Friday, June 26, 2009

Tips & Tricks II

We can summarize the last post with the immortal words:
“If life gives you lemons – make lemonade”
And let’s continue the exploration of the work process…
Work can burn out negative energy but also can burn YOU out.
So it is essential to talk about “work management.”

First – get out a piece of paper and a pen.
Make out a list with two columns.
On the left column list all the physical work you have to do.
That might be gardening, fixing up or remodeling around your house, working on your car or any other manual hobbies you might have and of course sports or the gym work out.
(For good measure end the list with physical things you would like to do but are not currently doing.)

On the right column make a list of the mental or intellectual work you have to do.
Learning a new computer program, a foreign language, doing your taxes, working on your blog, creative or artistic hobbies, painting, writing, etc.
Also end the list with non physical things you would like to do in the future.

Now here is how you “layer” your work in order to prevent burn out and maximize your efficiency and productivity:

Always start the morning with the hardest mental task you have that day.
Work on it as hard as you can until you start loosing concentration and stamina.
Stop and switch to a physical chore.
Work on this as hard as you can.
The moment you start showing signs of fatigue stop, take a short shower and switch back to your mental task or to your next mental assignment on the list.

Keep on doing your work in this “layered” fashion until you are done with your list.
Make a new list for the next day :)

Note: This works well for students and self employed people.
If you are employed into a 9-5 job you are basically screwed – Your most productive hours of your life are taken by your employer :)
Never the less, you should still apply the “layering” technique to the reminder of your day work.

Always finish your day with a physical work task.
This is as important as not eating anything 4 hours before bed time.
It will ensure a good night sleep which in turn will ensure a good working next day.
Do not make the mistake I’ve done and go on the internet to relax before going to bed.
Most likely you will end up going to bed at 2 or 3 AM mentally exhausted.

If this ever happens to you do not go to bed, instead go into a power work out.
Something like high intensity cycling, weight lifting or aerobics.
Do not worry abut loosing sleep time, you will loose even more tossing and turning in your bed if you don’t do your work out!


Brigit said...

Buddha, I haven't visited your blog in while and have had quite a read to catch up. I love the posts I've just read. I need some grounding at the moment. I'm very much in my 'inspired phase' at the moment, and can see so much I can and should do, it all gets a bit muddy. Thanks for the clarity.

Aggie said...

I'm good at lists ... trouble is, I'm not so good at doing the chores written on them. Sigh! A cattle-prod might be of some assistance.

Talon said...

In the end, as it so often does, it comes down to balance. I have to say, though, that when you work hard and then have a rest it's an awesome feeling. You've earned it!

Oh, Buddha, I have a little award for you over at my blog.

Buddha said...

@ Brigit – Perfect timing.
We are in the middle of life changing stuff!

@ Aggie – Some carats might work also ;)

@ Talon – Congratulations on your blog award.
You truly deserve it!

Lydia said...

Layering! What an ingenious concept! I will try this. And, of course, you do realize that you were speaking directly to me when you mentioned the importance of not ending the day on the Internet. That has been my practice for over a year now and it's messing with my schedule.

Excellent food for thought.