Boost Your Energy with Time-Shifting
by Robert Pagliarini
Two of the most exciting developments in personal productivity and achievement are time-shifting and work-shifting. Time-shifting capitalizes on your body's circadian rhythm and deals with when you work, while work-shifting deals with where you work. A little known secret is that the "what" of your work is heavily influenced by the when and where.
Here, you'll learn about when you should work and next you'll discover where you should work for optimum results.
Back in the factory, you were stuck. Clock in, do what you were told and clock out. As we have shifted off of the farms and out of the factories, much of our work has shifted away from physical labor toward mental labor. If your job is physical or repetitive, it doesn't matter when or where you do it, but if your success depends on cognition, creativity or concentration, you need to take full advantage of both when and where you do your work.
You can have all of the time in the world, but if you don't have energy, you'll be listless and unproductive. Having sufficient physical and mental energy is crucial if you want to achieve professional and personal success.
I define time-shifting as engaging in activities at optimum times based on recurring and predictable daily energy cycles. Why do surfers pay so much attention to the daily changes in the tides? They are trying to find the optimum time to catch the best waves. Guess what? Within your body there are also "waves" that shift throughout day.
Chronobiology is the science of how our biology is influenced by daily time cycles or rhythms. An important time cycle in this field is the circadian rhythm, defined by
At certain times, you may have much more mental energy, and at other times more physical energy. By studying your circadian rhythm, you can determine and then predict your peak energy times. Unlike ocean tides, your peak energy waves occur at the same time each day.
How can you take advantage of your body's natural daily cycles? Research shows that for the majority of us, there are specific times in the day that are more optimum for certain activities than others.
9 a.m. - noon
This is the best time to perform analytical skills because we are at our sharpest mentally. This is probably not the best time for exercise since both blood pressure and the blood's clotting ability increase, which cause a decrease in blood flow to the brain and heart. This is the most likely time for strokes and heart attacks.
Noon - 2 p.m.
Verbal reasoning ability and the ability to maintain mental alertness peaks.
3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
This is when we are the most sluggish mentally. Drowsiness, daydreams and lapses in concentration increase. This is a great time for physical exercise because we have the fastest reaction time, high body temperature and the greatest muscle strength and cardio efficiency.
How can you use this information? Think surfing.
Time-shift your activities to take advantage of your natural circadian rhythm. If you have any control over your schedule, you should schedule mental activities in the morning. That is, do your daily mental heavy lifting first thing in the a.m. -- write that report, brainstorm new projects, analyze the latest financial projections. Never schedule non-critical meetings or appointments before noon.
View your calendar through your circadian rhythm lens to determine the optimum work-time schedule. Schedule your teeth cleaning appointment for 5 p.m., not 9 a.m. Block out two hours in the morning to write that speech instead of after lunch. Exercise in the afternoon, not immediately after waking up.
Next, learn how to do your best work by focusing not on when you do it, but where you do it.
Robert Pagliarini is a CBS MoneyWatch columnist and the author of "The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose" and the national best-seller "The Six-Day Financial Makeover: Transform Your Financial Life in Less Than a Week!."
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© Robert Pagliarini