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Most people’s mental energy is a roller coaster! Have you ever noticed that there are certain hours when you naturally have much more drive than at other times? That is the time of day when your mental energy peaks high and it is different for everyone. Fortunately, your highs tend to occur at about the same times every day, so you can learn to maximize your productivity and schedule most of your plans around that time.
Here’s how to take advantage of your personal power hour!
Track your peak productivity hour
Pay close attention to the times you feel inspired to dive into small and easy tasks, like organizing your desk or going through your email inbox. Taking on simple to-dos indicates you’re craving a sense of accomplishment, which is a sign that your motivation is starting to peak. Track your productivity for a few days in a row and you should notice a pattern- and yes, that’s your productive time!
Choose just one challenge to conquer
Your instinct may say to get as many things done as possible when your motivation is high. But it’s actually more efficient to work on one task with focus and sustained energy. More ambitious tasks may be daunting at first, but ultimately they turn motivating. Plus, over time your brain will start to associate your power hour with achievements, which will make you even more productive.
Tune your brain to concentrate
A Practice like writing a to-do list or taking a walk, right before your power hour can help strengthen your brain’s focus. After practicing the same behavior for several weeks, that activity can tune your mind to get ready for a productive work period.
Exercise is a potent cue
Studies have shown that your ability to focus your attention is improved for up to two hours after a single 50-minute workout session. So pick a time, do a few exercises and help yourself.
Set yourself up for success
Before you begin a task, break it down into exaggeratedly small steps. If you will be batch-cooking, assemble all your ingredients and preheat the oven. If you are making a presentation, you start with opening PowerPoint and get your document cued up and ready to go. Getting all the necessary prep work out of the way beforehand lets you dive right into the tough stuff. Then keep away all the distractions and get to work.
Finish your peak hours strong
Take a mini-break halfway through to kick your motivation into high gear to complete all your tasks. After 20 to 25 minutes, your productivity can decrease. But you can cultivate and prolong your energy by taking frequent breaks. Like get out of your environment, visit a co-worker for five minutes, if you were at your desk. Afterward, you could finish what you started.