The Secret of High & Low Energy Tasks

Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t feel like working.

It seems that no matter what you do, that you can’t get into that productivity zone.

Maybe your energy level is low. Maybe your attitude is off.

You just don’t feel like doing anything.

What do you do when this happens?

Sometimes You Feel Like it, Sometimes You Don’t

Sometimes you have all the energy in the world.  You feel like you could eat an elephant in one sitting.

Other times you don’t have the concentration or energy to get anything done.

(For me this happens most often on airplanes…)

One of the best strategies to deal with your high and low energy times is to sort your tasks by energy level, as well.

When your productivity is in high gear is the time to get done the things that require the most effort and concentration.

On the other side of the equation, when you are dragging, is sometimes the best time to get done the smaller miscellaneous low effort todos.

For When You’re “On”

When you are on fire, and nothing can stop you, this is the time to attack the big important things on your list.

This is your “in the zone” time, when you are knocking down todos like they are bowling pins.

Ensure that you prioritize your todo list to get to your most important tasks done during this time frame.

Here are some high energy tasks:

  • Creative Work – Creating new ideas takes time and high levels of concentration.
  • Writing – I find I write best when I am “in the zone.”  If don’t feel like writing, it can be hard to get anything down.
  • Brainstorming sessions – Staying on topic to hammer out a plan takes effort and works best with high levels of enthusiasm.
  • Meetings with Clients and Colleagues – You always want to be on your “A”game when meeting with clients and colleagues. Plan your engagements to match your energy levels whenever possible.

For When You Are “Not-So-On”

We all know what it is like to be “out of the zone.”

You don’t feel like doing anything. You feel like you could call it a day.

These are the times to take on low effort tasks that don’t require much concentration or follow-through.

Some great low energy tasks:

  • Reading – Reading is an activity that often gets pushed aside. But, it requires low levels of effort. I find that I actually get my reading done when I do it during periods of low motivation.
  • Filing – Filing papers and email is an essential task that requires low effort. When you aren’t motivated, this can be a great task to attack.
  • Cleanup – I don’t like to clean. But, this is my favorite low energy task. Whether it is the office or even laundry at home, cleaning is a great low energy task.
  • Working Out – Wait a sec, you say… if I don’t have energy, you want me to hit the gym?? Actually, yes! I find that even a short low energy workout can jump start your energy levels. You may surprise yourself once you get in motion.

Match Your Energy

Be prepared for when your energy is high and low.

By separating tasks by energy level, you can be productive during your high and low productivity times.

With a little strategy, you can maximize your ability to get things done …even when you don’t feel like it.

What are your high and low energy tasks?

9 thoughts on “The Secret of High & Low Energy Tasks

  1. Hey Craig, What a great way to organize your work! I like the idea or organizing your day according to energy rather than priorities or “whatever’s making the most noise gets done first”.

    So far I’ve got this ironed out – I do my best work in the morning when my energy is highest and in the evenings when it picks up again (go figure!) and that cleaning makes me feel calm!

    I’m going to have to give this some thought (and tweet this). Thanks!

  2. All energy levels are scientifically predictable. If we want to have above optimal performance levels, you have to pay close attention to your nutrition, excersise and sleep. Esspecially sleep. We can predict ulradian rhythms if we have balanced circadian rythms. I’ve been reading a lot of studies lately regarding this phenomena, article coming up when I finish my empirical experiments.

    Great article, never the less!

Comments are closed.