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Time and energy

Finding the time when we have the most energy is important for the leader, as long as they then use that time wisely. Join the course to learn more!
Portrait of a young businessman looking stressed out in a demanding office environment

Again just a short note here as we build up towards the comprehensive podcast you will listen to in Step 1.19.

Finding the time when we have the most energy is important for the leader, as long as they then use that time wisely. That is the time when they will have the most inspiration, have the most focus and concentration, and are likely to be most positive. Using this time to apply it to their priorities in life is key to being more successful more quickly, and being efficient so they can fit in everything they want to do.

In terms of the science, circadian rhythms are a well-understood aspect to human life and our energy levels. A ‘classic’ rhythm would mean us becoming more energised as we wake up and then we’d have a dip mid-afternoon, get more energised later afternoon, and then wind down in the evening, explaining why we suffer from jet lag to some extent. However, we’re all different, and for example I am someone who tends to become livelier and more awake if working late into the night. I seem to get my best thoughts then, although I can work well at other times. Mornings I find it much harder to get going. Others in my family are awake immediately at dawn, but then tire after dinner and can’t do much in terms of activity after that. Some people find naps really helpful when they have a dip, and therefore should use them, and others such as myself find them very disruptive as I never get back into a good rhythm afterwards. Knowing how you work in this sense is really helpful to the leader in the choices they can make.

Also the leader can consider their team and their preferences. If most follow the ‘standard’ rhythm described above, then you wouldn’t want them spending all morning addressing emails and other people’s priorities, would you? It’s worth a discussion as a team, to figure out the best ‘cycle’ of work for everyone.

It’s also worth the leader noting the following:

1) flexible working can really help in terms of people’s natural rhythms

2) generally, managers assume that employees starting and finishing work later are less conscientious than others, even if performing to the same standard

3) if you find yourself slowing down whilst trying to finish something off at night, then you are better to leave until the next day if you can, as you will be far more efficient!

As well as looking at when you and your team have the most energy, we can also look at how to increase your energy. We looked at resilience in Week 2 of the first course in this series of three on leadership. Some of the lessons there can be applied to boosting your energy levels, as follows: drink lots of water, take exercise and eat healthily. This means avoiding bursts of sugar or caffeine if possible. Also we can look at taking appropriate supplements, for instance vitamin D in the winter, which will help our energy levels amongst other things. We should also ensure we are getting sufficient sleep – seven to eight hours for a working adult.

And now in Step 1.10, let’s look at how you and other learners perform at different times of day!

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