In general, I’m really good at mornings. I’m a one alarm girl who usually wakes up with enough energy to conquer the world before breakfast. In general, as you might expect, I fade early. I prefer not to do any “heavy thinking” work after 9:00 PM simply because it isn’t my sharpest hour. That’s a good time for snuggling up with a good book, catching up with a friend, or organizing things around the apartment.
I’ve come to think of this self-knowledge as an important tool in “following my energy.” If I feel the most brilliant in the morning, perhaps that is the time to work on a new piece of writing or Smile Project initiative. If I get sleepy by 10:00, maybe that means I should start a movie at 8:00 PM and let myself relax into the night.
And while most of the time, my body falls into these patterns, that isn’t always the case. And perhaps being able to adjust is even more important than any preconceived notion of mental energy.
Recently, I was pushing the deadline on something with The Smile Project. It had been weighing on me for several days but seeing as it was now 10:30 PM, I knew it would have to wait until tomorrow morning. Or would it? I called a friend to commiserate and after a little pep talk and an unexpected burst of energy, said, “alright, I’ve got it.” We stayed on the phone, both silently working on our own projects while I completed the assignment.
It is easy to play along with the stories we tell ourselves. One of my big stories is that I do my best work in the morning. And while there is absolutely truth to that, it doesn’t mean I’m completely incapable of doing good work in the evening.
Sometimes that means I wake up fully expecting to crank out a queue of Smile Project blogs only to find that I’m too restless to sit at my computer. In moments like that, it immediately becomes obvious that a quick run would help focus my mind. Or when I think I want to relax with a new movie and enjoy a leisurely lunch in the afternoon but suddenly feel a spark of inspiration to work on something new and exciting. It’s allowing my energy to guide my movements.
Following my energy looks like listening to my physical, mental, and emotional body. It means being willing to break from routines and adapt. It means giving myself the opportunity to do my best in every moment. And it means trusting that things will get done to a high quality even if it comes about in an unexpected way.
This week, we invite you to think differently about your days and manage your energy and tasks in a way that feels good to you—even if it's unexpected.