Everyone goes through a lazy cycle during the workday, that slows down the whole workflow, causing the productivity graph going down. However, you might feel guilty of not being able to complete those important things done. But at times you feel the most alert and excited to take critical decisions. These differences in energy peaks, defines our productivity – our productive hours.
When it comes to the average workday, most of us simply try to power through from start to end. We sit down at our desks and get cracking, hopefully attacking our most difficult project first and avoiding the early morning email trap. When we’re finished with one thing, we move on to the next.
But what if I told you that this isn’t the most effective way to get things done? What if I told you that working this way actually puts you in competition with your own body, and that strategic rest during the day is necessary for maximum productivity?
What is productivity?
Productivity is a proactive approach that you follow to be on the top of your creative game so you close each day with a satisfying sigh. So, arrange your workspace in a way to clear your mind for increasing productivity at work.
Finding your productivity peaks
To be more productive, you need to know your productivity hours, which hours of the day are best for your productivity, so you can adjust your habits accordingly. Here’s how:
1. Tap into your Ultradian rhythms
The fact to acknowledge is that our body doesn’t always work at constant energy levels. And once we learn to harness our energy level, we can become productive throughout the day. Therefore, ultradian rhythms play out a major role in finding the productive hours of the day by optimizing our internal body clock for well-being.
According to ultradian rhythm, human body goes through 90-120 minutes of an up cycle when the energy is surging followed by 20 minutes phase when the energy dissipates, corresponding to different energy levels at different types. And, similarly at night these cycles follow different stages like alertness, light etc. Those who ignore these cycles by working continuously throughout the day, they face a steep downfall in productivity. So, the goal is make the most of the 90 minutes and do our most important tasks, work with your body to get far more done, followed by a 20 minutes rest which is the period of fatigue and ultimately increase your productivity at work.
You can use this cycle to increase productivity at work by breaking your large projects into smaller tasks, and when you know you have completed a cycle of 90 minutes and break is just around you, then keep yourself away from the difficult stuff and keep it for the next cycle. If you try to work outside your productive zone of cycle, being fruitful will be difficult.
2. Identify your interruptions and distractions
Combating with the distractions around you is one of the sure shot ways to increase productivity. By ‘distractions’ we mean something that is preventing you from concentrating on the work at hand. The influence of distractions can be so strong to derail your productivity. Clearly defining the distractions, it includes: negative circumstances, negative thoughts, and negative people. Your productivity zone shut out the distractions that cripple concentration. Some distractions are planned, while some are unplanned.
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Planned distractions are always totally under your influence as you allow them to reach you and unplanned distractions will affect you the most. Determine the time of the day when you encounter unplanned distractions due to people, due to internet, unwanted notifications, email and other circumstances. Break your productive zone to make way for things what really matters. Of course, you cannot totally eliminate the distractions but you can surely adjust your activities according to your productive zones.
3. Make a journal
One of the most helpful pieces of advice to define your productive hours is simply scheduling your hours by making a journal. Those hours of the day when we get “in the zone” quickly should be taken as an advantage. In your journal, schedule your journals, your to-dos, jot down what motivated you and what are your roadblocks. Make a note of tasks that seems particularly challenging and then schedule in your productive zone. Organize your days around your energy, not your time.
1. Start tracking how you spend your most favorite day of the week
2. Figure out what is messing with your energy for the day
3. Keep record of your accomplishments
4. Rate your energy level every day
5. Experiment with your productivity daily
Find your sweet spot to have a reliable insight on your productive zones.
4. Do the right work at the right time
Productivity is a lot more about mind management than we think so. Our mind works differently at different levels, and not all work is equal. And how do you find the right work for the right time?
At times, when you are in good mind state, you will be more energetic to brainstorm a good plan and at other times, some kind of work may completely drain you mentally. Other types of work might be energizing and exciting. So, do the most demanding tasks during your high energy peak. As Brian Tracy explains in Eat that Frog, getting your biggest, most important task completed in the early part of the day will keep you away from procrastination. The sense of completion in our brain will fuel further productive work.
5. Be creative with your schedule
Every once in a while, we are forced to drop everything as we are interrupted with a mess that blocks our creative flow. Within your 24 hour day, schedule your work in a way that you are creative enough to squeeze out the elements of productivity. Map out your day hour-by-hour , confront your limitations, then discover your best time. Don’t wait around for creativity to strike you. By purpose, be creative.
Finally, when it comes to reaching peak productivity, be free to have fun. Productivity is a strategy that allows you to enjoy life and how to be more productive at work, and the only way that you’ll enjoy the productive life is if you’re being truly productive. Do both with passion.