Finding Your Rhythm

By Jessi Pierce

08/11/15

As a writer and editor, it’s little surprise that I read a lot. And a topic I’m seeing covered quite a bit lately is workplace efficiency. The business publications usually cover it from a technology angle—which tablets, gadgets, and apps will help you get the most done in the least amount of time. Some of the home design magazines I subscribe to suggest a more feng shui-type approach—you know, an uncluttered desk equals a clearer mind.

The stories are fine as they go, but I believe they miss out on the most important element of efficiency—your work rhythm. Everyone has a flow, or natural rhythm to how they work. If you’ve ever heard someone describe themselves as a “morning person” or a “night owl” you’re really hearing them talk about the optimal way their body and mind operate.

The same thing goes for work. I’ve discovered after many years that the most productive time for me to write is very early in the morning, up until around noon. I’ve long stopped trying to figure out why—I just know writing for me comes more easily and with less angst first thing in the day. Recognizing that means I structure my workday to accommodate this rhythm. I try not to schedule interviews in the morning if I can help it, and I certainly won’t use that precious time to fill out an expense report or complete other more routine paperwork. Those items are saved for the afternoon when my brain seems to be on a more task-oriented and linear track.

You may find the opposite to be true. If you’re at your most creative and fertile later in the day or even at night, don’t fight it for the sake of some version of 9-5 efficiency. When I follow my natural rhythm, I find I’m more efficient, creative, and productive. Little of it has to do with an app or any time-saving computer program. And I’m not multi-tasking to get more done. I’m simply paying attention to how—and when—I work best so that I can work smarter. And isn’t that what we’re all striving for anyway?