One trick for high productivity involves matching one's mental state to the task. Unfortunately, most school leaders do not consider this concept when crafting their daily schedule.
Each of us has a chronotype, a personal pattern of circadian rhythms. This daily cadence influences our physiology and psychology, meaning that time of day has a significant impact on our mental performance and mood.
Most people follow the daily pattern of peak, trough, and rebound:
Peak: Morning is when our energy levels and mood are optimal
Trough: Midday is when our energy levels and mood deteriorate
Rebound: Late afternoon is when our energy levels and mood recover
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Approximately 75-80% of humans - myself included - follow this same physiological pattern. When we understand this science and embrace these rhythms we can optimize our production.
In his book The One Thing, Gary Keller proposes the concept of being a "maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon.” Keller proposes analytic work requiring sharpness and focus should be completed in the morning while routine work requiring less inhibition and resolve should be done in the afternoon.
This research has prompted me to create a daily schedule that allows me to take advantage of this natural sequence. My mornings are generally geared toward strategic planning, meeting preparation, and coaching meetings while my afternoons are filled with "busy work" such as returning emails, personal notes, and paperwork.
Given the scripted structure of the school day and the unpredictable nature of the position, school leaders may struggle to arrange their schedule according to genetic preference.
However, savvy school leaders look for every opportunity to enhance their effectiveness and are intentional about organizing their calendar to promote high levels of productivity.
Looking for a great book discussing the importance of timing? Consider reading When by Daniel Pink.