How to be productive in your after lunch dip

By johannatime On August 11, 2013 Under Getting Organised

In the past couple of weeks I explained two ways to organise your to do list so it facilitates you in making the most if your time. If you are a real time management ninja you use them both; you have actions sorted per context or tool, and you have them sorted according to the time they will take you to complete. There is yet another, more subtle way: sorting them according to energy level. Because you are not a robot, and reality is not as simple as ‘just do it’.

Your energy level makes a difference

You may recognise these situations, that you have the entire afternoon ahead of you, no meetings planned, a tall stack of work to do and you are exhausted and instead of doing at least something, you are snacking on e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Or, quite the opposite, you finally feel energised and inspired, have great ideas for your chapter in the report that is due next week, and a colleague walks in and asks you if you have time available to have a meeting, now. Because you have no other meetings planned, you say ‘sure’, and off goes your inspiration. In both examples you are wasting your time.


Whether you feel tired or inspired often has lots to do with the time of the day, or the time of the week. Even time of the year may influence your mood. A common event everyone experiences on a daily basis is the after lunch dip, and many professionals prefer their mornings for concentration tasks. Athletes often perform best around mid to end afternoon, and countless creatives make their best pieces at night. Some have typical Friday afternoon tasks or things that should be done on the weekend. Statistics however, don’t count, because everyone has their own biorythm and it is worth gold to work out yours.

Some examples so you get the idea:

  • Concentration mood
  • High energy creativity
  • After lunch dip / after dinner dip
  • Brain dead
  • Consuming information mood
  • Writing mood

How it works

  • Work out a distinctive set of moods you find yourself in regularly. You can even start with only ‘high energy’ and ‘low energy’
  • Then, whenever you add a task to your to do list, you decide what mood or energy would be best to complete that task, and categorise it

It is important to understand that watering the plants can of course be done when you are highly inspired, but it can also be done when your brain is toast, so caring for your office green when you should be drafting your next blog post is a waste of your time.

  • Along the day, when you find yourself in a particular energy, only get those things done that suit your mood
  • And on the other hand, when you have a lot of high energy tasks on your list, make that time of the day or week available in your calendar or otherwise they may not get done

Does this work for you to be more productive and do the right things at the right time? And what are your typical moods to get things done? Please share them in the comments below:

Johanna Jansen

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