How to Ride the Wave of Your Daily Energy Highs and Lows
Maximize productivity and minimize burnout by timing your tasks and habits to match your body's natural daily energy cycles.
"Everything flows out and in; everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything.” — The Kybalion
We’ve all been there — dragging our feet through the afternoon, yawning through meetings, and struggling to stay focused on work tasks when all we want to do is take a nap.
Then nighttime hits and we’re wired and restless when we should be sleeping.
Our energy levels fluctuate dramatically throughout the day. But instead of getting frustrated and fighting these natural ebbs and flows, we can learn how to harness the power of our daily energy cycles.
Read on to learn how.
Pinpoint your daily rhythms
Start by tracking your personal energy cycles for a week. Make a note of:
What time you naturally wake up without an alarm
When you feel most focused and productive
When you start hitting an afternoon lull
Your energy spike in the evening
When you finally get sleepy at night
Also rate your energy on a scale of 1-10 at different times of the day. This will reveal your peaks and troughs.
Factor in other variables too like diet, exercise, stress and sleep quality. This will help you identify the daily rhythms for your mind and body.
Harness peak energy times
Once you know when your energy crests during the day, use it! Schedule important projects, tasks requiring concentration, meetings or workouts during these peak times.
I know from tracking my cycles that my morning productivity is tops. So I tackle my most challenging writing projects first thing, and save admin or email tasks for later. That way I make the most of my energy highs.
Recharge during energy troughs
Just as key as using your peaks — schedule time to recharge when your cycles dip.
Don’t fight midday fatigue with caffeine, push through tasks, and get frustrated with your performance. Instead, expect an afternoon lull and plan for it.
When my 2pm slump hits, I take a quick walk outside, hydrate, and do less brain-taxing activities until I feel my rhythm pick back up.
The key is not to be rigid. Take a nap or shift tasks if your body or brain needs a break.
Optimize your lifestyle habits
Support your daily cycles by optimizing exercise, meals and sleep. The right lifestyle habits can help you minimize energy crashes and maximize peaks.
For example, exercising and getting sunlight early in the day can boost morning energy through circadian pathways. And eating a bigger meal midday when energy lags can prevent blood sugar drops.
It’s also good to keep sleeping and wake times consistent to stabilize your cycles.
Top 7 tips for harnessing your daily rhythms
Track your energy cycles for a week
Identify your peak productivity times
Schedule demanding work for your energy crests
Take breaks and recharge during troughs
Exercise, eat, and sleep at times that align with cycles
Avoid fighting fatigue during natural dips
Stay patient with ebbs and flows throughout your day
Ride the wave
Instead of fighting your natural energy cycles, flow with them gracefully like a surfer catching a wave. Expect peaks and valleys, prepare for both, and conserve your stamina across the full 24 hours.
Respect your body’s innate rhythms, and align your days with your cycles. You’ll be amazed how much more productive, focused and vibrant you feel when you work with, not against, your daily energy patterns. The key is balance — don’t burn all your fuel during crests, and stay patient with yourself during troughs.
Now that you understand your daily energy cycles, it’s time to start harnessing them for peak performance all day long. Pay attention to your natural rhythms, strategize around your cycles, and adopt lifestyle habits that support your body’s innate wisdom.
It's time to start riding the wave!
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