Note: This is a guest post from Josh Lipovetsky of Optimistic Wellness
Circadian Rhythms. Cool sounding word, but how can this be they key to productivity? Let me explain. We are all different, yet similar in some basic ways. One of these ways is our circadian rhythm. It is the reason why you feel so energetic at some points of the day, yet so lethargic at others. Some of us are most efficient in the night, afternoon, or day. If you don’t know which one you are, then it’s time to experiment.
The key to my productivity has been finding a block of time where I am most efficient. I am almost 100% certain that you have a 2-3 hour block of time every day, where your cognitive functions are incredibly alert. During this time of the day you can learn languages, you can get your most intense creative work done, and if you’re in school you can get some great schoolwork done.
For me, my most powerful block of time is between 9 AM – 12 Noon. My second time block in the day is 8 PM – 10 PM. During these times, my brain is naturally more alert and ready to take on intense tasks. Isn’t it great to know you can find your productive times of the day, and skyrocket your productivity? Oh, the joys of being human!
It is so important to find a 2-3 hour chunk of time during the day when you are most productive. And when this time comes, cherish it. However, if you find yourself unproductive, it’s even more important to have a secondary time chunk for yourself.
Here are a few tips to help you optimize your productivity during these peak daily times:
1. Take breaks
Let’s say your peak time is 11-2 PM. If you envelop yourself in mentally rigorous work for all 3 hours without any break, you will likely feel run down afterward. And your mental performance/energy for the rest of the day will probably not be at full capacity. This is why you need to take a short break during your productive time. I recommend about 60-90 minutes of work, followed by a 30 minute break. I usually watch an episode of a favorite TV show during my break. I think listening to music is also a wonderful way to make use of your break time. Music that empowers you to do your best. Check out http://www.8tracks.com or http://www.unhearit.com for some awesome songs!
2. Don’t beat yourself up
Mistakes happen all of the time. You may not be as focused as you like during your sharpest time of the day, but that is no reason to beat yourself up. If that voice inside your head is hassling you, calm it down, and know that you will eventually build this amazing and empowering habit. This is another great reason to have a secondary time block. If you miss your first, you still have another shot later in the day!
3. Set up your schedule the night before
I am not a big schedule person. I get so much done with schedules, but they make me feel trapped, stressed, and limit my spontaneity in life. Yet, it is quite important to know what tasks you will tackle during your sharpest times of the day. The rest of your day can be unplanned.
In short, find two chunks of time, approximately two hours each, in which you are most productive. It’s best if they are spaced far apart. During those blocks of time, focus on the most important and fulfilling work that you have scheduled in advance. Remember to forgive yourself if you have trouble developing this habit at first. Just because you can’t lift the weights today, doesn’t mean you won’t be strong enough to lift them tomorrow.
Josh Lipovetsky has been battling severe Crohn’s Disease for the past 3 years, and he is always looking for new ways to help people achieve more in their life. He loves public speaking, and can be found video blogging at http://www.optimisticwellness.com. His twitter is http://www.twitter.com/joshlipovetsky
Photo by R’eyes