1. Do your most creative tasks when you first wake up.

Most research indicates that the most creative time for people is in the morning.  But, such measurements are taken under controlled circumstances. That means their test subjects are going to bed, and getting up after eight hours sleep.  It’s the sleep that matters – not the time of day.  During sleep your brain processes information gathered during the day, rejects losers, and reinforces winners.  If you get a proper amount of sleep – seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep – you wake feeling refreshed and your brain is now active and at its creative peak.

This will be true if you are rising at 5 am, or if you get up at noon.  People who work middle or night shifts will find they are at their best after sleep – not at a particular time of day.  Now, you won’t be a raging ball of fire if you sleep badly, if you didn’t get enough sleep, if you are just changing sleep shifts, or if you are recovering from jet lag.  The rhythms the body uses can take some time to recover from a change.  However, as a general rule, you will be at your best after a good rest.

  1. Stop checking your social media every 20 seconds.

Every time you break your concentration it can take as long as a half hour to get back in focus.  Most of the time it will be between ten and fifteen minutes.  So, if you keep dropping the ball on what you really want to accomplish in order to look at a stranger’s cat video you not only wasted the three minutes looking at the cute fluff ball doing something precious, but at the least, the next ten to fifteen minutes as well.  So, if you’ve set yourself four hours of time to work on a specific project, you could lose as much as a half hour of that project time – for a cat video?

If you have a cell phone – go to airport mode, or better yet, turn it off completely.  If you are using a tablet or a PC of some kind, disconnect from the Internet for the allocated length of your project.   Windows 10 makes this very easy.

Better yet, set certain times to check your social media.  Put a timer to discipline yourself – let’s face it, Twitter and Facebook can eat up your life.  So discipline yourself to spend a limited amount of time on the endless hamster wheel of social media.

  1. Always try to do at least one thing every day that advances a project that is important to you.

One of the quickest ways to kill productivity is to end a day with lots done but none of it feeling important.  It makes it harder to start the next day.  We all like to go to bed feeling we accomplished something and that feeling can be seriously diminished if all the accomplishments you list were the priorities of others – not you.

It’s your life.  Accomplish something for yourself, or you’re not living it.  You’re only enduring it.

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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