LIVING MY LIFE IN 90 MINUTE SEGMENTS
AND DRAMATICALLY IMPROVING MY LIFE
(Let me make this clear: that this practice is not just for work, but for anything you want in life - including fun! It makes life better in anything you do!)
So, now, in my implementation practices "collection", I have the practice of living life in 90 minute segments. (Nothing new in concept - it is just that I am now actually using it instead of leaving it as something "I know", which is often perhaps said in a trite way, but definitely not in a useful way - and the evidence that I've not taken it seriously lies in my not having used it - before now.)
The procedure is simple:
Set a timer for 80 minutes, staying on task (writing down thoughts of what to do on
your daily planner in "notes" but not allowing diversions)
Do a 10 minute "break" (mental; physical movement: minimum of 1 minute of moving
leg up and touching it with my hand or elbow, 5 minute target; food, protein at least,
but healthy carb is good; renewal, rest, relaxation, meditate, close eyes); my revised
adjustment of this for me is to do no less than 100 of the leg up or squats so that I
If we sit a long time, we will live a shorter life, so we need to get up and move. (Maybe even have a "standing desk" for working while you are still in the 80 minutes.) See the book The End Of Illness, David Agus, where sitting and inflammation are the main causes of illness. As our energy declines during the day or in cycles, we have a diminishing "marginal" return on our time as we become less productive (i.e. our energy drops so we are less productive per unit of time).
We need to "renew" our energy and clear our brain. The ultradian (repeating cycles during the day) rhythms are 90 minutes.
The 90 minute segments as a commitment makes it clear not to stop for distractions and diversions, so that you keep your momentum going. This is not "hard", it is just
well-defined, which makes it easier. Any item you repeat and know you will do, becomes a habit that is effortless and automatic so that a new decision is not needed. And making new decisions all the time depletes one's willpower and higher thinking "tank".
It takes no more energy (actually takes less) than pissing away your time, but you get so many more benefits, including feeling better about yourself and your prospects in life. (Your confidence and good feelings about yourself and life increase as you experience actually managing to get things done, so that you are confident that you can create predictable results and, accordingly, a predictable future!) [Possible supplementary piece to read: The Science Of Life - Reliably Predicting And Causing Your Future.] It keeps my energy and momentum (and patience) going a bit longer, as I look at the timer and see that I will get a break in 38 more minutes, so I just go back into what I am doing - and forget about whatever the distraction was, which puts me back into a certain level of "flow".
The time limit "stops" me from going on and on in something, where the payoff is declining and sometimes even negative when I am "drifting". And I know I don't have to keep track of what time to end, so my mind can then forget about it, lowering anxiety and letting myself pay attention to other things.
And a bonus effect is that when I am rolling along and see that I have only, say, 20 minutes left, I tend to speed up to be able to finish what I am working on - and it feels effortless, but rewarding (and a little shot of dopamine).
If I notice my energy is flagging or my legs are getting tight from sitting, I get up and move at my desk, but I am sure not to lose my train of thought - then I sit down and continue my work (or pop up my stand up desk if I can use that computer for the task).
ALLOWS YOUR DAY TO BE PLANNED IN 90 MINUTE BLOCKS
Obviously not everything is in 90 minute blocks, so you may have to schedule several blocks to get bigger projects done, with each block being a discrete "task" or tasks.
If you have lots of cleaning up or organizing tasks that take 5 or 10 minutes, put a bunch of tasks (and pre-list them in the order to do them, so you have no decisions to make) together into an 80 minute block (which, with the 10 minute break, completes the 90 minutes).
This has proven to have another effect: when I do my fun, creative, inspiration, free flow times I will tend to drift, while my positive benefits diminish - so it creates an end time, to alert me to move on to something else that is of higher enjoyment, and not let myself languish into stuporland.
(Some events "work" for different time segments, up to 3 hours for the right get-together, but no longer! So it is of the same ilk, but adjusted to fit the period that works in a particular area. )
MY 90 MINUTE "PACKAGES" OF SMALLER TASKS
(I name some of these and pre-package some of them.)
1. Clean up messes (need a system for alot of this: see "A Place For Everything")
Organize my notes so they are accessible and/or have a reminder tickler.
Clear and organize my desk
Organize emails and quickie things to post or tickle (or drop)
Catch up on calls or little things I would put off
2. Fun, creativity package
Coffee shop, read interesting book - 60 minutes
3. Start the day package
Coffee, banana, egg, quick email sort. 30 minutes max
Exercise and read at the same time. 45 minutes
(I do this package unless unless a super motivated writing idea has me really
energized and in gear. Then I go back to do the exercise asap, as it is a break for
me that is energizing for the rest of the day.)
4. Inspiration, creative thought package
Watch TED.com, YouTube subscriptions or Watch Later, or read an interesting
book. Set time for 90 minutes or a shorter target, but not let it go on and on.
5. Reenergizing package (for when I hit a daily circadian rhythm low and my energizer
doesn't seem to work that well)
Nap (20 minutes seems to be best for me)
Mass muscle movement and/or disc of aerobics
6. Barnes And Noble browsing
Review books of interest, small snack, coffee - Stop before 90 minutes, as my