What is Your Prime Time and Why Does It Matter?

When is your Biological Prime Time? AND, most importantly, why does it matter?

Typically in my conversations with clients, we would discuss the time of day they feel most comfortable working on “mind intensive” tasks. Are they early birds or night owls or somewhere in the middle? Sam Carpenter, in his book Work the System, explains that your Biological Prime Time is when your energy and focus is at its highest.

Often clients say they really don’t have any idea when they are at their peak during the day. However, once they started to pay attention, they realize that it is easier to concentrate during certain times of the day. Having this knowledge allows them to adapt their daily plan so the tasks needing more focus can be scheduled during the time of day they find it easier to focus.

Makes sense, right? If you worked on your toughest and most important tasks during the part of the day when you are at your best, you would produce a better product in less time!

REMEMBER – Building your capacity so you can work less and achieve more is all about increasing your ability to focus, raising your energy levels, and practicing strong time management strategies.

But what happens when you have NO IDEA during what part of the day you have your highest focus and energy? Here’s a quick experiment you can try. Chris Bailey, author of The Productivity Project, recommends tracking your energy throughout the day. Here’s his step-by-step process.

Estimated time to complete: one minute every hour for a week (when you are awake)

What you will gain: An understanding of how well you manage your energy, focus, and time.

NOTE: If you want to truly observe your body’s natural rhythms, before starting this experiment you should cut out stimulants (caffeine, alcohol, sugar). Also during the experiment eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar consistent.

Experiment:

  • Each hour, on the hour, note
    • how much energy you have on a scale of  1 to 10
    • what you are doing
    • estimated number of minutes you procrastinated over the last hour
  • How to track
    • With pen and paper or
    • On a spreadsheet or
    • RescueTime or
    • Toggl

After you finish this experiment for a week you will start to figure out when your energy and focus are at their highest. Yes, I know it is tedious, but the results are worth it! (FYI – typically the amount of time spent procrastinating increases when your focus is low. )

And with this data you can plan your day to keep your BPT reserved for the most important projects and tasks. Here’s what I learned: my BPT is 7 – 9 am and 5 – 7 pm. What’s yours? Try this experiment and share your results!

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know you only have 168 hours in a week. The exercise above will help you make the most of that time – and here’s another tool to help with that. My Magic 168 Action Guide will help you get clear on where you spend your time so you can be more productive!

 

(Image credit: jesadaphorn)

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