Plan your day productively based on your energy levels, recommends Mark Seow.
It’s a brand new week. Yet, after what should have been a rejuvenating weekend of rest and relax, many people arrive at work weighed down by the dreaded “Monday blues”. Giving in to the self-fulfilling prophecy that the day is not going to be as productive as it should be, it is a given that they will not be able to rev up their “engines” to tackle the day’s tasks.
In my work as a classroom facilitator, the visible patterns of my learners’ varying energy levels throughout the day are all too familiar. As it is in an educator’s interest (and KPI) to effectively engage his/her learners, knowing the when of teaching is as critical as knowing the how of teaching in order to optimise the impact of learning retention.
Feet dragging – literally and figuratively – with the accompanying inattention and listlessness, is the norm early in the morning. By about 10 am, things tend to get better, especially after coffee and snacks. This is the time for maximum participaton, and everything and anything you throw at the workshop participants will be well received and handled with maximum brain power. The anticipation of the lunch break will also elicit much glee and excitement, and participants are at their liveliest.
After lunch, things will start taking a turn for the worse. No matter how exciting a facilitator is, there will be a contagious spread of teary-eyed yawning and the drooping of eyelids; this is a period we call the “post-lunch dip”. The pace of learning will pick up again at around 2.45 pm, so this is another opportune time to complete the remaining tasks. A quick coffee break will further enhance the overall productivity levels. By about 5.00 to 5.30 pm, the participants will be completely deenergised – this time due to the impending end to the training day, or when faced with the prospect of returning home or going back to the office.
Based on years of seeing such patterns, I have come to recognise the need to do things differently, in particular, when planning and executing the day’s lessons to align them with the peaks and troughs of my learners’ energy levels. This rule-of-thumb schedule can apply to your own workday as well. After all, we all crave less painful days and more productive ones, don’t we?