You’ve probably heard many gurus talk about the virtues of getting up early and starting the day with your hour of power. Well, good news if that doesn’t sit right with you – it may not be your most productive start to the day!
In today’s episode, I challenge your thinking on whether you should be fighting natural instincts, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert and how this pans out in planning your most productive time of the day. This falls under our thought leadership pillar.
Disclaimer – All information provided today is general in nature. Please reach out to Jane if required for personalised advice or coaching.
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Season 2 Episode 9 FAQ Business Podcast transcript | The most productive time of the day – for you!
Today my topic might be somewhat controversial because I’m going to take a completely different take on the time of day to be the most productive.
00:10 Is getting up early your most productive way to start your day?
We’ve all heard the early bird gets the worm, and I’m sure you’ve been at events and conferences and things when they’ve always talked about how important it is to get up early and do that hour of power get started for the day. But I’m going to suggest to you that that may not be the best way for you to start your day.
00:35 Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast from your host Jane Tweedy
Welcome to the FAQ Business Podcast for business owners covering four pillars actionable education, inspiring leaders, businesses like you, and thought leadership, where we challenge your thinking. Hosted by myself, Jane Tweedy. I’m founder and lead trainer of FAQ Business Training, where we want to avoid you getting ripped off or ripping yourself off. We’ll feature an amazing diversity of guests with lots to educate and inspire you. Let’s jump into today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast.
01:12 Today my challenge is about your most productive time
Welcome to season two, episode nine of the FAQ Business Podcast. Today’s episode brought to you by myself, Jane Tweedy, founder and lead trainer FAQ Business Training and your host at the FAQ Business Podcast. Today I’m going to challenge your thinking again. So another sort of episode on thought leadership. And today my challenge is about your productivity during your day.
01:39 You need to operate at the best time for you
I think there’s a lot of well meaning people out there that tell us we should be operating on that sort of early start to the day. And I’m here to say, you know what? No, you need to operate at the best time of day for you.
So there’s going to be times a day that you’re more creative, times a day that you are better spent with others, times when you should spend with yourself. And that’s what we’re going to look at today because I really want you to be the most productive you can be, not try to conform to someone else’s acceptability and normality.
02:13 Getting up at 4.30am or 5.00am in the morning does not suit everyone
There’s plenty of people that espouse that getting up at like 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning and setting your day up with your hour of power, doing your meditation, your journaling, set up your affirmations, do all that stuff. And while I have no issue with doing that, the time of day you’re doing it, I do have an issue with.
So for me, getting up at 4:30am or 5:00am is just hell, it really is something awful and dreadful and I can’t think of anything worse. In fact, at times I’d go to bed at that time of the morning because I’m so pumped and productive in what I’m doing during the night.
02:54 Work with our natural instinct to be most productive
Now that is not good either. So I’m not saying that’s a good thing to do, but I’m just saying for me it is really going against my natural instinct. And that is what I would ask you to do is to look at your natural instinct and instead of fighting it, what we want to do to be the most productive and to have our most productive day is to make sure we work with it and not against it.
03:18 What’s the best time for us, are we an introvert or extrovert?
So today we’re going to look at a couple of things. First of all, we’re going to identify the time of day that we work best or the time of night it might be in your case, for different activities, okay.
We’re also going to look at the real difference between introversion and extraversion and how that might play in the way that you design your day and your week to have the most productive day. And we’re also going to look how we can combine the two together to come up with effectively our most productive day.
03:50 Are you a night owl or do you get up at the crack of dawn?
Let’s, first of all, work out are you a day person or a night person? Are you that night owl, or are you that person that likes to get up with the crack of dawn? So the first obvious thing we can ask, do you need to be woken up by an alarm or do you naturally wake up?
