Another great week working with Rolls Royce. Thank you, Quality & HSE Executive Dr Ian Riggs, for booking me and for your wonderful comments regarding my Masterclass 1 and your interest in Masterclasses 2 and 3. It was such an excellent group to work with and great fun as well.
The venue was the stunning Duffield Bank House in Derbyshire owned by Rolls Royce. They even grow their own vegetables for lunch!
Where are your highest energy times?
Research has shown that if you are disturbed from focused attention on a particular task it can take up to 15 minutes to get back to a full flow state following that interruption. I work in 1-hour slots of uninterrupted focus then I have a short break and repeat. These focussed 1-hour slots achieve far more than a longer time with interruptions.
I also plan all my tough work for action during my high energy time. My high energy time (as most people’s) is between 6am and 1pm. I schedule all my difficult tasks during this period. For example, challenging phone or Teams calls, difficult meetings, complicated reports, sales calls etc.
By doing this I complete all the most important tasks for the day and by 1pm my day is in fact over. I can then work on lighter, more enjoyable tasks in the afternoon. This is simply a lovely way to work. You get the tough stuff out of the way then you can enjoy the rest of the day. Pain first then pleasure.
Take a break
I have also found that if I try to work through the day without a break, I start to fade at around 3-4pm and it is a real slog after that with very little of any significance being achieved.
If however I have a half hour break mid-afternoon where I usually watch TV and relax I then have the energy to work until 6.30pm with high quality output. The importance of rest and recovery cannot be overemphasized. The difference is quite staggering. If you can’t take long breaks in your work situation, then use shorter breaks more often.
Rest and Recovery
I discovered the power of rest and recovery as well as the power of working in my high energy times and since then, I have slowed down completely, and I achieve more than I ever did before. I have a lunch break and a mid-afternoon break. By resting more, I achieve more.
It doesn’t seem to make sense but once you discover this simple strategy life can be more enjoyable and less stressful. We often procrastinate over the difficult tasks we have in front of us, and we skirt around them ticking off the simple quick wins but earnestly avoiding those challenging tasks.
I tried to make calls in my low energy time
I had a particular time a few years ago when I needed to phone 200 colleges to find out who oversaw Human Resources so I could send out my information about my Mental Resilience Masterclasses. I had some very good success delivering my Masterclasses to staff at several local colleges with excellent feedback so it made sense to spread the word.
I was avoiding the task
As you can imagine I wasn’t looking forward to this task and I tried to put it off until the end of each day. So around 3pm I would pick up the phone and start calling. Within 15 minutes I was demotivated, fed up and tired so I would stop and try again the following day.
This carried on for around a week and I was getting nowhere. Then I discovered the power of scheduling tough tasks during high energy times, and I tried it the following day. This time I started calling at 10am and to my surprise I had energy to keep going.
Then it all changed
Each morning I scheduled from 10am to 12pm to make these calls and I finished in a few days. The difference was so staggering that I actually enjoyed the process with a great sense of achievement.
Since this experience I have used this technique for every challenging task I face, and the results have been amazing. I choose one of the difficult tasks and focus on that task until I complete it or get as far as I can with it. Then I have a mini break and choose another one and repeat the process.
It is important to focus on only one thing at a time without interruption. The sense of achievement is palpable, and this results in more energy to complete more tasks.
Thoughts for the week.
- When is your high energy time?
- If you haven’t identified this, then do so this week.
- Once you know when your highest energy time is, schedule all your difficult and important tasks during this time.
- Because you have higher energy during these times you will achieve more.
- Finally, schedule breaks during the day and observe the change in your energy levels.
Well, that’s it for this week, have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.