There seems to be a consensus in the productivity world that getting up before daybreak to do your creative work before anything else will improve the quality of your output.
But what if you’re other life obligations make it impossible for you to dedicate the pre-sunrise hours to your creative practice?
Or you're just not a morning person?
The idea of getting up before dawn as an aid to focus, is born out by the ancient Indian health system of Ayurveda.
In this system the hour before daybreak corresponds to the last hour of a cycle of ‘wind energy’ called Vata, and is characterised by calm and clarity - making it an ideal time for all things contemplative.
My artist, cyber-buddy and follower of the moon, Donna Iona Drozda likes to work during the whole nightime Vata period. She told me,
“…working in the wee hours between three and six a.m. feels special to me…as though the colors and the images are floating about the studio just waiting for me to arrive.”
Maximise Your Afternoon Creativity and Productivity
But most productivity gurus aren't aware that this pre-dawn hour has an afternoon twin.
In the Ayurveda system, the day is divided into three energy cycles of four hours each of which Vata is one. But since the day has 24 hours these cycles repeat twice. So between 5 and 6pm in the evening, when the prevailing urban myth would have us heading home to eat and rest, a new phase of clarity - perfect for creative work is beginning. (If I’m not heading off to teach Yoga, I often find myself in the studio or writing something at this hour.)
If you’re already at home or in your studio or writing space at this time, it's a great opportunity to get to grips with a creative project that has been eluding resolution or to try out a new, challenging technique or activity.
Even if you are commuting during this period, you can still take advantage of this second clarity session by doing something related to your creative life:
Or why not avoid the rush hour completely and head to a coffee shop for an hour to mull over a creative project?
Annual Energy Cycles
The three Ayurvedic energy cycles also have seasonal effects - making some seasons more suited to rest and recuperation, and others to energetic or social activities.
That’s why becoming aware of your creative energy cycles is such a good idea!
What time of the day are you at your most productive?
Does it correspond to either of these hours of clarity or is it a completely different time of the day?
Share your experiences in the comments.