MAKE A BREAK LIST

Each day, alongside your list of tasks to complete, meetings to attend, and deadlines to hit, make a list of the breaks you’re going to take.

Start by trying three breaks per day. List when you’re going to take those breaks, how long they’re going to last, and what you’re going to do in each. Even better, put the breaks into your phone or computer calendar so one of those annoying pings will remind you. Remember: What gets scheduled gets done.

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When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

by Daniel H. Pink

MORE IDEAS FROM THE BOOK

TAKE A PERFECT NAP
  1. Find your afternoon through time: Around 2-3 pm (after ~7 hours of waking up).
  2. Create a peaceful environment: Turn off notifications, dim the lights, etc.
  3. Down a cup of coffee: The most efficient nap is the nappuccino. The caffeine won’t fully engage in your bloodstream for about twenty-five minutes, so drink up right before you lie down.
  4. Set a timer on your phone for twenty-five minutes: Most important - not more than 25 minutes!
  5. Repeat consistently

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PAUSE LIKE A PRO

A psychologist who studies extraordinary performers, Ericsson found that elite performers have something in common: They’re really good at taking breaks.

In Ericsson’s study, one factor that distinguished the best from the rest is that they took complete breaks during the afternoon (many even napped as part of their routine), whereas non-experts were less rigorous about pauses.

They practice with intense focus for forty-five- to ninety-minute bursts, then take meaningful restorative breaks.

You can do the same. Pause like a pro and you might become one.

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WHEN TO EXERCISE
  • Lose weight: Morning exercise (after waking up) may burn 20 percent more fat than later, post-food workouts.
  • Boost mood: Cardio workouts—swimming, running, even walking the dog— do it in the evening, you’ll end up sleeping through some of the good feelings.
  • Keep to your routine: if you find yourself struggling to stick with a plan, morning exercise, especially if you enlist a regular partner, can help you form a habit.
  • Build strength: Our physiology changes throughout the day. If you’re doing weight training, schedule your workout for those early-morning hours.

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FOUR TIPS FOR A BETTER MORNING
  1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up.
  2. Don’t drink coffee immediately after you wake up.
  3. Soak up the morning sun.
  4. Schedule talk therapy, appointments for the morning.

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IF YOU DON’T HAVE CONTROL OVER YOUR DAILY SCHEDULE
  1.  Be aware: Simply knowing that you’re operating at a suboptimal time can be helpful because you can correct for your chronotype in small but powerful ways.
  2. Work the margins: Even if you can’t control the big things, you might still be able to shape the little things. If you’re a lark or a third bird and happen to have a free hour in the morning, don’t fritter it away on e-mail. Spend those sixty minutes doing your most important work. Try managing up, too. 

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FIGURE OUT YOUR DAILY WHEN

3 step process -

  1. Determine your chronotype: Lark( morning type), Owl (night type), or Third bird (in between)
  2. Determine what you need to do. Does it involve heads-down analysis or head-in-the-sky insight? Or are you trying to make a decision?
  3. Look at this chart to figure out the optimal time of day

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DANIEL H. PINK

“The best endings don’t leave us happy. Instead, they produce something richer—a rush of unexpected insight, a fleeting moment of transcendence, the possibility that by discarding what we wanted we’ve gotten what we need.”

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DANIEL H. PINK

“Breaks are not a sign of sloth but a sign of strength”

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ORSON WELLES

"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story. "

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Daniel H. Pink

“Timing isn't everything but it's a big thing”

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  1. If you are the default choice, don’t go first.
  2. If there are many competitors (not necessarily strong ones, just a large number of them), going later can confer a small advantage, and going last can confer a huge one.
  3. If you’re operating in an uncertain environment, not being first can work to your benefit.
  4.  If the competition is meager, going toward the end can give you an edge by highlighting your differences.

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  1. If you’re on a ballot (county commissioner, prom queen, the Oscars)
  2. If you’re not the default choice
  3. If there are relatively few competitors (say, five or fewer) - for the advantage of the “primacy effect”
  4. If you’re interviewing for a job and you’re up against several strong candidates, you might gain an edge from being first.

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RELATED IDEAS

Cal Newport on better managing time
  • To-Do lists are useless. Schedule everything.
  • Assume you’re going home at 5:30, then plan your day backwards.
  • Make a plan for the entire week
  • Do very few things, but be awesome at them.
  • Less shallow work, focus on the deep stuff.

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How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done

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The process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. 

The psychological frame in which an appeal is first placed can carry equal or even greater weight.

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Pre-Suasion

Pre-Suasion

by Robert Cialdini

The Morning Ritual
  • You need to wake up before the insanity starts. Before your goals for the day have competition.
  • The second part of your morning ritual is about mood. That feeling of control is what produces grit and makes people persist.

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Here's The Schedule Very Successful People Follow Every Day - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

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