I spent most of August in Switzerland, in the Alps, not far from Davos and St Moritz. The break gave me the chance to indulge in one of my favourite activities: reading. While most of the books were completely unrelated to my work, one book stood out as having a useful message for my readers. It was called ‘The Power of Full Engagement’ by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwarz. I’ve read it before, but after a gruelling few months, the message hit me more strongly than before. You can find it in our bookshop here.
Jim and Tony’s thesis is that we need to manage our energy not our time. If you (like me) have ever spent ten hours in a row sitting in front of a computer with little to show for it, you may agree. For example, the authors suggested to a jaded writer that it would be more effective to spend three 90 minute sessions writing through the morning, rather than trying ‘the-ten-hour-sitting-in-front-of-the-computer’ marathon. So he started working from 6:30am to 8am followed by breakfast with his family. Then from 8:30 to 10am, he wrote again, followed by a walk. From 10:30 to 12 noon was his final slot of the day. His output doubled, despite cutting down the time spent writing to less than half.
You may say that, since you work from an office, it would be difficult to have these productive 90 minute focused spurts. However, if you could do twice as much, wouldn’t that be worth it? The authors suggest including rituals in your day until they turn into habits.
Since getting back from Switzerland, I’ve been trying a couple of new rituals. These include:
* Going for a walk or visiting the gym in my slow time (around 2-3pm in the afternoon) setting myself up for a good finish to the day.
* Making dinner at breakfast, using a slow cooker, so it is ready at the end of the day without needing any more work from anyone.
I haven’t yet tried the 6:30am start, but with less than two weeks to go to submission, I think that tomorrow would be a good day to try it out!