I read a very good article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “The Peak Time for Everything.” Basically, the article explores the importance of matching the tasks you need to do with the energy level of your body. The author suggests times of the day that may be better suited for a particular task given where the energy level of the body normally is at that point. For example, the author suggests that when it comes to doing cognitive work most adults tend to perform better later in the morning.
I have found the following practices to be helpful as I attempt to manage my time:
1. My best study is done very early in the morning. I often awaken early and get much reading and preparation done before I ever go into the office.
2. One of the first things I do upon getting to the office is form my to-do list. I may add several new items to what was unfinished from the day before or the list may be totally new.
3. I write on a large white board in my office a few items that I refer to as “blocks.” That is, I intend to spend a block of time working on a particular project. For example, I may be thinking about a meeting or a talk I am to give in a month or two. I might choose to spend a 30-minute block of time working on this item. (Otherwise, what is pressing or seemingly immediate will usually consume my time.)
4. I typically write most e-mails and make most phone calls in the afternoon when my energy is lower. In fact, I save tasks that require less energy or creativity for the afternoon.
5. Each day, I want to do something that adds energy to my life. Typically I go to the gym four days a week in the late afternoon to work out. This practice makes a huge difference in my energy level. Also, I am energized by reading, visiting with friends on the phone, and enjoying conversation (normally by phone) with family members.
What are some of your daily practices that impact the flow of your day?