The Best Productivity Management can only be achieved through Great Energy & Work-flow Management.
Following on the heels of last weeks post on The Best Time Management Tip Ever, I’d like to cover how you can effectively transform your current productivity through energy & work-flow management. This is my 3rd post in what will be a 4 part series, as each Wednesday of this month I delve deeper into specific aspects relating to Effectiveness.
I intend these posts to be beneficial to you on both a personal & professional nature, regardless of your seniority or responsibility within your current capacity.
Rhythm, natural cycles & sprints..
Many studies have now shown that our Circadian rhythm governing our Biological clock functions in performance cycles of 90 to 120 minutes. This is based on our Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep cycle, still active even whilst we’re not sleeping. It’s been shown that an average human brain can only effectively (at peak performance) concentrate on an intensive task for 90 to 120 minutes.
Consider that the next time you plan out your day. As a matter of fact, the next time you’re feeling blocked & unproductive, check your watch.. I’ll bet that you’ve been at it for more than 90 minutes. Take a quick break & do something completely unrelated for a few seconds or minutes.
Stop the interruptions..
That said, studies also show that on average it takes anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes from when you commence a task to reach peak concentration. Still with me? Now consider that common workplace studies conducted also show that on average our concentration is interrupted every 11 minutes.
Imagine that.. get ready.. start your task.. 6 minutes in we’re at peak performance.. now we’re buzzing along.. oh oh.. @ the 11th minute the phone rings, our colleague taps us on the shoulder, our boss wants to have a chat, that Skype/e-mail/Messenger alert goes off on our screen again. Back to ground zero!?!?
Multi-Tasking is a Myth
Women may do it better than us, which in essence means they are capable of simultaneously juggling 4 things achieving 80% effectiveness where men would only achieve 50% at best. Regardless, if your objective is to get it done right the first time, and at top quality, then it is scientifically proven that the human brain can only effectively focus 100% of it’s maximum energy on one task at a time.
The Importance of the Recovery Zone
Earlier in this post I talked about taking a break & momentarily doing an activity totally unassociated with the work-tasks you’re currently executing. This is also your coffee, smoke or lunch break. I will even go as far as promote the usage of a quick break to catch up on your Facebook activity for 5 to 10 minutes.
Whatever you choose, just choose an activity that is not related to the peak performance concentration period you’re suppose to be recovering from. Just like the in-between game or set brief breaks that a tennis player takes, a few seconds or minutes doing something completely different to reset your brain patterns before you get back to work will stimulate more peak performance.
The following short 4m screen-cast presentation quickly highlights the importance of the Recovery zone, as well as why we should purposefully build more quick breaks into our daily routine.
Does this makes sense? The above presentation was greatly influence by my review of Tony Schwatrz’s Google Talk as presented earlier this month. As a fellow human being you are NOT a machine, and therefore can NOT infinitely scale. So stop acting like one, or better yet, stop expecting others to do the same.
What can you do differently in what’s left of this week to start your new more effective patterns?