Energy and the Working day

Every morning my alarm goes off to signal the fact that it’s time to start waking up and get cracking with my day (notice I said “start waking up”, it doesn’t happen immediately with me). Typically, the timing ranges from 5.30am – 7.30am dependent on where I have to be. It’ll usually involve a meditation, a dog walk and the bathroom ritual. It’s tried and tested and I know that by the end of this I’ll be somewhere close to functioning. One caffeine hit later, and I’ll be able to hold a conversation with someone by 8.00am.

I’m reminded by some words of wisdom from an early career mentor. His theory was that “if you want to soar with eagles you’ve got to get up with the larks”. I’m pretty sure it’s not his own work but the message is clear. If you want to become a superstar at what you do, you’ve got to be up early to do it. He was a great exponent of this mantra and to this day, he is the 2nd earliest riser I’ve ever known. And mighty fine at his job he was too.

I’ve always taken this on board and kind of run with it, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I began to ask myself one simple question. Why does that need to be the case?

You see, I’m one of those NOT morning people a lot of you will have read about. I’m sure I’m not alone, in fact I know I’m not alone as my wife is also one (which makes for very stressful situations when catching an early morning holiday flight, let me tell you). For as long as I can remember I’ve not been a morning person, but I’ve been told by a few people (morning types and not morning types) that I’m also pretty reasonable at what I do so the question around the why you should need to get up with the larks in order to soar with eagles struck me as relevant.

Working Patterns

I’m pretty sure if I analysed every day I’ve ever worked in my life it would demonstrate a pattern. A very slow start to the day followed by a very slow incline in productivity, a small dip around lunch and for the next hour or so and then a sky rocket in productivity and inspiration from around 3pm onwards. I generally don’t start running out of gas until around 11.30pm and then it’s off to bed, good rest and back into the cycle. This analysis would also, I’m sure, demonstrate that most of my creative thinking happens from 5pm onwards. In fact, I’m writing this now, it’s currently 19.46 and my mind is motoring.

Why is a little insight into my own energy levels relevant to anything or anyone?

Glad you asked.

There’s no way I’m alone in the above work cycle pattern and equally there is no way that everyone shares this pattern (remember my mentor). There will also be, within these patterns, sub patterns to X Y Z different degrees.

Understand your employee’s work patterns

So, if that’s the case, then you must ask, why do most businesses open their offices at a certain time in the morning, close at a certain time in the evening and then plug their people in to that cycle, whether they like it or not? Surely a better way would be to truly understand your employee’s productive work patterns and ask them to work during that period. Maybe even only that period. Despite less hours, there’s a good chance that overall productivity and morale go up. Two big business wins.

It’s an interesting theory, it’s one I’ll certainly be looking at within my business going forward but it also relies heavily on the individual fully understanding their optimum work pattern. I’m also fully aware that this principle is not possible in every working environment.

But, I ask all of you, in whatever working environment you may be in.

Have you fully considered what time of the day you have consistently done your best work and with most energy?

Think about it…

Thank you for reading.