Manage Your Time For Optimal Productivity
“The best time to start was last year. Failing that, today will do.”
~ Chris Guillebeau
Do you manage your time or does time manage you? It is a given that there are 24 hours in every day. No more, no less. For some people, days go so quickly they proclaim, "The day has gone so quickly and I've hardly done anything!" Another person may be heard saying, "Today is just dragging. I can't wait for it to be time to go home".
I remember as a child feeling that it was an interminably long time between sending a post-card to Santa and trying to stay awake on Christmas Eve to catch the big guy miraculously finding his way out of our very small chimney to the Christmas tree. I never did catch him.
I also remember summer school holidays and how much I looked forward to spending a good six weeks on the beach hanging out with friends and most importantly, going back to school with an awesome tan. Those six weeks simply flew past for me and it didn't seem like any time at all for the first day back at school to arrive.
Priorities now are slightly different (not greatly) from those of a teenager many years ago. Both stories were experienced during 24 hour days and yet one experience seemed to be tortuously slow and the other no time at all. The saying "time flies when you are having fun" explains how a space of "no time" is entered when an experience is so all encompassing, that time goes unnoticed. When we are bored, frustrated or waiting for something important to happen, time is experienced differently.
So how then, can you manage your time for optimal productivity?
There are many ways for you to reach your goals. Some ways will be easier than others and more time efficient than others. One effective way for you to manage your time is to have a meeting with yourself in the evening to decide what the most important task of the next day will be that will maximise your success in attaining your goal.
Write this task down and no matter what, intend to accomplish this task first thing in the morning during a two hour period before starting any other activity. This includes answering emails, taking phone calls and other activity that may be considered to be procrastination.
The 90 Minute Productivity Cycle
Ultradian rhythms are natural body cycles that occur throughout the day every 90-120 minutes. Dr. Ernest Lawrence Rossi, a psychology researcher introduced the concept of ultradian rhythms, or biological cycles of rest and activity that regulate physical and mental health. Approximately every 90-120 minutes, the mind and body give us clues signaling the need for rest and change in physical and mental activity. Ignoring these signals may lead to fatigue, stress, and ultimately physical (psychosomatic) illness.
Source and more information: Star Over Sky Blog
So when you are considering how you manage your time are you willing to risk being more productive by taking a 20 minute break every 90 minutes or when you are stuck? Do you feel guilty if you take breaks throughout the day? Have you tried taking breaks every 90 minutes to see if it leads to better results?
Dr Rossi explains, "The basic idea is that every hour and a half or so you need to take a rest break - if you don't you may be well on your way to the Ultradian Stress Syndrome: you get tired and lose your mental focus, you tend to make mistakes, get irritable and have accidents - If you continue to ignore your need to take a break you can experience more and more stress until you actually get sick.
When you learn how to recognize your need to take a 20 minute break you can convert your stress into what I call The Ultradian Healing Response - Its that wonderful feeling of comfort and well being that you naturally have when you are tired but let yourself have the freedom to take well deserved rest.
Source and more information: The 20 Minute Ultradian Healing Response -An Interview with Ernest Lawrence Rossi, Ph.D.