While we can train ourselves to be more productive, science has shown that there are certain “natural” factors that have positive and negative impacts on how we work, despite our best efforts and intentions.
By knowing and working with these elements, we can be even more productive in the long run.
Understand Your Body’s Rhythms
A recent blog on the time management site Evernote.com shared some valuable information on body cycles and productivity.
You might already know that we humans run on an internal 24-hour clock called the circadian day. However, within each circadian day, we cycle through 90-minute blocks of enhanced focus called ultradian cycles.
The beginning of these ultradian cycles is when our brains are most focused and energetic, while this energy fades over the 90 minutes. The next step is to find out how your specific ultradian cycles work so you can make the most of them.
Learn When You’re Most Productive
Using this simple template from Evernote, you can record your levels of focus, energy, and enthusiasm at one-hour intervals every day for about two weeks. You’ll quickly see what times of day (or night) are your peak productivity times. Even though you may already “know” when you are most productive, I recommend taking the time to collect the data and get really clear on the times of day that work best for you.
Schedule your most challenging tasks for the peak times when you are most focused and energetic, and then work in blocks of about 90 minutes. Save the less complex, more routine tasks for middle and end of your 90-minute cycles.
There’s one important rule, however. Don’t push yourself to work through those low energy times.
Respect the Value of Downtime
“At the end of each ultradian cycle, you can keep working, but you simply won’t be as effective. Your brain needs downtime,” says Evernote.
Fastcompany.com cites psychologist Art Markman, who states that “downtime makes you more productive by giving you more emotional resilience to the inevitable ups and downs at work, while also helping you to get some perspective on the problems you are trying to solve.”
So, while you might think you’re being productive by pushing through when your energy runs out, it could actually be taking you longer than if you stepped away and started again after a rest.
Tie in Your Time Management Skills
Once you know how your personal ultradian cycles work, you can use your time management skills to make your peak times as productive as possible.
For example, set up your environment to avoid unnecessary distractions or interruptions or schedule time on your calendar so you know you’re working when you’re most focused. It’s all about using that laser focus to your best advantage.
And finally, if you’re really interested in this topic, check out this Inc.com article: This Is the Exact Time (Day, Month, and Year) You’re Most Productive at Work.
Learn More About Productivity and Time Management
If you’re ready to do more of the things you want to do and use your time to create the success you’ve always dreamed about, consider attending my Time Matters Boot Camp LIVE! 3-Day In-person Workshop happening outside of Boston, May 17-19, 2018!
Based on my WISE Living Formula, the Time Matters Bootcamp will teach you to:
- Understand your brain and how you need to honor what works for you so you can know that you have everything “handled,” finally relax, and trust yourself.
- Design a system that works for you so you can find the peaceful moments in your day and up-level your life and business…and stop being stuck in reactive, panic mode to get work done, kids ready, dog walked, etc. You’ll finally be able to ENJOY the pace of a comfortable schedule and a routine that fits your life and your goals. What could be sweeter?
- Use the time management system that works for you and have it become part of who you are. You’ll never have to totally re-invent your time management tools again!
Early Bird Registration Deadline is May 5th—Register NOW and SAVE Big!
Click the link below to reserve your space now!
I hope to see you there!
- You Probably Owe Yourself More Downtime - July 29, 2020
- Maximizing Certainty: How to Plan When So Much is Unsure - July 13, 2020
- What’s Interfering With Your Productivity This Summer? - June 30, 2020