So my partner, for instance, he naturally will wake up at 5:30 in the morning I never hear his alarm go off. He automatically wakes up and gets up, okay. And if that’s you, yeah, you’re more likely to be a morning person. A person that will always be woken by what’s going on around them. Maybe that’s in part because he grew up on a farm or a little farmlet. So maybe that’s part of it, maybe that was part of that upbringing.
For me no, I’ve never been a morning person. I’ve always been that person to snooze the old alarm. And yes, I know that’s not a great thing to do, but I do. I know the way that I operate and I know the way that I’ve done things.
04:50 At school were you a planner or a crammer?
So when you look back at school, for instance, were you kind of a bit of a midnight crammer for your exams, or were you are plan them in advance, go to bed early and get a really good night’s sleep. So really look back as to what you did back then.
05:04 When are you the most creative?
What about when you need to be creative? Do you have a particular time of day that you are the most creative? I know for me, I actually tell clients, never book me for a 9:00 am meeting if you want me to do something creative like copywriting because I absolutely will be struggling.
I just don’t have that creative spark firing at 9:00 am, 9:00 pm however, creative spark is firing that doesn’t necessarily work for clients, but I definitely say to them, hey, book a later meeting, book an afternoon meeting, and I’m much more likely to be on form and able to quickly come up with ideas than what I would be at 9:00 in the morning.
So you’ve got to work out for you. What are these times a day that you work best? So, for instance, for creative work, when is that best tackled?
06:02 What introversion and extroversion actually means
Before we look at admin work and things, I want to tackle the issue of introvert versus extrovert because most of us have been confused or misunderstood what introversion and extroversion actually means. Introversion is about getting fuel from yourself. You create your own energy. Extraversion is when we actually generate our fuel from others.
Now, if you’re an extrovert and you start your day doing solo activities, so doing your hour of power, doing your journaling and all that stuff, you might find that you’re not starting the day in a powerful way. You’re actually starting the day flat. And the reason for that is because you actually need to get that energy from other people.
So how do we do that? We schedule our meetings, we maybe go networking, we do a webinar or something. We do things with others at that time of the morning. So that is really, really important.
07:02 It’s not about being shy – lots of introverts are public speakers
It is not about being shy, it is not going okay, you speak on stage, you’re an extrovert. Absolutely not. I know some speakers that speak on stage, they’re speakers, but they’re absolutely introverts. As soon as they’ve finished their thing on stage or as soon as they can in a conference, they dart back to their room, they lock themselves in their room and they have that quiet time. They can’t people for all that time because it actually drains all their energy away from them.
So this is something I want you to think about. Do you find when you’re with a group of people, does it build you up? Do you find when you’re by yourself that it kind of makes you flat?
07:43 I realised I get my energy from others so need people contact to start my day
So for instance, for me, what I used to do was I used to schedule my admin time as a whole day. So I used to say, for instance, Thursdays is admin day. What I was finding is I was really, really struggling. As I said, I’m not creative as it is in the morning.
But what I was also finding is even just doing the admin task in the morning, something that was just banging away. I couldn’t do it because I just felt really flat and just really drained. And what I realised it was because I needed that people contact at the start of the day. So what I do now is I schedule my mornings for meetings or a webinar or something that I have that interaction with others. And then in the afternoon I schedule a block of time for admin.
08:30 Better to start on a high point rather than starting low and going even lower!
That works so much better for me because I built my energy up from others. I’m on a high when I start that admin work and sure it will wane a bit. But if I start from a higher point and work down, it’s much better than starting at a low point and going further because it will end up at the point where I’m like lying on the couch or I get a headache or something like that. And it’s purely because I’m tackling things at the wrong time of day.
08:56 Even when presenting on Zoom it’s nice to know someone is there
Even things like when I’m presenting on Zoom. So I have a number of organisations I do presentations for, including my own, but when I do stuff with Zoom for one of my clients, the way that it’s set up is that I do not see people’s faces, so there’s no videos on, there’s no talking or anything, and they can chat in the chat and that’s it.
