Managing energies vs time: strategizing your day into output vs. input phase


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I have been playing around with my schedule to maximize deep work and productivity. One strategy that I came up with, which is helping me quite a bit is to divide my day into an output v input phase. The basic idea is that I need to produce different types of output first thing in the morning (writing, thinking, drafting, exercise) before I start receiving input (emails, meetings, food etc) later in the day.

For instance, I am currently in peak writing phase, so this is what my routine looks like.


5:50 AM: Wakeup + Feed cat + Boil 2L water. No phone.

6:00 - 10:00 AM: 4 x 50-minute writing session. Drink 500 mL of water in 10-minute breaks (2L in 4 hours). I typically do this using an accountability buddy on Focusmate. I block distractions using SelfControl.

10:00 - 11:00: Excercise, shower, get ready + draft quick emails.

11:00 - 12:30: Work


12:30: I check my phone for messeages + Lunch (I do intermittent fasting)

12:30 onward: meetings, check and reply to emails

4:30 - 5 PM: shut down for the day.

6 PM: Dinner, TV, Books etc

9PM: Wind down

This type of partitioning really helps me focus on the ask. Also, as a lion chronotype and an introvert -- my energy gets drained very quickly as I begin interacting with people via phone, emails etc.

Therefore, for me, productivity is more about managing my energies rather than just time

Hope this helps!
For some reason, Reddit won't let me post the link to the chronotypes article. So adding the full link here.

One of the most popular online quizzes was made by Dr. Michael Breus, who describes four kinds of chronotypes, based on sleep-wake patterns seen in animals. Answering his online chronotype quiz will tell you whether you are more of a bear, wolf, lion, or dolphin:

Lion: The lion chronotype stands in for the early bird. These individuals wake up early and are most productive in the morning, but may have more trouble following a social schedule in the evenings.

Bear: According to Dr. Breus, the bear chronotype makes up about 55% of the population. People with this intermediate chronotype tend to follow the sun. They do well with traditional office hours but also have no problem maintaining a social life in the evenings.

Wolf: The wolf chronotype is equivalent to the classic night owl, and is believed to make up approximately 15% of the population.

Dolphin: The dolphin chronotype is based on the ability of real dolphins to stay alert even while sleeping. Human “dolphins” are best described as insomniacs.

While these types can give you a general idea of your ideal schedule, there will always be variations from person to person. Whether you identify with an animal chronotype or whether you simply know deep in your heart that you prefer being awake at night, having a better understanding of how you are wired may help improve your sleep quality and quality of life.

Full article:,exercise%2C%20and%20core%20body%20temperature.
@woodlandsro I like to wake up early (6-7) and get a lot of shit done by around 1. Then from 1PM to around 7PM my productivity wanes and I struggle to get much done. Then from 8 to 12 I basically go frenzy mode and by 1AM I start to struggle. What would this be?
@prodigalredeemed My impression is that you are burning out, and not giving yourself enough time to recoup. Aim to work for 8 hours a day (a mix of productive + some shallow work). Stop and take the rest of the day off after 4 or 5PM. Reset and start again. I've learned that consistency is better than boom-bust cycles of producive days
@woodlandsro the issue is that I'm only 15 so I have school for around 8 hours and I still have a LOT of shit to do afterwards. 6-7 until 1 being productive is something I noticed both on holidays/weekends and school days. From 1 to 4 when I have school I find it harder to focus on lessons or at home. Once I'm back I usually mess around until either 6 or 8 (never in between weirdly) even if I know I should be working. I don't know what's wrong. Then as soon as 8 hits I do much better until 11-12 when I go to bed.

edit: for context school starts at 8AM and ends at 4PM
@woodlandsro Hmmm. If you are so nitpicky you may end up spending more time playing with your schedule and not get anything done. Personally for me, setting such sepcific times never works. Instead pick deadlines and work backwards
@luxix No, the point of the schedule is that ...I don't have to waste my time playing with my schedule. It helps me to know that I have a deadline and I for sure have 4 hours each morning to work on my stuff, consistently instead of scramming. Pushing all my meetings to the afternoon then helps in discussing my ideas.

But I guess, to each their own.
@woodlandsro Bro. I'm saying don't get so into the schedule. Your mind, energy and schedule may not always be in sync.. it'll just frustrate you. Pick a task for the day/week and finish it. IMO schedules are for children and managing teams/organizations.

15 mins of focused productivity beats an hour of scheduled activity.
@woodlandsro Interesting, but this won’t work for software engineers like me lol. When I’m coding, I’m constantly absorbing information from documentation, logs, etc. (input) while writing the actual code (output). Both input and output are very mentally intensive.