How to guard Energy During the Day

One of my favorite hacks when it comes to rhythms, what I like to tweak and retweak, and try, and retry, is trying to figure out the right time during the day in the week for certain activities and making sure that I’m finding ways for them to match the energy that I’m typically feeling at that time of the week or at that time of the day.

Now, this is a huge critical tool for people who, if you’re saying, “Oh my gosh, I do not have energy for my rhythm. I know I’ve got this much to do, but I’m just at a low energy place in life, or I’m always struggling with energy. That’s just a struggle that I constantly have.” I would say that, that’s definitely one of the themes of what I’ve wrestled with in terms of productivity, is that I struggle a lot with having… I can’t just manufacture creative energy during certain times of the day, or productive energy, or… A lot of its extroverted energy for meetings and stuff like that.

But I’ve discovered that if I try to sync up those different activities at different times of the day, it really has helped me. And a bunch of examples for me is I can do meetings way better in the afternoon, then early in the morning. If you want to crush my day energy wise, just destroy it, then schedule a meeting for me, any kind of meeting with another person before 9:00 AM, and my energy for my day is just like bankruptcy. I’m really sensitive in that way for some weird reason. And I know other people that are and not everybody has that problem. I really wish I were a morning person like you, Jeff. You don’t mind having those 5:30 meetings for some reason.

That’s true, at some level. But I was going to say, but from a creative energy standpoint, if you want to crush my day, don’t give me a meeting at all, no matter when it’s in the day. But yeah, no, I can sustain the energy in the early morning for sure, but I don’t tend to love meetings. I like to keep that one for myself.


Or Five Minute Fatherhood.

Yeah, I know. And there are people that really thrive on that the energy for those meetings. So if you’re going into low energy, you want to schedule meetings for those low energy, places where you need to start ramping up essentially. So what I’m always constantly thinking about is what kind of activities drain me? What kind of activities give me more energy? Another weird example that I discovered about myself is that if I work out in the morning, it drains my energy, but if I workout after lunch, it gives me energy. I don’t know why that is, but I figured that out. It took me 10 years to figure that out. And it was a massive game changer. Now I know that different guys, you have different abilities to tweak your schedule.

If you’re an employee somewhere and you have a boss and everything’s sort of completely situated for you and you have to totally submit to whatever the company rhythm is, then you don’t have a lot of this options. But for a lot of guys who are working from home now, especially due to the crisis, this is an opportunity for you to sort of Lego brick your schedule a little bit and just sort of move the pieces around and say, “Okay, what happens if I schedule meetings over here? What happens if I do that project early in the morning, or right after lunch or right before lunch?” And you start to notice things. And again, this is a huge deal, if you find that the resource that is most scarce in your life is energy. And there’s a certain percentage of people where that’s their constant battle.

So I just want to encourage you guys, if that’s your constant battle, identify that and understand that there’s a great tool for dealing with that. And that is that you have to really tweak your daily and weekly rhythm until you discover the right way to order things. And if you find that, that’s a really big problem for you, then you’re going to need to get more control of your schedule. If you have that problem and then you give control of your schedule to a job or to something else, then it’s difficult to fix this problem. And so I’ve noticed that people that have this issue, need to get control of their schedule, but then they have to be extremely disciplined, not to sort of just exist in a low state of productivity and energy, day in and day out. So it’s figuring out that sweet spot. But I would say that, that’s been a really critical thing for me to figure out. Matching events with the energy that I’m feeling, typically at that time, or at the time of the week.

Yeah, exactly. And I would just add to, I just am more really mindful too of just wastefulness. And I don’t think I have to… I don’t try to be super productive. I don’t think every single day has to dominate, but I do start feeling sensitive to like, “Oh, that’s a wasteful chunk,” because of how I allocated it or because of my energy usually, and I’m a guy who, yeah, I have to take a little short nap every single day, because I like, I don’t know, I even got tested to see if I was anemic years ago and all that. So my energy levels that are very specific and so I have to tweak them and work on them, and I think a lot of guys, a lot of people, we just assume the day’s the same. And it’s like, “Yeah.” You actually can have a radically different day based on how you try to set it up with certain things that’ll push you, pull you, high energy, low energy, et cetera. So I think, yeah, that’s just something to be mindful of.

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