And the problem with Zoom is it doesn’t even have that someone’s typing in the chat thing happening. So I literally sit there going, is anyone even there? And it can be quite off-putting for me because I really do need that energy from people.
09:32 In these sessions I ask questions to get a quick response so I can stay energetic and vibrant
So I do always try to do when I’m doing those types of sessions is make sure I’m asking people questions and I’m asking people questions that have short answers so they can put them in the chat quickly and I can get that response quickly. Because otherwise I feel that I’m not going to be as energetic and vibrant as I would be if I’m getting some feedback from the room.
09:53 Presenting at night when a lot of people are drained
I’ll give an example, I was presenting at an event last week at night time and again presenting an event at night time a lot of people are drained. They’ve had their whole day of work and things before that and they come to the event and they are quite drained. So something you need to consider if you are presenting at night is to make sure that you are building that energy up.
10:16 We mixed up the speakers to keep up the energy
So we actually had a mix of speakers that were very different paces and speeds and the way that they presented, which was great because we started with a bit of a more slower speaker and more measured, and then we had higher energy and then you kind of peak with me with very high energy, and then you bring people back down to settle them back down.
And that worked really well. So really do think if you are running an event with multiple presenters, think about their energy levels, not just their topics. Make sure that the topics kind of flow from one to the other, but also make sure their energy levels are going to flow.
10:52 Also think about the time of day when presenting
So things like, for instance, if you are having an all-day event, make sure the speaker after lunch or in the early afternoon slot is really going to bump people up because that slot is always that kind of post-lunch coma phase.
You really need to make sure you’re lifting people and getting them up to that next level. So when I was presenting at this event last week, a lot of people came up to me and commented about my energy level. They really found that was a really nice way of building that awakeness in the room.
So think about how you are presenting but also at different times of day. Maybe if you are presenting in the morning, it is a little bit more low key than if you are presenting at the end of the day.
11:36 Remember your audience is going to be different
But again, remember, your audience is going to be different. Some of them are going to be energised in the evening and some of them will not be. But you do tend to find once people have gone through a whole day, they tend to have less energy in that evening slot.
11:49 The 7.00 am breakfast meeting is not the best for me!
The way that I now schedule my days is typically that I will plan my week ahead and I will make sure that I have something in the morning. So either it’s a webinar or workshop or something, or even a networking event in the morning. But not the 7:00 o’clock breakfast meetings where possible because it’s too early for me to be my best I just won’t be presenting my best at that stage.
12:12 Will do my creative stuff later at night
And then I can go through to the more admin side of the day. Maybe then I can go through to do that creative stuff after I’ve had a bit of a break after I’ve had dinner after I’ve had some time to chill out with my partner or whatever. And then I can go and do some stuff later at night.
12:28 Remember how does that fit with other people as well
So I tend to find about 09:00pm, 10:00pm is when I go into hyperdrive. So when I can literally punch stuff out, when the creative juices just flow. And that for me works best for me. But obviously, I still need to maintain how does that fit with other people?
So how does that fit with my partner? How does that fit with other things I’m trying to do in my life? And does it still mean I get enough sleep? So okay, I will fess up and be honest I tend to get myself on a roll.
I don’t just go from 9.00pm till 10:00pm say to 1:00am I kind of hit my 2.30am curfew imposed by my partner, and that’s where I struggle a bit. So I do need to make sure I’m getting to bed a bit earlier.
But I really need to make sure that I am making the most of that creative time because I really do find that my juices are flowing the best between about 10:00pm and 1:00am. So why not use that time effectively.
13:24 Work out what time of day suits you and then spend time to build yourself up
For you, you need to consider your times of day. So you’re an introvert or extrovert. If you’re an extrovert, make sure that you are using some extrovert activities in the morning to build yourself up. If you’re an introvert, make sure you spend some time alone in the mornings to build yourself up. Work out your time of day that you work best. So if you do work best at 4:00am in the morning, 5:00am in the morning, whatever, get up early, do that if you don’t, if you’re like me, you’re more a night person don’t fight the night, work with the night. You’ll find that it works better.
