- Michelle Cheyne
Changing Our View Of A Productive Day
The meaning of a productive day has changed a bit over the last few months. Suddenly a normal day involves a lot more than just making sure you get to do your bit. Especially for parents. Home learning, exercise and social skills are suddenly your responsibility, while the workload might still be the same. If there is one thing I hope this lockdown has taught us though is that a productive day is more than just ticking off the things on your 'to-do list'. It is finding the time for those around you. Most importantly looking after ourselves.
Self-care as Part of a Productive Day
The kids don't actually need 6 hours of tuition. You don't need to fulfil a 9-5 time-frame. Productivity is a funny thing. It doesn't actually keep hours. Yes, some do better in the mornings while others can work through the night. Therefore, finding your rhythm is imperative.
Part of integrating home and work as we are doing now, means that maybe routines would be set more around meal times and family times instead of the other way around.
Personally, I think we should really be looking at productivity. How many hours a day are you in fact being productive? Now that we've seen that we can adapt our businesses, how about adapting our approach to a work-life balance?
Just carrying on with life as normal is not going to help us transition through change. Well, hopefully, we as a collective can realise that we need change. Whatever theory you find viable or not, there needs to be a consensus that change needs to happen. It scares me when talking about 'when the lockdown ends...' As we are slowly moving out of lockdown, I hope we can change our views on productivity.
Is it not maybe time for us to look at productivity and the science behind it. Concepts like 'ultradian rhythm' should be something we are familiar with.
We refer to that 24-hour cycle as a “circadian day;” within that 24-hour circadian day, we cycle through periods of 90-minute blocks of productivity and heightened focus. Those blocks of premiere productivity time are known as “ultradian cycles,” and the manner in which we cycle in and out of them is called our “ultradian rhythm.”
As with running, we know that although sprints are very effective, unfortunately, you can't sprint through a race. As organisms, we need to appreciate the cyclical nature of our existence. Tapping into our full creativity and productivity means we need to find the rhythmic cycle.
According to the ultradian rhythm, our brains can focus for 90 to 120 minutes before it needs a break. Therefore dividing your work time into blocks of 90 minutes or less is ideal. Breaking up those 90 minutes into 30 minute intervals. Subsequently focusing for 25 minutes with a 5 minutes break.
Why Your Breaks are Important for a Productive Day
The important bit is the switching off bit. It's a bit of a yin and yang. To function best on the work bit, you have to be good and adamant about the switching off bit.
Digital strategist Tom Gibson said it best in a Medium post:
“We need to incorporate ‘off-time’–the outward breath, the ebb–into our working patterns. Not with simple lip-service like ‘you need to sleep better,’ but as an integral, affirmed part of the process of working…We need to understand that ‘on’ is impossible without ‘off,’ and that the distance between the two needs to be made closer: like the beats of a heart or the steps of a runner.” Tom Gibson
Therefore, to be the most productive version of yourself, make time for fun and laughter. Make sure to switch your phone off and take some time away from all the distractions.
About the Michelle
Michelle is a bit of a lifelong student. She has a BA (Psychology), BA Hon (Psychology) and a PGCE. She practised as a Psychometrist before starting, Instinctive Living. Currently, her focus is on providing virtual assistance to other businesses and helping others get their message out there. Although she still loves working in psychometrics, she also loves writing blogs and doing SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) on WordPress sites to help small businesses get their message out there.