Your 24 hours cycle is the most important aspect of your life. A lot can happen in 24 hours, as in this little story.
Jim was told by his doctor that he had 24 hours to live. His wife was upset, but with little time left, he asked is wife for sex and she agreed.
Later that day, having sorted other issues he asked his wife for sex again and it was lovely.
They went to bed and Jim was just about to set the alarm, when he remembered how little time he had left. So he asked his wife for sex one more time.
She turned to him with a sad look and said, “Jim, enough is enough. I have to get up in the morning, you don’t.”
Okay, so it was a bit of fun. They do say look after the pennies(1p) and the pounds(£) look after themselves. So,
“Look after the hours, and the weeks will take care of themselves“
Now I hope you never find yourself in Jim’s situation. There is a view that you should spend the day as though it was your last. This could be a big ask, if you try doing it everyday.
There are three good reasons why you should focus on your 24 hour cycle in order to be better with your time, and make it easier to improve your skills in this area.
1. Your body has its own natural 24 hours cycle. It is known as the Circadian Rhythm. Work with it and you thrive, work against and you dive.
2. Effective people master their 24 hours cycle.
3. You are in control of your 24 hours cycle, so it is the best place to start when looking improving your time skills.
Your body has it’s own 24 hours cycle (The Circadian Rhythm), and numerous studies have shown that ignoring this can have considerable impact on your current and your long term health. However, here we are more concerned on the impact is has on your daily cycle and effectiveness.
Ever wondered why you are at your best early in the morning, but your colleagues seem better later in the day. This is because our genes react with our Circadian Rhythm and we each have a different outcome. If you want to learn more about this, you might like to read this book as it was the source of information for the diagram above.
In the meantime, just be aware that this cycle controls the release of hormones and chemicals in your body. You may be better at some tasks at one time of day, rather than another time. The “Master Clock” in your brain releases melatonin which signals both a time of day and time of the year. Most of us are at our peak 2-4 hours after waking up. We feel tired after lunch because our blood is directed to our digestive system. Women have more chance of conceiving a baby at midday than midnight. Sports people perform better in the afternoon.
The better you are at understanding the cycle and how you react to it, the more chance you have of improving your effectiveness.
In Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” writes about true effectiveness being the balance of Production/ Productive Capacity.
He uses the example of the golden goose (p54).
If you do not look after the goose (the productive capacity), then, he writes, the golden eggs (production) will start to decline. You have to get the right balance of looking after both.
You are your “Productive Capacity” and you need to understand it and look after it.
Your capacity starts with your 24 hour cycle.
Your 24 Hours Maps
Although it may not seem it some days, you are in control of most of the 24 hours cycle. Therefore, you can make changes without needing the authority of your boss.
A lot of the time you are following routines or habits that you have generated. So by looking at these and making improvements where necessary we can improve your “production capacity” and hence effectiveness.
Your 24 hours cycle has just four routines:
Post Activity Time
The MAPS routines form the fundamental building blocks of your day. Looking at them, how you use them, how long they take, what you do in them is key. They will either give, or not give you, the time and energy to do the things you want to do.
Then you can move onto improving work capacity, the “Activity Time,” but this comes later on in the process.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Now having made all these points, how do you put this into action. Well, you could just start reviewing them yourself, but I would like to help you on your journey. I am keen to see how you get on. Your feedback helps me in this blog and to update my book on the Myth of Time Management, and its sequel, yet to be given a title, but something like the Path to Timelyness. Still that is later, this is what you can do now.
1. Sign up for my Monthly Newsletter to keep youself updated on other ways to improve your time skills.
2. When you have completed the activity, complete the Contact Form and I will send you the next step.
I look forward to hearing from you.
The 21st Century alternative to Time Management