Photo by Sasha Sashina on Unsplash

Are you a morning person? I am. I have trouble waking up, but once I’m up, I’m ready to go. My energy lasts for a while as I power through my morning walk and workout, taking care of some personal tasks, and then starting my workday. In my morning meetings, I’m alert and articulate. And if I’m working on something, I’m focused and quick.

A some point in the afternoon, my energy tapers off. I’ll have some coffee and a snack for a jolt, but my afternoon productivity levels don’t even come close to rivaling my morning productivity levels. I struggle to find the words I want to use and I get easily distracted.

I think about this a lot as I plan my days. I start work later than I used to because I like to have more free time in the morning than the evening. Earlier in my career, I would have wanted my peak hours to be at the office (which I think was wise, as it was more of a proving ground then). Now, I want my peak hours mostly to myself and I’m not sorry about being selfish with them. (Of course, this isn’t always in our control, but it’s something to strive for.)

One thing I noticed about my morning peak is how I perceive challenges and opportunities. If I’m confronted with a challenge to investigate or a puzzle to work through in the morning, I feel excited and invigorated. Anything is possible. But if that same issue arises in the afternoon, I often feel a sense of dread and general pessimism about achieving a successful outcome.

I try to recognize this when it happens to leverage the peaks and not get too disheartened by the valleys like revisiting afternoon challenges in the morning, but I could use a deeper toolbox.

Does this happen to you? Have you noticed an ebb and flow in your own confidence and competence throughout the day? What strategies do you use to leverage your good times or soften the bad ones?

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