I have been plagued with low energy levels for the last two weeks, and it only dawned on me yesterday. For the past two weeks, I found it difficult to do anything cognitively demanding. It took longer to do anything, and I felt I was processing things slowly, like a computer with low memory space. Anything I accomplished, I accomplished despite low energy levels.
In fact, yesterday's energy level was so low that I did not bother doing anything. Having managed to go through these weeks helped me see how undervalued high energy is.
During this period, I read a post on Aadil’s website titled manage your energy, not time, in which he refers to a HBR article with the same name. It was only yesterday that I somehow linked what I was going through with the article. An illustration of declining processing prowess thanks to low energy.
The crux of the articles (both Aadil’s and HBR’s) is that you should not manage your energy rather than time.
Every hour is not created equally. Your first waking hours and your last three are the same in terms of the number of seconds in them. However, thinking that you can use them in the same way, is erroneous. Your energy levels and by extension, the work you can get done - especially creative work, are not the same.
Somehow yesterday, after being unable to do any work during the day, I suddenly felt an increase in energy at night past 9 pm. To my surprise, I worked a bit on my laptop before calling it a day.
I lay on my bed only to keep rolling and getting inspiration which I stood up to write down. Today, I work up with much more energy than the previous day, and by sunset, I’ve pretty much-accomplished something.
Regardless of the type of person you are, it is essential to observe your energy levels. Know when you have high or low energy, which should guide the type of work you do during those periods. It is also worth knowing what activities drain or replenish your energy so that you know how to plan the sequence of your day. (I’m working on this)
Generally, high-energy periods should be used for creative and deep work. Low energy should be used for less cognitive demanding work. Most people are high energy in the morning, peaking around 1-2 hours before noon. Nocturnals tend to have high energy levels at night.
“Manage your energy, not your time.” – Tony Schwartz