Manage your energy levels

Virtual First | Well-being Kit

Most of us plan our days around tasks. But research suggests that planning our days around energy levels—when we’re feeling motivated vs. drained—is more effective. Use this exercise to become more aware of your energy patterns and build a schedule that fits your rhythm.

20 MINS | PERSONAL EXERCISE

Step 1: Map your energy levels

You probably already have a good idea of whether you’re a morning person or a night owl. You might also notice that certain tasks leave you more awake than others. Use the energy map worksheet below (or draw your own) to get a deeper sense of how your mental energy waxes and wanes throughout the day. When you’re done, reflect: 

  • My energy is highest when __________
  • My energy drags when __________
  • My best ideas happen when __________
  • I lose my focus when __________
Energy map worksheet

What’s your energy curve?

Use this worksheet to learn which tasks and times of day energize vs. drain you.

Step 2: Build your energy rituals

Maybe you get a surge of motivation at 9:00 am or crash right after lunch. Whatever your personal energy curve, adding predictable energizing activities to your calendar can help you find more flow and joy throughout the day. Fill out the energy rituals worksheet below to learn more about what’s draining your brain power, and what you can do for an energy boost. When you’re done, pick your top 3 energy rituals.
Energy rituals worksheet

Energy buster → energy builder

Use this worksheet to shift an energy-depleting pattern into one that sustains you.

Energy rituals worksheet

Step 3: Design a high-energy day

You know which activities tend to drain and sustain you, and you’ve identified a few energy-giving rituals. Now it’s time to design your day. Open your calendar and make some changes:

  • Got any can’t-miss meetings? For example, at Dropbox we have collaboration hours daily from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Block time for these. 
  • When is your energy highest? Block this time for complex tasks (such as brainstorming, writing, coding).
  • When is your energy lowest? Block this time for rote tasks (such as emails, scheduling, formatting).
  • What are your top three energy rituals? Add those to your calendar, too. 
An example calendar for managing energy levels

More resources

3 easy wins

Build the habit

  • Tomorrow: When you’re drained, do one small thing to change it
  • Next week: Check in. How are your energy rituals working?
  • Quarterly: Schedule an energy checkup