How to Take Advantage of an Energy Burst

Usually, I’m pretty clear on when I’m going to work, and when I’m going to not work. In a given week, if I’m not traveling I’ll plan out more or less the days and times that I can be found doing different types of work: writing at one of my local cafes (morning or before a nearby appointment), in my home office making calls (afternoon), going on walks while on other calls (afternoon), doing email in my home office (afternoon).

Sometimes, though, life swoops in. Usually, this phrase calls up visions of sick children and broken cars and reasons to put life on hold and not work as much as planned. Sometimes, though, it’s just the opposite.

Last week I had set aside a few hours to finish the edits on a book I’m working on. Truth be told, I really dislike editing. It’s laborious and monotonous (two words I hope are different for the sake of this sentence) and just not for me. But I had dutifully gone to the café I like near my doctor’s office, ordered my shrimp and avocado salad with an orange and carrot juice, watched half an episode of Below Deck (yes) while eating, and then dove into work for two hours before my medical appointment. As I was leaving the office ninety minutes later, though, I felt a surge of energy. It was 6 pm – not a particularly high-energy time for me, and my surge I really mean like “imperceptible frisson”, but suffice it to say in that moment I made the choice to go with it.

I could’ve easily ignored said frisson, given that 6 pm on a Friday night after a full week and a full day was not at all a time I needed to work for another ninety minutes. Instead, it was more like a great time to go home, put my feet up, and finish that episode of Below Deck. In contrast to normal behavior, however, I went with it. I went back to the café.

And then, for ninety minutes, I plowed through more editing. Finishing what I had planned to do on Monday morning and smiling all the way home.

And it felt great.

I was ahead.


So I’m all for schedules and planning, but the lesson of last Friday was that occasionally – and only occasionally – we should watch out for those rare moments where we, for some reason that may or may not be related to dark chocolate or chai lattes, actually want to do a little “extra” work. A little work that wasn’t budgeted into our weekly allotment, and something that will put us a little ahead. Likely, this call will come at a very rare time – 6 pm on a Friday, for me – and so obeying it will seem all the harder and rarer simply for the fact of the hour it is. But listening to that energy will reward you with not only work produced, but in feelings of awesomeness.

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5 thoughts on “How to Take Advantage of an Energy Burst

  1. As I sit here typing at my work computer way after everyone else has gone home for the day, I can certainly relate to the feelings expressed above. If inspiration hits, go with it! Yes, it is good to create and maintain a proper work schedule, like the manager of my communication team certainly wants his worker bees to, but I cherish those off occurrences when those energy and creative surges hit. There’s never a bad time to generate some good content. Thanks!

  2. I have to go with these burst of energy or I would never get anything done. They always happen to hit me on weekends and Fridays. The funny thing is that I always have a whole day scheduled as well, but when it comes to doing certain writing or editing tasks – I never get them done when I think I will!

  3. I find editing exhilarating (well, maybe that’s too strong). I find the prospect of staring at a blank screen daunting and in my process I say things like “here I want to say something about . . .” In the editing process, I take all those prompts away, combine sentences and tighten to get to what I really wanted to say. Having said that, it’s a big world and everyone’s process and approach is different.

  4. Good for you! I hate editing, & maybe (ADD self) should take it to a coffee shop or somewhere with ‘enough’ distraction, then follow the Spirit when extra energy appears!

  5. Hi Claire! Love the post! Funny how it tends to hit me late at night or on the weekends as well.

    I was talking with a high executive at a large organization who seems to be at 110% all the time and loving it. I asked him his secret. He shared with me a book that I thought I would pass along to you…
    The Power of Full Engagement – Managing Energy, Not Time, Is THE Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.

    I just got started on it and love it.