Getting things done rarely happens in a straight line. What you are able to accomplish at any given time is dependent on your brain state. When my brain is rested after a good night’s sleep, it is in optimal condition for doing my hardest work like writing newsletters, reports and blog posts, designing speeches, and making important business decisions.
After several hours of intense focus, my brain gets weary and it’s time to shift to lighter tasks like answering emails, scheduling clients, making phone calls. After a short break from intensity I am often able to again focus on more difficult tasks. By mixing things up, shifting from intense, difficult tasks to easy tasks and back again, I’m able to make the most of my time and my brain.
Here’s an example of how I recently worked with my brain to have a very productive day. I first did 4 hours of intense work which depleted my brain power. Then I ran an errand that took me through the country and took minimal brain power. The change of scene and exposure to the beauty of the countryside was rejuvenating. When I got home I was motivated to clear off my desk of several small tasks that were floating and distracting me–mailing a check, scheduling a client, etc. Once my desk was clear and my brain rested, I was able to tackle the difficult task of putting together a speech. I had energy and I had clarity.
When is your brain working at its best? Make the most of that time by tackling your most challenging tasks. But, don’t stop there. Remember, you can keep being productive if you shift to easier work or take a short break instead of stopping altogether. Then returning to more difficult tasks may be possible. Honor your brain’s energy to make the most of your time and get more done.