How to recognize peak hours?
In the moments where your mind explodes with clarity and focus, you just know you are within your peak hours. It’s elevated the state of your focus on the task at hand.
The fact to the matter is, that I used to be a night owl, and my peak performance hours were a sporadic and unsteady occurrence. Instead of “evoking” energy like a conjuror, I went a little bit deeper and went for the scientific approach to our hormone levels and their impact on our mood.
There two ways we can determine our peak hours. One is by “gut feeling” and the other one is by creating them with a controlled environment.
You should follow your gut feeling. You can base it on observation. My observation showed me that usually, my first ultradian peak starts between 10 and 11 AM. I’m one of those people that when I get into the office, I have to relax and get accustomed to the environment, and mentally shut down the distractions that are happening in my immediate environment.
This technique has helped me identify my peak performance moments and leverage them to the best of my ability. I am not even trying to do heavy lifting work if I am not in the zone. All of the work throughout the day that I want to complete, I am doing within my peak hours, in order to preserve my limited energy.
How to create more “peak” hours during the day?
Being the passionate mindhacker, I couldn’t help but to wonder, how can I make my body have more of these favorable body chemistries throughout the day. The answer is rather complex, but the main questions that we need to answer in order to know are we operating above optimal performance are:
- Did your brain get enough REM sleep?
- Does your body contain all the required nutrients?
- Are you working out regularly?
Sleeping, nutrition, and workouts are three pillars that determine our performance. Aligning these three factors in harmony is ought to produce the best performance for you.
But out of these three factors SLEEP is THE most important
Sleep is essential for peak performance. And yet, I am as well guilty of sleep depriving myself and producing irregularities in sleep cycles. With my day job, I’ve balanced out my wake/sleep rhythm. And it did wonders for my performance.
I became dependent on good night sleep. Because if I missed it, I would lose that empowering feeling that I usually have throughout the day. And that wouldn’t make me very happy.
A lifestyle that will guarantee you the Crash and energy deprivation
I remember my initial phases throughout the beginning of my internet entrepreneurship days. I used to wake up around noon, and be awake all the way until early morning hours. And all of that time spent in front of the computer.
I can say that I was wasting massive amounts of energy and was harming my body. All in all, I was underperforming massively.
If you include one meal only after I would starve myself to death, that would be usually food ordered by phone. Either pizza or chicken steak with breading and greasy fries. No wonder was in a constant state of the crash.
And I would work all the time, but would never get anything done. This lead to a lack of socialization and ultimately to depression with that kind of lifestyle, where I got fed up and went into another type of extreme. Being overly social and not spending any time in front of the computer at all. And finally finding a work/ life/workout balance.
Nurturing “power mode”
Our peak hours don’t happen by themselves. It is something that we can influence. Knowing what works and what doesn’t makes a huge difference in your productivity levels.
When we are in “power mode”, we really get things done. If we want to achieve more of these higher end states, we need to make them happen. And that happens with the change in your habits. Taking a proactive approach to your energy levels does pay dividends in the long run.
Factors that determine the occurrence of “Power Mode”
I actually consider “power mode” a cheat. Things really start to flow, and the fact that you can be one of the rare people using it makes you highly competitive in the market.
Power mode is completely dependent on the factors that are responsible for its creation. These factors are:
- Did your brain get enough REM sleep?
- Does your body get all the required nutrients?
- Low levels of bad stress
Your aim is to obliterate all the obstacles that are preventing you from healthy living. Living healthy is extremely related to the higher states of productivity.
Did you get enough sleep?
There are two kinds of rhythms regulating our bodies. There are circadian rhythms and ultradian rhythms. Circadian are 24-hour cycles that regulate our sleep cycles. Ultradian rhythms are recurrent periods or cycles repeated throughout a 24-hour circadian day.
When Ultradian rhythm peaks, you are in “Power Mode” and if you couple those peaks with your most important activities, you are going to get ahead with the completion of your goals at the blazing speed.
These moments are golden because your mind works in bursts. Capturing the wave of that burst is putting you in the “zone”.
Does your body get all the required nutrients?
Are you eating right? Our brains need the adequate carbohydrates in our bloodstream in order to perform properly. And you don’t have to be a scientist about it, all you need to know is how carbohydrates behave in your bloodstream. We have various different types of carbohydrates, and some are good for us, some are bad.
Always go for slow dissolving carbs. Those can be found in whole grain cereals and whole grain products. These carbs are creating complex chains that our body dissolves slower than other carbs, therefore having a more stable release of insulin, avoiding insulin spikes. After the initial insulin high (that you would get from sugar) you would have an energy crash, once it goes down. If you can maintain the steady level of insulin throughout the day, you can maintain balanced and productive energy.
Stress is the bodies response to strain-full situations. When we are “stressed out” our bodies are forced to use the hormone called “Corthyzol” in order to endure higher levels of stress and work over its capacity. While Corthyzol is helpful in stressing situations, being constantly exposed to it dissolves the muscle mass, makes you generally weaker and hurts your immune system.
The best way to go about Corthyzol is to treat it like athletes do. Go on for limited amounts of time, under heavy stress, and follow it up by resting. This way you are improving instead of deteriorating your productivity.
Eliminating stress will let you operate optimally. Some of us might be addicted to the feeling of putting everything off until the very last minute because short deadlines are giving them the adrenaline surge. If you fall into this category, make sure to perceive your habit pattern and break it. Unnecessary stress that could be the prevented is number 1 reason behind heart attacks that we have today.
The value of peak hours
These moments are so precious that you need to guard them to the best of your abilities. The famous mathematician Poankoare was working 4-hour workdays. 2 hours in the first part in the morning, and 2 hours in the evening.
Now, for a long time, I had irregular sleep, and my day job brought back certain discipline about the habits related to going to bed. When you have regular sleep cycles, you can predict peak hours with more accuracy.
Circadian and Ultradian Rhythms, what the hell is that?
The idea of peak performance hours came from sports. In-depth mentions of this phenomena are covered in details in the book “The Power of Full Engagement”.
Lots of athletes were really interested in various research results, regarding the peak performance hours. During certain times of the day, our hormone levels are higher than during others.
This leads to exploding the results, based on the timing of activity that athletes participate in.
This is the introduction to Peak Performance Hours Series. Any topic you’ve seen in this article will be covered in the upcoming weeks. There will be some experiments where I will track my body behavior exposed to different conditions. Primarily in sleeping. Stay tuned.