I had to do something as I was finding myself doing a lot of “busy work” and not getting anything really productive done. This new workday structure works like a charm and puts the focus back into my work goals and projects. Give it a try and see what you think?
1. Work in 90 Minute Intervals I started breaking my day up into 90 minutes “work” sessions, three or maybe four in a day-with a period of downtime in between. It’s a radical shift. I’m not doing one long shift in the morning and then another in the afternoon. I’m doing four short ones. And why? Because it’s been shown you can do more, be more focused and create better stuff if you focus intensely and then stop. (This newsletter is taking me about 90 minutes to write. Then I’m off for a quick walk with the dog)
2. Get Enough Sleep Here are the brutal facts. We’re nearly all sleep-deprived and it’s costing us. Sure, you say… but I get along just fine on 6 hours sleep a night (or less). Wrong, I say in reply. Not only do lab tests show that people who are getting less than the 7 plus hours of sleep a night they need under-perform, there are studies that indicate the difference between very good and excellent corresponds with getting more sleep: “Great performers … work more intensely than most of us do but also recover more deeply.” Yes, if you want to excel, sleep!
2.5. Get more sleep Day-time napping is encouraged. A 15-20 minute nap in the afternoon significantly increases your ability to deliver for the rest of the day. Love that. (of course, only if you are in an environment that is conducive to a nap!-but if your not, the next best thing is to take a 15 minute walking break, either around the building or the block)
3. Keep moving Use your environment to help keep you changing your focus and your energy. This is one of the biggest changes I made and Wow! What a difference! Shape your space so you can behave the way you want to behave. And because there are different ways you want to behave, you need a range of different spaces in which to do your work. Think about the work you do. How can you arrange your space to accommodate the different tasks you do that gets you away from spending every moment at the same desk in front of the same computer?
For me I have different stations around the house. I may do follow up phone calls with people out by my pool (or in another room of the house if it’s too hot outside), I take my laptop to a coffee shop to do some online marketing, I sit at the dining room table to brainstorm a new article, and I go to my living room (and my books) for inspiration when I feel stuck.
If you are in a workplace, take a project to the library or to the park bench outside. You get the drift. Bottom line: don’t spend every moment at the same desk in front of the same computer, pausing only to go into the same meeting rooms.
4. Make Your “Downtime” Enjoyable During your downtime (between the 90 minute shifts), do whatever moves you for 15-30 minutes. It might be a nap, a walk, or a phone call to a friend. You might read, do some EFT, meditate, write in your journal, say your affirmations, drum, draw or paint. You will get into your own rhythm of what makes sense to you at the time.
Whatever you do, don’t feel guilty! This is an important part of this "productivity" process and gets your creative juices going so that when you get back into “work” mode, you are fully there. Give this new structure a try for a few weeks and let me know how it works for you! I'd love to hear from you!
Namaste, Dr. Deb
Debra Betterly, PhD is an Integrative Wellness & Life Coach and Metaphysician whose passion is to help women in midlife master their body, mind and spirit.
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