I don’t know about you, but my energy levels go up and down like the SF hills. So, I went on a mission to find out why. It turns out, our biological rhythm wants us to take an afternoon break during what the 9-5 life deems vital hours of the day.
Most of us follow the same biological rhythm, where morning is our peak, noon is our trough and evening is our rebound. So, let’s break down how we should break down our day to optimize this rollercoaster of energy levels we ride every day.
Peak: Do what requires the most focus and analytical work. Like, anything that requires deep work, where you won’t succumb to any distractions.
Trough: Do what needs to be done but doesn’t require as much mental energy. Examples: Bumble replies, filing customer service complaints, or folding the week’s worth of laundry piled on “the chair”. This is the time you’ll feel more mentally and physically tired. Trying to do focus-intensive work will result in more exhaustion and less productivity. Call a friend, grab a coffee, take a walk. It’s the time to say, ‘Sorry boss, I’m on my trough period’.
I’ll take it one step further. According to Pink, the afternoon trough can be detrimental to the quality of performance in different fields: test scores go down, there’s a rise in medical errors and a decline in hand-washing, and there are more car accidents between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. than almost any other time of the day.
Rebound: Do what requires brainstorming, cultivating new out-of-the-box ideas. This is the time when creativity flourishes, when your mood is up but your vigilance is low.