Understanding Sleep Cycles and Time Management can improve your Productivity

Some people say they don’t need very much sleep.  Recently a super sleep gene was found.  Only about 5% of people have it.  It allows their body to cycle through the REM and non REM sleep cycles more quickly so the person feels more rested in a shorter amount of time. Unfortunately about 30% of people report only needing 4 hours of sleep a night.  So about 25% of those people would benefit from more sleep. Harold Taylor is a time management expert.  He publishes a newsletter, Taylor Time Newsletter.  The August edition has a great article on sleep and time management.

BY Harold Taylor Work Smarter is more about Timing then Technology

When we sleep, we do so in approximately 90-minute cycles throughout the night, each cycle consisting of five stages – four stages of non-REM sleep (about 75% to 80% of our sleep time) and one stage of REM sleep (about 20% to 25% of our sleep time.)

The first REM stage begins about 90 minutes into our sleep and then the cycle begins again about every 90 minutes until we wake up.

What most people don’t realize is that these 90-minute “sleep cycles” run through the entire day. We obviously don’t sleep during the day if we have slept sufficiently during the night, but the cycles become waves of high and low energy and are referred to as ultradian rhythms.  Our internal clocks are critical to our personal performance as well as our health and well-being. Our body has many internal “clocks,” each operating independently but in constant communication with one another.

In a few of my books and articles and all of my seminars, I talk about scheduling projects in 90 minute segments. (See “The 90-minute Rule of Scheduling” in chapter 6 of my eBook, Time to be Productive CLICK HERE for a free copy)

I have always known that I was more productive working in sixty or ninety-minute chunks of time, and I suggested all kinds of reasons for it – such as it was the maximum amount of time I could work without having to be interrupted or even interrupting myself. But I never knew until recently that ultradian waves of high and low alertness had actually been identified. One study of young violinists back in 1993 revealed that the best violinists all practiced the same way – in the morning in three segments of no more than 90 minutes with a break between each segment. The same thing was noticed among other musicians as well as athletes, chess players and writers.

I recommend that people find their high energy time in the morning and start working on their top priority items for about 90 minutes. Then take a break of about 15 or 20 minutes before starting the next task. Following the second 90-minute work session there should be a break of at least an hour before resuming. (This could be lunch and a brief walk.) It will take time to get into the right pattern. You have to listen to your body to determine the best start time and the actual duration of your high-alertness cycle.

You don’t necessarily have to take a coffee break, go for a walk or do stretches during your breaks as long as you switch to a different type of task. There are three basic types of activity – mental, physical and emotional. If you have been working on a mental task requiring intense concentration such as writing a business proposal, a switch to cleaning your work area, filing or checking messages on Twitter or Facebook for twenty minutes might be just as relaxing to the mind as a twenty minute chat at the coffee centre.

The problem is that people have been fighting their natural body rhythms by feeding it coffee and other stimulants, and therefore developing inefficient working habits. They have likewise short-circuited their natural sleep cycles with late nights, artificial lighting and stimulating electronics.

Contact http://www.taylorintime.com to subscribe to his newsletter

 


Paper or Electronic To Do Lists?

People have tried to find electronic solutions for most things that used to be done by paper.  However would a paper To Do list work better for you than an electronic one?  Here is a thought provoking blog post on the topic.  Which every system works best for you you must check your list. People will make lists but not look at them.  Use a system that keeps your to do list on your mind.http://timemanagementninja.com/2014/07/why-the-old-school-paper-to-do-list-is-superior-as-a-productivity-tool-how-to-make-it-work-for-you-in-under-5-minutes/

paper or electronic To Do lists?

Are Apps the best way to make a To Do list?

Paper to do list

Would you switch back to a paper and pen To Do List?


Manage Technology Before it Manages You

By Harold Taylor

Harold Taylor is a time management expert.  He has published over 17 books and presented over 2000 seminars.

Smartphones are only as smart as their owner

When should you put it down?

An online poll of over 1000 Canadian adults released last Saturday by Angus Reid/Vision Critical (Toronto Star, January 26, 2013) revealed that 90% of the respondents believed their smartphones made their lives more convenient. So convenient, evidently, that 30% of them went online before getting out of bed, 31% at the dinner table, 29% in the washroom and 42% before falling asleep at night,

Smartphones may be smart, but they lack intelligence. Why are we so willing to be at the beck and call of an idiot? The Internet leads anywhere, which for the undisciplined means nowhere. Why browse away the hours? Email, computer games and social media are endless, but our time is not. Why do we behave as though we will live live forever?

Research shows that the Internet and digital technology can have a negative impact on our ability to learn, focus, pay attention, memorize and relate to others on a personal basis. It also gobbles up our time, encourages busyness and multitasking and stifles creativity.

The futures of our business, personal lives, and our nations do not depend on the development of technology, but on our ability to manage the technology we develop.


Top 10 Productivity Time Killers

Guest blogger – Carolyn Shannon

Carolyn Shannon is my guest blogger today.  Her business Venting Creatively.com helps people find creative ways to shine a light on their lives from a different view.  She runs a monthly networking group BEE Niagara.com and publishes Women of Worth magazine.

Top 10 Productivity Time Killers

Everyday countless hours are wasted away due to non-productive activities. Time is money, so when distractions and procrastination sets in profitability will decline. A survey conducted by OfficeTime.net has revealed 10 of the biggest time killers. The main offenders that reduce of our productivity are:

1. Emails

How much time do you spend surfing the web?

2. Surfing the net

3. Watching TV

4. Procrastination

5. Meetings

6. Non-business conversations

7. Commuting & travel time

8. Social networking

9. Cell Phones & texting

10. Dealing with red tape

Types of Time Wasting

There are many factors that lead to procrastination. There are a few broad categories that most time wasting falls into.

