Productivity is defined as doing more in less time. The concept is simple enough. Output more in fewer hours each day and you’ll be productive. So, it makes sense that in order to manage your productivity, you have to manage your time, right? Not quite.
Productivity is ultimately about the output more than the time. In order to create and accomplish more, you need the energy to do so. But here’s the catch – not all hours in our day are the same. Some people are morning people. Others are night owls. In order to manage your own productivity levels, you need to manage your energy. Here’s how.
1. Block Out Your Most Productive Hours of the Day
The first step toward being more productive through better energy management is to plan your day according to when you feel your best. When are you able to focus the best? When do you produce your best work? Are you a morning person or an evening person?
With this in mind, plan your day. But remember, this isn’t the same for everyone on your team. For example, one person might opt to not check emails until noon because she’s most productive in the morning, whereas another employee feels most empowered after getting the tedious tasks out of the way with at the start of the day. Everyone is different, so you need to block out your day based on when you have the most energy to produce.
2. Schedule Your Workday
Once you have your most productive time periods blocked out, schedule the rest of the day around those. For example, if you’re most productive in the morning, schedule meetings for the afternoon hours. If you work better in smaller chunks of time, schedule meetings for mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
The key here is to know your natural energy ebb and flow. Then, manage your energy according to it by planning your day for when you feel most productive.
3. Schedule Your Vacation Days
It’s not enough to only schedule your work days and work weeks. You should also schedule your work year, blocking out time each quarter to take a break and replenish your energy reserves.
Taking a break leaves you feeling refreshed and restored. It clears the cobwebs from your mind and lets you see things a little differently than when your nose was on the grindstone.
Entrepreneur and CEO of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, once said, “If you didn’t come back from your vacation with some ideas about how to shake things up, it’s time to consider making some changes.” His point here is that vacations change your mentality and let you see things differently. Instead of managing the hours in your day, taking time off lets you manage how you approach your day.
With how critical taking vacations are to your overall mentality and energy levels at work, it’s worthwhile to be proactive in scheduling when you’ll take them. Look at your busy season and then schedule your vacation for shortly after that, so you can move onto the next chapter of your worklife producing your best work.
How Will You Manage Your Energy?
Being productive isn’t about balancing the limited hours in your day. It’s about balancing your energy. How you manage your energy reserves will directly determine how much you accomplish. Be intentional about your energy and you’ll increase your output.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.