Have you ever found yourself wondering why you can't seem to get a routine task done in the same amount of time it took you to do it before? Or why it takes you so long to get the simplest tasks done? Everyone works per his or her own individual pace. Occasionally, you may find yourself in "the zone" at certain types of the day when you're most lively and motivated. At other times, you may struggle to perform a task when your mood is just not conducive to getting things done. It takes us time to get “revved up” and establish a rhythmic routine in order to manage our time and consistently get it all done.
How to Establish Rhythms for Time Management
More likely than not, the feelings associated with being "in the zone" are recurrent at certain times of your day. Time management is about getting in touch with your natural rhythms. Once you identify your peak hours, you can accordingly schedule your most demanding tasks around these spikes in your productivity. The implementation of time management skills, therefore, requires getting to know yourself. Ask yourself the following questions to determine when you are at your peak.
How Long Do I Take to Adjust to My Most Productive Mood?
Determine the amount of time you take to ease into the rhythm of performing a task. Chances are, you won't be fully engaged from the outset when starting a project or job. A certain amount of transition time is required before you can fully apply yourself. Pay attention to how long it takes you to adjust and what keeps you from settling into whatever tasks you have to do.
I’m a night worker. Well….not a night worker....you know what I mean. I have read plenty of books that say high performers manage their time better because they get up at the crack of dawn to get their day started. Well, I do my best work at night.
I can stay up all night, pushing out blog posts, social media posts, write an entire play script, college paper, etc. When the sun rises I am not the first person you want to meet. I’m just not a morning person and it takes me a long time and a strong caramel macchiato with extra shots of espresso to get me going.
You might say, “Stacey, you don’t get any sleep so of course, you are going to be a grumpy grouch in the morning”. Not necessarily. I’ve tested this and found that even if I go to bed on time and get my full 8 hours, I just don’t do well in the morning. I can do chores and all kinds of other stuff during the day, but when it comes to projects that need my brain to be on point, I have to wait until the sun goes down and everything is quiet and calm to get it all out on paper. That’s my rhythm. Which leads me to the next question.
At What Time of Day are You Most Active?
Some people are most energetic in the morning, while others take longer to get motivated. Your energy level may have peaks and valleys during your day. Figure out when you are typically most productive, and match your high-priority tasks to these high-performance times.
How Many Consecutive Hours Can You Work Without Needing a Break?
Accurately assessing the amount of time you are capable of working non-stop is a powerful aid in your ability to distribute your time appropriately. You may be capable of operating consistently across a more extended period, or maybe you can only work in short bursts. Either system is acceptable. The key is to become aware of your strengths.
How Many Hours Can You Work Before Your Productivity Starts Dropping Off?
The next time you sit down to work, time yourself to identify how long it takes before your focus begins to wander. If you are prone to distractions, determine at what point you seem to get overwhelmed with the most disruptions. That is probably the point at which you have unconsciously lost motivation or attention. It’s either time to take a break or just wrap it up for the day. If you keep going when your mind is not there, you will be prone to make more mistakes and trigger unwanted frustration.
How Long of a Break Do You Need to Refresh?
Time management means that you make time for periodic breaks in your day, but some people are better at maximizing their downtime than others. For example, do you find that your break time is preoccupied with worries, plans, or nagging thoughts? Determine whether your break time is sufficiently restful.
If you are not feeling refreshed after this period, you may need longer breaks throughout the day. If you find that you’re having trouble relaxing during your downtime, try to fill that time with an activity like breathing exercises, a quick biblical meditation session or listening to your favorite audiobook. If at all possible, take a quick walk outdoors and get some fresh air.
Knowing yourself is invaluable to the process of creating an efficient time management system.
Once you explore the answers to these questions, the insight you gain will help you build a blueprint where you can structure a productivity plan that will get you out of the rut and get you going.
Need help getting your rhythm going? Sign up for the 5 Days to Freedom Challenge to get you started. Take the first step to getting productive and purposeful. Sign up now!
Until next time,
Live in gratitude. Live in love.
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