The Habit Society

⚡️ Schedule energy, not time

To: Society Members

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To set the tone, I’ll share a quote by bestselling author Daniel Pink: “All times of day are not created equal.”

And with that: schedule your energy, not your time.

Biological Rhythm

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.


You’re up, night owls…


You guys have the same pattern but in reverse and later in the day (ie. recovery, trough, then peak). Your energy and mood are moderately high in the early afternoon, low in the early evening, and highest in the late evening and into the early morning.


Find out when your peak, trough and rebound are by filling in this time sheet for a week. Put a timer every 90 minutes and once you’re done, trace along the numbers to find your pattern.

Use this information to create your task schedule, like when to squeeze in meetings, plan for a deep work session, go to the gym, take your coffee breaks…


When your tasks match your energy level, it feels like you’re sailing with the wind instead of against it.

Molinary (software developer, productivity aficionado, and published author)


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If you want to learn more about what the fascinating Daniel Pink has to say, read the full thing in his book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing


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