It’s easy to think you’re a superhuman who can focus for hours on end, but if you’re like most of us, that’s just a pipe dream (we’re still waiting on a radioactive spider bite, but no dice yet 🤷♀️). In reality, most people have a finite capacity for deep work—that’s the zone of laser concentration where you eliminate distractions, create new ideas, and tackle energy-intensive projects. Often, you’re just trying to “push through”, making this holy grail cognitive state even more elusive.
According to productivity specialist Taylor Pearson, the best solution is to work smarter, not harder. Specifically, you should plan around your productivity levels—bucketing tasks by the amount of energy they require and tackling them according to your natural rhythms. This method cuts down on wasted time, so you can get more things done with less slogging at your desk. And with just a few high-focus hours each day, your brain has time to reset and generate new ideas.
Sound dreamy? Here’s the lowdown on how to plan by productivity level:
1. Bucket tasks by energy level
First, you should take stock of your to do’s. Pearson divides his tasks into these three buckets, according to how much brainpower they require:
- 🧠 Maker (high energy): Deep, creative work that requires a lot of thought. For example, writing a blog post or planning a new project. Brainstorm meetings would fall here.
- 💬 Manager (medium energy): Reactive tasks, like answering emails or weekly check-in meetings. For more on the difference between maker and manager work, check out this post.
- 📚 Admin (low energy): Work that requires little thought, such as paying bills or sorting mail.
2. Tune into your natural rhythms
Get ready to flex your self-awareness. Think about when you have the most energy—early in the morning, late at night, or somewhere in-between? Be honest with yourself; if you’re a true night owl, don’t feel bad about sleeping in and clocking evening hours. For a more scientific approach, you can track your circadian rhythm and energy levels with an app like Rise.
3. Plan your day strategically
Finally, it’s time to plan. Use your calendar to block off time for “maker” work during your peak productivity hours—that way, you can avoid last-minute invites and interruptions. Schedule check-in meetings when you’ve got medium energy levels, and save those mindless admin tasks for when the brain fog sets in.
You can use tags in Woven to track which events represent “maker,” “manager,” or “admin” work. You can also create templates for focused time blocks to save time later, and tune into Woven Analytics to identify potential blockers, like travel time and extensive video calls.
Try it for a few weeks with Woven and see how much you can achieve when you listen to your internal productivity rhythms. And best of all? You’ve got all the tools you need to make it happen, right inside the app.