How to Work Your Best: Step 2
Update on Step 1: I did not get enough sleep. Sue me. I'm on vacation in San Francisco the next four days (expect a fun trip recap soon!) and had to catch a plane by 5:45 a.m. today Which meant waking up at... 4 a.m. And I went to bed way too late because I was trying to do all those last minute things that I originally intended to do like, a week ago. WHATEVER, West Coast, I'm on my way to you.
Onto step 2 of discovering how I best work: finding patterns.
What times of day do you do your most creative or brain-taxing work?
Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and then between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. (depending on the day). So, mornings and early afternoons. Mondays are usually a crapshoot; I prefer to do lots of life tasks at the start of a week. Fridays and weekends, I try to devote to creativity projects and recharging needs... which is hard since I tend to travel/schedule a ton of stuff on those days.
When do you feel like your energy is waning?
Late afternoon and evening, early mornings. Sundays and Mondays. Thursday nights.
What sorts of activities fill you with lots of energy and which ones leave you feeling flat?
This was pretty obvious.
I feel energetic when I am creating in solid chunks of time, reading or watching something for fun or inspiration, connecting with at least one friend or family member or doing something new. When I am able to switch it up throughout my day, include some physical exercise (fresh air, woo woo!), help someone with something.
I feel flat when I am receiving too much information in scattered bits, working on too many things at once, having too many tools at my disposal (a million Feedly tabs, my phone, Gmail), trying to give to too many relationships at once (in person or on the phone, like trying to call several friends and family members on a single night, or saying yes to a social obligation every night of the week). If I wake up and immediately look at my phone, my mind pounces to all the million things I need and want to do, and I immediately feel low energy and like I want to procrastinate. If I say yes to everything, I inevitably cancel something because I just can't deal with it the day-of, and I end up bailing on people or not getting things done, which I don't like. Ugh, and I feel flat when I spend too much time on social media instead of, you know, living my actual life.
Who fills you with lots of energy, and who leaves you dry? This could just be clients, or it could be other relationships. What’s common about the people who fill you up?
Hmm. For me, it's the same on a personal and professional level. People who leave me dry tend to complain, only talk about themselves (one-sided conversations don't do it for me), avoid asking questions or carrying out a conversation, aren't interested in exploring new things or their community/world. I don't like people who bitch about coworkers or leadership or their own lives repeatedly (everyone is entitled to bad days, of course), who note problems instead of offering solutions, and who are focused on praise and approval rather than teamwork toward a joint goal. I don't care for people who are jaded or rude or dishonest.
I'm energized by people who are storytellers and visionaries, talkative about anything and everything, thoughtful about all kinds of subjects (ones I'm familiar with and ones I'm not), curious about big questions and small decisions and life in general. I prefer interacting with people who are good at what they do, care about relationships, and seem to genuinely want to make a difference for others somehow. I want to be around people who tell the truth, even when it's hard, who believe in creativity and a meaningful life and being dorky-level excited about things.