Is making a decision a time consuming task for you?

1. Indecision. Perfectionists will often struggle with indecision. Some things may never become perfect, and putting too much focus on perfection will mean too much time spent on one job. Splitting the work into smaller tasks is one way to deal with it more effectively.

2. Avoidance. A fear of being judged can be the main cause of procrastination. It could be fear of failure or even success. Neither of these are something to be ashamed of. Success should be celebrated, and failure is the best way or learning. Think less about what others may think and more on trying your best at the task on hand.

3. Thrill Seeking. This is when procrastination is justified because the worker likes the thrill of an approaching deadline. If this is the case it is best to move deadlines closer and set personal targets. This still gets you the thrill of working against the clock, while reducing procrastination.

watch your minutes

Time flies

How to Put an End to Time Killers

The first step to battling time killers is to understand and appreciate the amount of time that is being wasted. What is the value of all that lost time? Time wasters will directly affect your career advancement opportunities and reduce the amount of income you could have received.Tracking where your time is spent will allow for efficient time management. Don’t just rely on your memory to remember what you did during the day. Use a system so that you have a written record that can be looked over and analyzed. This could be as simple as creating a timetable on a piece of paper, or utilizing a computer program or app to record your daily activities. Cutting down on time killers is a good start, but there are other strategies that should be used to effectively manage your time:

1. Define your purpose. You need to know exactly what you want when starting on a task. Without a definite purpose you will lose focus.

2. Smart goal setting. Choose realistic and specific goals and targets. It should be measurable so you know when it has been completed.

3. Plan on a regular basis. As factors change, you plan should be adjusted to reflect the reality of the situation.

To truly beat time killers you need to work on your mindset & stick to your plan for the long-term.

Which type of Time Waster Are You?

1. Thrill Seekers feel they can procrastinate, as they enjoy the feeling of working against a deadline

Tip: constantly set and adjust deadlines so that you still get the adrenaline rush but are using your time more effectively than procrastinating

2. Avoiders prefer to procrastinate as a means to avoid being judged. Whether it is a success or a failure

Tip: Success is a good thing and nothing to be ashamed of. Failure is a way to learn and improve. Focus on doing the best job you can and not on what others think.

3. Indecisive people are often perfectionists but procrastinate to shift responsibility from themselves

Tip: Not everything has to be perfect so try to take small risks and use your intuition. Mistakes may mean you learn something new. Try to split the task up into more manageable parts.

Thank-you Carolyn www.BEENiagara.com   or www.womenofworthmagazine.com or Venting Creatively


My Favourite Time Management Technique

My favourite time management technique is to know when I will have a WiFi connection and when I won’t.  Yes, there are still times and places when I can’t get WiFi.  For those time I plan to have work with me to do when I am unconnected.  You might think, “when does that ever happen”, more often than you think:

What do you do when there is no connection?

When I  arrive early at a client’s home

When I arrive early to pick up someone

When the person I am pickup arrives late

When the client is late

When the distance between appointments and returning to the office will cause me to waste time commuting  so I find a quiet location  work instead of wasting my time driving.

I will have a book along to read or mail to open or start on my e-mail that I downloaded before I left for the call.  Sometimes I am reviewing a speech I am presenting, signing holiday cards, planning my week/ month or getting in my exercise by going for a walk.  Using these small expected or unexpected amounts of time well will make you more productive.  I learned this technique by trial and error.  I found myself sitting around waiting with nothing to do when my children were involved in activities.  I quickly realized that I was wasting a lot of time and needed to plan my “spare time” as well as my work time to be able to get everything accomplished without using my family time or free time to get things completed.


Have you been putting something off?

Here is an excerpt from a great article on why we procrastinate and tips on how to stop procrastinating.

“You know how it goes. One part of your brain says –

“Stop procrastinating. Just get on with it. Finish it!”

But then another part screams-

“But I don’t want to!”

It may not be anything major, but the task keeps niggling at the back of your mind. It can leave you feeling unsettled, slightly annoyed and stressed.

Here’s the thing: you can’t be fully at peace until you complete the task. Why? Because the Ziegarnik effect is in full swing. The Ziegarnik effect is the tendency we have to worry about something we have started and haven’t yet finished.

Global Warming Mindmap

How to stop procrastinating

But if you can just get it done, your brain will breathe a sigh of relief. You will feel lighter. Chances are you will have turbocharged energy levels too.”

 

Read the entire article at  http://learningfundamentals.com.au/blog/how-to-motivate-yourself-at-any-time/


Is your work environment keeping you from working?

Here is a short excerpt from an article by Harold Taylor

Change your  environment in some way to offset your natural inclination to avoid doing things you don’t like.

A cluttered desk

Is your work environment keeping you from working?

You could turn off your cellphone,disengage voicemail, turn off email alerts and close your office door at specific times while you work on your priority projects. Remove all clutter and other potential distractions from your immediate work area – including any in-baskets. Don’t have family photos or memorabilia in your line of sight. Face a blank wall, not a window or open doorway. Work on projects for 60 or 90 minutes at a time – maximum. If you find that’s too long to postpone urges to interrupt yourself, shorten the work sessions. You can always increase them gradually later. Between sessions you can check email, return phone calls and grab a coffee. Work in short sprints rather than attempt marathons. Research shows that it takes a lot of energy to practice willpower.

 

Do what you can to develop a work environment that makes it easier to resist the temptation of interrupting yourself or others, checking email constantly, grabbing for your smartphone whenever there’s a call or being distracted by other things.

To subscribe to his monthly  newsletter on Time Management go to http://www.taylorintime.com