As the seasons change and the days get shorter it can be hard to keep motivated and stay focused. It’s totally natural for our bodies to want to slow down in colder, darker weather, but sadly our responsibilities seem to be weather resistant and continue to build regardless of our lethargy.
Now if you are employed you may have less flexibility than those who are self-employed or are running a small organisation, but if you’re lucky enough to be in charge of your own schedule, we suggest that you start to adjust it for the winter. Yes, you heard right. The way to make it through the long dark winters is not to keep calm and carry on working when it’s counter-intuitive or unproductive for you, but instead, tune in and listen to your body and start to understand your patterns of productivity.
If in the winter months you need to start your day slightly later to wake up like a human being, versus an angry bear whose hibernation has been disturbed, simply make some adjustments to your schedule to allow for this. Your clients won’t know that the reason you won’t take a meeting before 11 is that you need a lie-in. You simply aren’t available in the mornings, end of. As long as you’ve earmarked plenty of time for business hour meetings, there should be no issue.
If you are most efficient I the evening hours when it’s quiet, adjust your life to accommodate these timings. As a parent, I’ve always worked flexibly, being most productive between school drop-offs when I have the bulk of my outward-facing calls and meetings and then again after my child’s bedtime in the evening when the world and most importantly my inbox is quiet and I can write (like now!)
If you have external clients or regular meetings you can either choose to inform them of your new hours with a clever signature explaining your status or simply adjust your Calendly to only offer slots at your new optimal times. How you communicate the message is up to you, but as long as the work continues, you’re unlikely to hear any complaints.
Working to your body clock isn’t reserved for the winter months, that’s just when it feels like the most relief. If it’s possible in your role, you should always create a work schedule that best utilises the time when you’re most focused and most productive. When we work outside these times, tasks take us twice as long, as we contend with our lack of focus or lulls in energy. Choose to go for a run, take a power nap or take a trip to post office in these windows instead of trying to force yourself to work, when the fact is that you aren’t producing anything of real quality without your head in the game.
I promise that you’ll quickly find that this way of working is better for your mental health and thus better for your business. You may even find that you’re able to work fewer hours and be just as productive.