Do you get tired during the working day?
Do you find it difficult to make complex decisions as the day progresses?
Does your ability to concentrate diminish gradually throughout the day?
If so then it’s likely that you’ve drained the energy from the part of the brain that you use to plan, problem-solve and communicate – your pre-frontal cortex.
Your pre-frontal cortex requires more energy than any other part of your brain so if you’re doing things like trying to understand something, making decisions, trying to remember something or trying to keep focused by blocking out distracting thoughts, then your brain is using up your valuable energy resources. The end result is that you will tire quickly and you will become less effective as the day progresses.
Now we all have to do these things throughout the day so, how do you do all of them and keep your energy levels up so that you remain on top of your game throughout the day? The key is to know and understand how your brain works. You need to learn to think about your thinking.
The first thing you should do each day is to prioritize your day’s projects/ activities. This is nothing new but the reason for this is that prioritizing uses up a lot of energy, so it needs to be done first thing when your energy levels are at their highest. Do the most difficult project first in the day.
Why should you prioritize? Because the act of writing things down allows your brain to stop using the energy it needs to remember what you need to do. You then free up this energy for other things. (Using visuals also helps here, as visuals require less energy than writing down words)
Another thing to do is schedule your day into blocks of time based upon the use of your brain. By this I mean set aside separate time for things such as writing and planning, having meetings and separate the more routine tasks such as reading emails. Leave the routine tasks to the end of the day when your energy levels will be at their lowest.
Two other things to consider during your day is the importance of delegating (decide on what you will delegate early in the day, as this takes up a lot of brain energy too) and only think about projects/ things you need to do when you have all the information you need. Let them go if you know you’ll get additional information at a later stage, don’t waste your energy thinking about it now.
A final tip is to top up your glucose levels during the day, rather than having a coffee!!