Chapter 14. Setting the right intervals
The best way to predict your future is to create it. ― Abraham Lincoln
You need to have uninterrupted periods
of time to be most effective.
The more important the tasks,
the more time you need to set aside time to process them.
You need a minimum of 60 to 90 minutes to be able
to do anything of value.
You need about 30 minutes
just to focus your mind on a complex task
such as preparing a proposal,
report or even planning an important project.
Once you’re in tune with your work,
you can focus your mind with high awareness
and creativity for the next 60 minutes
or so to work as focused and serious as possible.
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible. — Tony Robbins
Don’t confuse creative work with administrative work
You cannot mix creative tasks
with functional or administrative tasks.
You cannot do operational
and creative tasks at the same time.
Each type requires fast or slow thinking
but not both at the same time.
Office jobs require quick
and short-term thinking,
while creative jobs require thinking,
planning and execution.
Think of creative work time
as your “inward golden period”
and active work time as your “extrovert golden period”.
Don’t confuse them.
You can’t do major creative work
that requires concentration in a typical office environment
unless you put up a do not disturb sign on the door.
Otherwise, you’ll have to be creative in finding ways
to get out of the annoying work environment
and complete the tasks that are crucial to your career.
“If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” — Aysa Angel
How to set the right time intervals
Here are a few pointers to help you set the right time intervals
and dramatically increase your effectiveness.
First, work in the morning
when you are most refreshed and alert.
Most of the most productive people follow the rule
of going to bed early
and getting up at 5 or 6 a.m,
so they can work for 60 to 90 uninterrupted minutes
before heading to the office.
So even if you come to the office a little later,
with that 90 minutes of continuous work
you will get the same results
as an average person working at the office for 3 hours.
Another time you can take advantage of is lunchtime.
This is a great opportunity to turn off your phone,
disconnect from the internet,
and eliminate other distractions
when everyone else is out for lunch.
You’ll have 60 minutes of uninterrupted quiet time
so you can focus on your work
and tackle the things that matter most to you.
Knowing is not enough;
we must apply.
Willing is not enough;
we must do. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Do not bother
Another tactic you can use is to close your office
at certain times each day to focus your mind
on the most important tasks.
Many leaders hang a do not disturb sign on the door.
Everyone knows that when this sign is there,
no one is allowed to disturb them except
in a really urgent case.
My financial manager,
a talented and skilled woman,
complains that she is overwhelmed
by constant interruptions while working.
As a result, she was unable
to complete her detailed accounting work
and submit the financial statements on time.
When I asked her to hang a do not disturb sign
outside her door
and work continuously
for 1 hour in the morning
and 1 hour in the afternoon
her work changed dramatically.
She told me that after only a few days,
she was able to fully concentrate on her work.
Not only that,
it turns out that no interruption is so important
that it can’t be put off
until another time.
“There are only two rules for being successful.
One, figure out exactly what you want to do,
and two, do it.” — Mario Cuomo
Take more time
This is another great technique
that almost every successful leader uses.
It’s so simple that I shouldn’t have revealed it to you.
Get up a little earlier
and get to the office an hour
before everyone else.
Use that time to organize your day
and get to work
before there’s any interruption.
Then work past lunchtime
and spend another productive hour in the afternoon.
Finally, stay an hour later after everyone has gone home
and take this time to wrap up the day
and complete your most important remaining tasks.
This is a great technique!
When you tailor your day in this way,
you’ll avoid traffic jams on your way to work
as well as on your way home.
Plus you get three more productive hours each day.
You will get many times more results
than people working regular hours.
With this tactic,
you can double your achievements
and bring positive changes to your career.
Remember that you are a potential genius.
One of the areas where you can show your creativity
is to set aside periods of time
that help you get more done
and move faster in your career.
“If a goal is worth having,
it’s worth blocking out the time in your day-to-day life necessary to achieve it.” — Jill Koenig