Every day, we all face a to-do list packed full of things that need to get done. Recently I had someone ask me how I get so much done as a business person and a mom of three little kids. Apart from not trying to do everything myself, I strictly manage my energy: task ratio.
What does that mean? Simply, I do my high-energy/high-level-of-thinking activities when I’m in my alpha energy mode and do my low-energy/low-thought-required activities when I’m in beta energy mode. Let me give you a practical example….
For me, I am a mid-morning person who is most productive (in my alpha mode) between 9am – 2pm. After 2:00 I start to get restless and distract more easily. Because I know this about myself, I plan all my high-energy/high-level-of-thinking activities for this time slot such as writing my blog, working with clients, market research, fixing my website etc. Anything that takes a lot of mental energy, I do in this window.
Once my kids go to bed around 8:00pm, I move into the next phase of my workday (my beta phase). In beta phase, I focus on my mechanical activities that I can do well even though I’m tired such as replying to email, updating my social media networks, planning my schedule for the next day, reading, or tidying up my office.
The key to this working is to not do beta activity during alpha hours. Is it tempting to check Linkedin or twitter during my alpha phase? Absolutely; however, I know in the long run I’m better off to put my brain to work on something more difficult and capitalize on my alpha energy so I leave my beta tasks for later. When I think of a beta to-do activity during my alpha phase, I write it down and put it away so that I don’t get distracted and can stay productive.
Today take the time to identify two things: your alpha and beta energy modes and then identify your alpha/beta tasks. Once this is done, match the two lists up and start tweaking your routine. It takes a lot of discipline but pays off big.
How do you manage your energy: task ratio?