Picture this. You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your computer, knowing that your next newsletter needs to go out but, the words just aren’t coming out. You think to yourself, “I just can’t do this right now.” Or, you might be looking at a spreadsheet with intentions of taking care of some bookkeeping but the numbers appear jumbled and you mutter to yourself, “My head hurts…Where’s the coffee?”
Sound familiar? We’ve all been there and while the advice of, “Work during your most productive hours!” is well-intentioned, it’s problematic because a lot of us aren’t even sure when we work most effectively. So, let’s start there. Here are a few steps to take in beginning to discover your prime hours for productivity.
Track your time and tasks
This can be as simple as jotting down on a piece of paper or you can also use a time tracking app. The key here is to identify everything you’re doing on a daily basis. Also, be sure to include the times when you get distracted (“What’s going on over on Facebook…”) Take note of how you felt during each task. Were you on a roll or did you have to muddle through? Again, the log doesn’t need to be anything extensive or fancy – just enough for you to start recognizing patterns. It may also help to break down the type of task as creative or analytical.
Analyze and look for patterns
As you begin to track your time, you’ll begin to identify patterns such as how long you spent on a task, times when you got distracted, and the times of day when you were in the flow. If you also noted the type of task – creative or analytical – you might notice that certain times of the day are better for your creativity while other times are best for decision-making and other analytical tasks. As you analyze your findings, you can start to make adjustments in your workday such as working on creative projects in the morning while leaving administrative tasks until the afternoon or early evening.
Reflect on the past
In addition to your task log, take some time to think back to other periods in your life. Were you always the student who was ready to go at 8am while others fell asleep at their desk? Or, did you get your best work done staying up until 3am? In looking at your past behavioral patterns, you may discover some key information about your chronotype and identifying the various stages of your day.
Ask for feedback
If you work with a team, ask co-workers, your employees, or a manager if they have any insight into your best working time. If you’re self-employed, ask a mentor, accountability partner, or someone close enough to you that might notice what time of the day when you seem most alert and productive. Seeking an outside perspective can reveal some valuable insights.
If you’re just beginning your journey as a self-employed yoga teacher you may find that finding time for everything you need and want to do is one of your greatest challenges. Rest assured that even the most experienced teachers experience this but hopefully these steps will provide some practical information to apply to your tasks and workday.
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