The Art of Strengths Coaching

P is for Prime Times

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When are your prime times? What are the times of the day when you have most energy? When do you feel most creative? Let’s explore how you can make the most use of such times.

Clarifying Your
Prime Times

Energy is life. Sometimes we have lots of energy, sometimes we feel drained. Sometimes we need to rest and recover in order to become revitalised.

Are you at your best in the morning, the afternoon, the evening or a combination of these times?

Rollo May, the psychologist, believed people could become more effective by identifying and making good use of such times.

Writing in the first edition of The Ageless Spirit, he explained his own schedule for a day.

“I stay in my studio each day for four hours, but the last hour and a half isn’t worth very much.

“It was hard for me to accept, but what can I do? All I can do is make the most of the creative time I’ve got.

“So for two and a half hours I’m moving marvellously; the rest of the time I’m simply fiddling around.

“But I find joy in fiddling too. I have to accept the fact that I’m not a God. I have to accept my destiny.

“I have to accept the fact that I can only do creative work for a few hours a day, but that does not diminish one iota the joy I get from those two hours.”

Rollo believed it was important to ‘catch the wave’, otherwise it was gone forever.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites to you describe your prime times during a day.

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Capitalising On
Your Prime Times

The first step is to clarify when you have most energy. The second is to clarify how you can make the best use of those times.

How to make this happen? One person I worked with did the exercise called My Perfect Working Day.

Starting by focusing on the prime times, they then sketched out how things would look on such a day.

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“I began by identifying my peaks and troughs during the day,” they said. “My best time is between 8.00 and 11.30 in the morning. I dip during the afternoon, but then come alive again at 9.00 pm.

“Previously I used to berate myself for having low energy during those downtimes. But then I learned to follow these natural rhythms.

“I became very protective of those times, but I faced a dilemma. My desk is located in an open plan office and it is difficult to concentrate with so many interruptions.

“So now I get into the office at 7.30 am and leave a note about my whereabouts in case of emergency. Then I spend the first hour by myself doing creative work in a place where I can concentrate. Sometimes I am interrupted by urgent requests, but frequently it is my most productive part of the day.

If you wish try tackling the exercise on this theme. Describe the specific things you can do to make the best use of your prime times.

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Continuing To Perform
During Your Prime Times

How can you continue to protect your prime times and catch the waves? One approach is to learn from peak performers.

Looking ahead, they plot when they will have most energy. This can be during a day, a week, a month or a year. So their schedule may look something like the following.

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You will do this in your own way, but it can be helpful to do the following things.

Planning

Peak performers often plan ahead and try to protect their prime times. They also arrange their time in blocks. They are then able to be fully present when performing activities.

Preparing

Peak performers rehearse everything before embarking on their chosen activity. They sometimes pursue the following guidelines.

They clarify the picture of success.

They rehearse pursuing the key strategies for achieving the picture of success.

They rehearse solving any potential problems on the road to achieve the picture of success.

They relax, re-centre and refocus on the picture of success.

Perform

Peak performers click into alert mode when embarking upon the actual work. They then give everything to do their best to achieve the picture of success.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to describe how you can plan ahead, prepare for and perform during your prime times. Taking these steps can increase the chances of producing peak performances.

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