13:56 You may have to make some adjustments around family
Now you may need to tweak things. Obviously if you do have a partner or children or parents that you live with, whatever you may need to adjust your day to make it work for you and work for your housemates. So obviously we don’t live in isolation some of us do, but we don’t live in isolation, most of us. So we do need to work with the people around us.
But do bear in mind we can make adjustments to things. So like I said, I can have time to spend with my partner or whatever and then go back to doing some work later on.
So the hour of power type activities that people mention, things like doing meditation, doing journaling, they don’t necessarily have to be done first thing in the morning.
14:39 Suggest plan for the day ahead, plan for the week ahead
So again, that could be something you do after lunch, it could be something you do after dinner. So really think about the time of day that you would actually get the most benefit from that. But one thing I do strongly suggest you do is that you do plan for the day ahead the night before, plan for the week ahead. So either on the Friday afternoon or the Sunday night if you don’t want to work on the weekend at all.
The reason I suggest doing that is because it gives you time to percolate. It gives you time for your subconscious to actually start thinking things over without your conscious worrying about did I remember to do that? Have I written that down? So make sure you’ve done that beforehand.
If it’s planning the next day, plan that at night and then we won’t have our brain going you’ve forgotten this, you’ve forgotten this, because we’ve already got it out of our system. So that’s a really important thing to do as well.
15:29 Structure your day to suit you best and prepare in advance
Hope today’s session has been useful for you and it’s just made you question and think about how you can structure your day to be the best for you. Because I’ve had some discussions about this recently where people have kind of tried to do the fighting against what they naturally do or they’ve done things like admin work in the morning when they needed that people activity in the morning.
So once they realise yeah how to generate more energy then it makes their day run much more effectively, you get a lot more done. But always remember, plan your day the night before or the afternoon before for the next day. And plan your week ahead from either the Friday afternoon if you’re going to have the weekend off or from the Sunday night. So always preparing that in advance.
16:16 Extrovert – schedule some people activities for the morning
But remember, if you’re an extrovert, schedule some people activities each day in the morning of some description, even if it’s just that you have to make a phone call or something but try and do some people activities in the morning.
16:29 Introvert – schedule some of your own activities to build energy
If you’re an introvert, try to do more of your own activities in the morning just to help build that energy to start your day and like I said, work out your creative times, work out your admin times and things and work out what’s the best time of day to get those things done because you will have the best results.
16:48 Thanks for tuning in today – we look forward to challenging your thinking again
Thank you for tuning into today’s episode of the FAQ Business podcast. We look forward to challenging more of your thinking and bringing you some great guests to inspire and educate you in the future. Thanks for tuning in.
17:06 Don’t forget to subscribe to the FAQ Business Podcast
Thank you for listening to today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast available on all good podcast services. You can subscribe today via FAQBusinessPodcast.com.au or directly on Apple iTunes, iHeartRadio or Spotify. Subscribe, follow, share and where able to, review our podcast or leave us a comment on either YouTube or our blog page.
Thanks for helping us to help you the small to medium businesses who are growing and want to make a difference. Look forward to connecting with you again on the next episode of the FAQ Business Podcast.
Today’s podcast episode featured our host Jane Tweedy. Her details are as follows:
Jane is a Professional Certified Coach with International Coaching Federation (PCC with ICF), business advisor and trainer. She loves working with growing small to medium business owners who are doing the right thing, to help them do it right! Currently, Jane offers at least 50 live sessions a year to train small business owners.
Jane offers a variety of services to clients and her online school and membership site went live late 2021. Jane’s focus for 2022 is building the membership and online school out further, and offering implementable small group training – something she finds is often the missing link.
If you are interested in training, speaking, or anything else Jane has to offer, please connect via firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact forms on our websites.
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