Discovering Our ‘On and Off Seasons’ For Optimal Productivity

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Whenever I undergo the yearly process of setting my goals for the upcoming year, I plan the timing of execution around my own ‘on and off seasons’—that is, I’ll aim to start working on a specific type of goal depending on the season (winter, spring, summer, fall)—capitalizing on the times of the year where I’m more productive creatively and athletically, then scheduling some downtime when I’m less productive and less motivated.

The reality is that most of us aren’t productive all-year round. Periods of prolonged strenuous exertion needs to be followed by rest. Otherwise, we’ll inevitably burn ourselves and the returns (with our work, training, and creative endeavours) will follow the law of diminishing returns. Out output and quality will decrease.

Looking back historically at the times when I’ve been the most productive and motivated, typically aligns with the seasons of the year. I’ve used these recurring trends to sort out my peak times of productivity and lower periods into seasonality buckets which depends on the type of endeavour. My on-season for athletic challenges is spring and summer (likely due to the warmer weather and wanting to be outside as much as possible) so I strategically schedule my organized races during that time period. However, the same time period (summer) is my off-season for creative work. I’m not as productive creatively over the summer months and therefore stick to writing more shorter-form content.

During the fall and winter months, the inverse occurs. I’m much more naturally creative and focused when the weather gets cooler so I’ll plan to work more diligently on a big creative project (like a book or longer, more heavily researched blog content). I’m less motivated with my training and am content just going back to my daily 5-milers (while throwing in a tougher workout here and there to mix things up).

By understanding our own subjective ‘on and off’ seasons—the periods of time where we’re naturally more motivated in specific areas of our lives—we can capitalize on our own peak productive periods, while at the same time, allowing ourselves to be unproductive; scheduling more rest, relaxation, and leisure, without being served a side fo guilt.

Discovering my own off and own seasons took time and reflection, but it’s helped me immensely in harnessing my natural energy at different times of the year.

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