Do you find at a certain part of the day your productivity drops significantly? Conversely, is there a time of day when your productivity rises? If you notice this on a regular basis, it might serve you well to think on that; get to understand what it is about that particular time of day that affects you on a regular basis. It could help you should you want to make some adjustments in your routine and raise your productivity at times when it tends to drop off.
Another benefit in knowing yourself best in this regard could be in scheduling your job interviews when you’re going to come across at your best. Given a choice for example, would you prefer a morning or afternoon appointment for an upcoming job interview?
It’s well documented that many people have a mid-afternoon slump. With lunch over, if they have a fairly sedentary job, these people can become somewhat drowsy, move noticeably slower, and if the chair they sit in can recline, they may relax significantly and productivity drops as a result. This may or may not be the best time to sit in on a presentation some colleague is giving where the lights in the room are dimmed lest you nod off!
For others, those last 45 minutes of the day can be their period of least productivity. The employee might feel, “What’s the point of starting something new?” at some point during this period, and so the end of their day is spent checking emails, tidying up the desk, re-arranging the pens and pencils and refilling their stapler. Little real work is being done, and yet the employer is still paying full wages.
Look, when no one is watching, there can be a pattern among some people to do less. Those with a strong sense of integrity need not worry about this, but even the best employees know themselves better than anyone else; when they are at their best, and when they’re not. And to clarify, I’m not talking about employees who intentionally pull back on their work ethic; I’m referring to people who experience lulls in their energy levels.
So if you experience and can identify with this drop in your energy and productivity, what do you do to combat this? What strategies or activities do you do to recharge or stave off such times? Is it a walk around the perimeter of your building? Do you head for the washroom and apply a splash of cold water on your face? Maybe you seek out the most energetic person in the office who is good for a laugh which refuels your energy? Again, what works for you?
You might be interested to realize and remember that if you are feeling this drop in energy, it is highly probable that others can see it in you too. Your eyes might be droopy, you might be observed yawning more, be seen to be moving slower; walking like you’re out for a Sunday stroll instead of walking with purpose and your usual speed. The visual clues you are providing for anyone within eyesight can negatively affect your interaction with them. It’s not that you’ve suddenly become ineffective, it’s just the signals you are sending out are that you are clearly not at your best. When you’re not at your best, you’re not giving your best; and customers, co-workers, clients and Managers want to deal with people who are at their best more often than not.
One good strategy to employ is scheduling your workload so that the most productive time of day is when you tackle the projects requiring your creativity, perhaps your physical strength, or at the height of your concentration – all dependent on whatever you do for a living. If you have the kind of job where there is no change in what you do during the day, this obviously doesn’t apply, but if you do have some control over what activities you do say in the morning or the afternoon, you can adjust what you take on perhaps to when you are most productive.
Keep in mind however that when you engage with others in meetings and team exercises, just because your energy level is high or low, so too is the energy level of others. You’ll notice the visual cues in your co-workers that they too notice in you. There will be times when you’ll have to match that energy of others, perhaps pull them along with you at times, and be careful not to be deadweight yourself at other times.
Of course there are many people who don’t experience this dip in performance; these are the people who seem to have a never-ending supply of fuel; the Energizer-bunny types who just keep going and going… How do they do it? They always seem full of pep and vigor and hardly ever move slowly unless they are ill. Is it the mineral water they drink, the magic shakes they consume at lunch or the protein bars they nibble on?
Observe yourself and see if you fade at a consistent time during your time at work. It could be your diet, your routine, your lack of movement etc. If you are interested in making changes do so; but know yourself one way or the other so your self-awareness helps rather than hinders your work performance. And if people keep saying, “You look tired”…pay attention.