For every time there is a season. I’ve talked before about how I deeply appreciate the seasons, the symbol of how things change – maybe not a lot, yet change surrounds us. This doesn’t necessarily make it easy. It can be challenging to embrace the changes happening. Yet, adapting and then thriving require us to figure out how to make the most of the changes. If you think about yourself over the course of a day, your energy and focus shift throughout that day.
How do you handle your own cycles? There are lots of people who’ve talked about working on your most challenging task during the time of the day when you are most focused. I think of this as finding and working during your prime time.
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out your prime time. There are many factors that impact your focus – the biggest being sleep and making sure you are getting enough good rest. If you are dealing with mental health issues, these too take a tremendous toll on your focus. There are many things that can interfere with your prime time. It’s important to handle these things and be gentle with yourself if you’re struggling to make the most of your time.
It’s great to make the most of your prime time for getting things accomplished; yet typically we can’t stop working after our best time is over. We still have things we need to work on, though hopefully we’ll have made the most of our prime time. This is one the reasons that I think about my tasks in relation to various factors, i.e. time, energy, activity, intellectual, etc.
Do you think about your energy and attention when you’re considering your to-do list? A few years back I began making sure my to-do list had different types of tasks. Too many times I was staring at the list dreading it all and simply procrastinating. By thinking about my energy and attention, I wasn’t making the to-do list that would facilitate making the most of my time. Now I make sure that there are a variety of types of tasks – so when I am feeling more drained, I can work on more sedentary tasks – either needing more or less concentration depending on my level of focus.
In this day and age it seems there’s always more to do, and this means that we can set up our to-do lists with various criteria. Figure out when your prime time is and make the most of that. Then consider what things you can do when you’re more tired – those tasks that require less thought or less activity. If we always have options for getting things accomplished even when we’re not at our best – we move through the to-do list steadily.