seem to happen around 45 minutes to an hour later after I gave myself time to wake up, have some coffee, etc. After the workout I’d then walk the dogs (since I’m already sweating) then shower, get ready, have breakfast etc. Realistically by the time I was done with all this, it was late morning. That being said, I would dive into work for just a few hours and then before I knew it was hitting that 3pm wall.
I started to realize this the other day and I thought – maybe I’m just not meant to be working out in the mornings. I know that morning workouts are great for so many people and I totally see the benefits. It does give you an endorphin boost when it’s done, you feel great getting a workout in first thing, and let’s be honest, it is nice to get it out of the way haha. But I started to realize the whole process of working out, walking the dogs, showering, getting ready, etc. was delaying my mornings so much that I was losing the hours where I genuinely felt like I worked best and as a result, it was making me less efficient with my time.
So, I started to switch things up to see if I felt better and was able to be more productive. And spoiler alert : it worked! So now, first thing in the morning, I go downstairs, get my coffee and immediately dive into work. Then later in the day between 4-6pm (depending on how busy my day is) is when I will wrap up work and then go through the motions of a workout, walking the dogs, etc. I realized I was getting way more done when my day was structured this way. As a result, I wasn’t having to work as late because my time was being used more effectively (and my overall quality of work felt better).
I share all this as a reminder that there is no right or wrong way to structure your days when it comes to work and productivity. For you, you may thrive working late at night and sleeping until 9am the next day, and if that’s the case that’s okay! We’re all so different and what works for your friend in terms of their productivity and schedule may be the total opposite of yours. All that to say, if you’re feeling like you could be making better use of your time like I was (hint: if you’re wondering if you’re managing your time most effectively then you probably aren’t) then it’s probably time to re-evaluate. Start taking notes during your days around when you feel most energized, focused, creative, etc. and things that help you feel that way and things that hinder it (ie. maybe you realize you cannot have a big lunch because then you just want to nap afterwards haha, so it’s like okay note to self, have a smaller lunch and then substitute with snacks in the afternoon). Even if you aren’t working from home and/or have more of a strict schedule, there are still things you can adjust to help you feel more productive and make the best use of your time. Anyway – a few small changes really impacted me and the results I’m getting out of each day, so I just wanted to share! xx