Every afternoon, around 3 pm, I feel tired. It doesn't matter how much sleep I had the night before, like a kid hitting a severe sugar low after consuming five Pixy Stix, my energy level takes a significant dip at 3 o'clock. One of the skills I have learned to help me cope with these energy fluctuations is to observe and chart my personal energy levels.
Personal energy can be broken into three different forms: physical, mental, and emotional. Physical energy is associated with our bodies and moving around, or having to stand on our feet for extended periods of time. Mental energy is used by our minds when we concentrate, are reading, or are learning new information. Lastly, emotional energy allows us to determine how we are feeling during the day.
All our energy levels fluctuate thought out the day - this is known as an ultradian rhythm. Theses rhythms vary every 90-120 minutes. When our energy is at its peak, everything is coming up roses! We feel efficient, on the ball, and ready to take on new tasks. When we are in a deep valley of the rhythm, everything can feel like a slog.
What's this have to do with your daily life? When we begin to recognize our individual energy flow, we have powerful information on when we might want to schedule certain tasks in our lives. Our energy chart can be a handy companion when we are managing our to-do lists.
Become Friends With Your Energy! 1. Reflect on when you usually feel most energized. Are you a night owl? An early riser? Or, do you feel most jazzed in the midday? 2. Take a look at your to-do list. Note which tasks take the most energy. 3. Next, examine which tasks take minimal energy. For example, making the bed. 4. Here's the fun part! Quickly note activities that give you a little boost of energy. It can be a cup of tea, petting or walking your dog, getting outside, etc. 5. Where it is possible, schedule your tasks around your energy levels. 6. Reflect back on the day. Did you notice how your day was improved or not by following your energy patterns? Are there more changes you could make? Or were you happier before?
Of course, we do not have total control over our schedules - our work and home lives have their own distinctive rhythms that they follow. But where you can, experiment with how you schedule your day by following your energy chart.