Tag Archives: time management

Personal rhythm

Every person has their own rhythm; sleep, energy, hormonal cycles, digestion, that greatly influences performance.  Most writers I know write in the wee hours of morning or late at night when all is quiet and there are no interruptions, many athletes prefer to train in the morning. Some people are full of energy in the evenings and some in the mornings. Daily life schedule is usually fixed, no matter how our rhythms look, and this can sometimes become an enormous stressor.

Many people experience sleeping-problems; they can’t fall asleep in the evening, wake up at strange times, are tired upon waking in the morning… Often it is related to their specific sleep-patterns or rhythms. The same goes for our “daily cycles”; our energy moves in waves and at certain times during the day we have “dips” when we feel tired or un-focused. Over time this can lead to tension and stress.

Most people aren’t even aware of their own patterns, they fight a loosing battle trying to fit into a schedule of work, over time getting depleted and stressed. By learning our patterns or rhythms, we can enhance our performance by time-management and scheduling. So how do we learn our patterns?

Keep a diary for 1-4 weeks where you note your findings:

  • Sleep: When do you get tired in the evening? When do you feel comfortable getting up? How many hours do you need to sleep?
  • “Dips”: Pay attention to when this happens during the day and how often. Note the time.
  • Digestion: How do you feel comfortable with eating? What time? How many times? How much? How long does it take you to digest?
  • Hormones (more obvious for women): Menstrual cycles; how do they affect your performance?

After a certain amount of time, you will notice a pattern in your diary; this would be your basic energy-rhythm. By knowing your pattern you can also fit it with the life you are living. You need to teach yourself to function optimally.

Balance your sleep:

  • Energetic in the evenings, tired in the morning? Do something; take a walk or exercise, prepare for the next day so morning flows easy (get your clothes out, clean the kitchen, pack your bag). Then go to bed. Keep your room dark and cool. Maybe a calming tea or a bath will help.
  • Tired in the evenings, energetic in the morning? Get to bed earlier and get up earlier. Do your exercise in the morning, your daily preparation as well.
  • Waking up in the night at the same hour? When this is caused by stress it is usually very negative; worry, angst, a sense of doom and extremely black thoughts. Then stress-management is a must. If it is “only” waking up it could be that you have left your deep sleep and moved into dream time. Stay relaxed, breath deeply and stay with your dream. Research shows that to remember a dream, we need to wake up after it and stay awake 1-3 minutes, whis means that we wake up many times during the night without being aware of it, usually we just fall asleep again.
  • When you constantly feel exhausted after a nights sleep there is usually stress involved; your brain is not resting and you probably have problems accessing your deep sleep state. Stress-management is needed.
  • Heavy or large meals, alcohol, sugars and black/green tea/ coffee in the evening will influence your sleep negatively.

“Dips”: When you have found the rhythm, use the “dip-time” for de-stress by taking a break, a few minutes is usually enough: Drink water (not coffee), move around a bit, do some deep breathing. A friend of mine goes running or walking in the stairs… whatever suits you. Just move!

Digestion:

  • When do you need your main meal? Morning, noon, afternoon? This is different for everybody.
  • How do you react on what you eat? Maybe you need to change your eating habits? The body needs more time to digest a heavy meal such as steak, pasta, greasy food. If you feel heavy and tired after eating, chances are that you are eating the wrong stuff. Always move after meals; take a walk.
  • How often do you need sustenance such as a fruit? (NOT sugary stuff)

Hormones:

Ladies, we are NOT slaves under our hormones!!!

  • PMS: irritation, anger? Get fish-oil capsules. Use breathing techniques, balancing essential oils, exercise.

We are made for physical movement; to optimize our performance we need to move many times during the day. This will balance hormones, sleep, digestion, mental clarity and moods. MOVE MOVE MOVE!!!

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TIME MANAGEMENT

Salvador Dali; persistence of time

Time is not always the same, time is not linear: When you are totally stressed out, time shrinks and no matter how you run, you never catch up.  When you are relaxed, on the other hand, time stretches and no matter how leisurely you move, you are always ahead. This is actually true, and we have all experienced that. Most of the time that we lose is in the  “cracks” of our schedules, between the actions; going places or by “saving” time. Read Michael Endes book “Momo” – in it the “time-savers” are hassling everybody to save time in their bank, their idea catches on and before you know it nobody is playing, singing, making love or just hanging out, because they are saving this time for the future…

If you seem to always run out of time, always be a bit late, never have time to finish tasks or just plain no time for yourself….you are seriously suffering from terrible time-management skills because there is always time to be had.

Scheduling, prioritizing and goal-setting are the three most important factors:

  • Scheduling: Each evening, go over the day and look at how you could improve the timing. Go over the next day and pencil it into your agenda. Once a week go over your whole week in the same way. Try pinpointing where you lost your time; interruptions? Small crisis? A child needing a ride? Illness? Fatigue? Traffic? and look at how you can solve these things. “Surprise” happenings can be very disruptive if you have not allowed for such happenings in your planning. Everything goes into your schedule, even your private time, because if you don’t put it in there, it’s not going to happen! And be realistic about timing.
  • Prioritizing: When you schedule, you also need to prioritize; what is most important? Each task that hits your life needs to be prioritized and managed, if not you’ll end up losing time on inconsequential tasks that led nowhere. Prioritizing yourself might have the highest importance sometimes. You are only as good as you can be; exhausted, ill and depressed you are of no use to anybody.
  • Goal-setting: You really need to know where you are going before you can plan your strategy: prioritization depends on your goal; if your goal is to sell your house , then cleaning it and making it look nice is your priority. If your goal is to master a new skill, then this is priority, if you have a project at work that has a short dead-line, this is your priority. If you are ill, getting well is priority. You always have to look at this angle or you will probably ending up doing things last-minute with less than good results.

This is where you start: Get a notebook that is small enough to carry around. In it you record every time you do something during the day, as in a schedule; time, action and how long it took. EVERYTHING! Do this for 2 weeks, then go over the notes and look at where you lose time; I bet it comes from bad organizing: Did you get gas on the way when you went shopping? Did you get all your shopping done in one go, or have you been running to the store to top up? Did you get up on time or did you snooze that extra little bit? Did you organize your bag in the evening or leave it til morning?….On and on. You will be flabbergasted at how much time you are throwing away on nothing.

Next step: Organize realistically and schedule: The ride to work takes 35 minutes, not 30. If you are driving; add another 10 min. for unforeseen happenings; if you get there early you have 10 extra minutes for a coffee or a head-start on your work. If you have a flat tire, you do have some extra time to handle it without panicking; and when you call in late,  you do that ahead of time – buys you plenty of good-will points.

Don’t ever be late: This is incredibly rude, nonchalant and disrespecting. You keep other people waiting (wasting their time) and you don’t look very serious, actually it looks like you have no control over your schedule – which is true. Be on time, or even a bit early; catch up on calls, read a paper…go over notes for the meeting…

Getting the picture? If you have questions, ideas, tips or want to know more; send me a comment.