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When to work: How to optimize your daily schedule for energy, motivation, and focus

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https://blog.rescuetime.com/when-to-work-productivity-curves/

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When to work: How to optimize your daily schedule for energy, motivation, and focus
How many times have you started a day on a motivational high, only to hit the dreaded 2pm crash and never recover? Not all hours of the working day are equal. And unless you're some sort of productivity super-being, you more than likely end up riding a rollercoaster of motivation, energy, and focus as the day progresses.

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Personal Productivity Curves

A lot of the internal things that affect our productivity are out of our control. Our energy, focus, and motivation follow their own path or “productivity curve” throughout the day. 

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Energy curves

We’re naturally more energetic and motivated at specific times of the day. Researchers call this our Circadian Rhythm. Every person’s rhythm is slightly different, but the majority follow a si...

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90 Minute Cycles

We work best in natural cycles of 90-120 minute sessions before needing a break. When we need a break, our bodies send us signals, such as becoming hungry, sleepy, fidgeting, or losing focus.

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Stress curves

Studies have found we’re actually more effective when we’re stressed. Up to a point.

The right amount of stress at the right time can make us more productive. This requires awareness of your ...

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Communication curves

There’s a simple curve to how email usage affects our productivity. No email = OK productivity. But as we start to use more email, we become more productive thanks to more access to information and...

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When to work

How to design the perfect day based on your productivity curves.

  • Discover your daily energy/motivation curve. 
  • See when you’re hitting your communication threshold...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Time blocking

Time blocking

It's the practice of planning out every moment of your day in advance and dedicating specific time “blocks” for certain tasks and responsibilities.

When you fill your c...

Time blocking and focus

By scheduling every minute of your day you not only guard against distraction but also multiply your focus.

Also, focusing on one task at a time can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks.

Cons of the time blocking practice

  • It takes a lot of time and effort.
  • Few of us (if any) have the same schedule every day.
  • We’re bad at estimating how long tasks will take to do.
  • Constant interruptions and “urgent” tasks can destroy your system.
  • Flexibility is key in most workplaces.
  • You can lose sight of the bigger picture if you focus just on each day.

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Schedule Flow Time

A good general rule of thumb is blocking out one-to-two-hour chunks of time in your calendar for uninterrupted work.

You have to stay committed to getting into the rhythm. It’s critical to ig...

Timeboxing

Timeboxing is allocating a pre-determined amount of time to finish a given activity. It encourages you to find more efficient ways to finish tasks.

Know When To Disconnect

Recognize when you need to take a break and continue later on when you can be more effective. Signs that you need to take a break are:

  • Struggling to focus continually.
  • If you’re making a lot of little mistakes.
  • When you’re feeling agitated or stressed.
  • If your eyes are hurting.
  • When you feel tired.

Regardless of how you’re feeling, you should take a quick break every 90 minutes or two hours.

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There is no perfect method for everyone

There is no "one size fits all schedule" for maximum productivity.

Because we all have particular strengths and weaknesses when it comes to time management and productivity, what works...

The Time Blocking Method

It involves planning out your day in advance and dedicating specific hours to accomplish specific tasks. 

It’s important to block out both proactive blocks (when you focus on important tasks) and reactive blocks (when you allow time for requests and interruptions).

The Most Important Task Method (MIT)

Instead of writing a big to-do list and trying to get it all done, determine the 1-3 tasks that are absolutely essential and then focus on those tasks during the day. 

You don’t do anything else until you’ve completed the three essential tasks.

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