One of the most important tricks for maximizing your productivity involves matching your mental state to the task.

One of the most important tricks for maximizing your productivity involves matching your mental state to the task. – Scott Adams

If you aren't a morning person, what tasks can you do while working your way towards being a fully functioning human being? E-mail & Caffeine?

If you aren’t a morning person, what tasks can you do while working your way towards being a fully functioning human being? E-mail & Caffeine? When are you at your best?

What does that mean?
This is an interesting quote, as I realize I do this sometimes. On the days when everything goes well, I was using this technique.

Think about it. If you’ve got a lot of physical energy, does it make sense to try to sit down and type a blog post? If your mind is particularly sharp, it makes sense to do problem solving at that point, right?

On the other hand, the days which drag, and nothing useful happens are usually days when my energy or mental state isn’t in sync with my tasks.

So the quote is saying to us that if we want to get the most out of our day, we have to pay attention to how we are feeling, and adjust our day to match.

Why is observing ourselves important?  
How do we know what our mental state is, or how our energy is on that day? We can only observe ourselves, which isn’t always easy. How do you observe yourself from the inside? That might be difficult without a mirror for the outward aspects of our beings. Hair messy or neat? Easy to tell with a mirror, right?

Fortunately, since we’re interested in our mental state and our energy levels, we are in the best place possible. Could you imagine trying to measure those from the outside? Yes, people give clues about what their state of mind or energy level, but we (hopefully) know ourselves fairly well.

This involves introspection, and the examination of how we are at different times of the day. Are you slow to wake, and groggy for the first hour or two of the day? Would you want to schedule tasks which require quick and accurate thinking at that time? Or would that be a good time to sort the e-mail?

I think you get the idea. Knowing yourself and how your body and mind works is an important thing. Some are early risers, some are up all-nighters. We are best at different things at different times of the day. Working with the flow will get good results. Going against the flow, well, you can guess what you’ll get, right?

Where can I apply this in my life?
I think this could, and furthermore I believe it should, be applied to every aspect of our lives. Yes, sometimes we don’t control our schedule, and have to be up early or stay up late. Yet somehow we have to make it work. If we know ourselves, we can try to compensate. If we don’t, we’re not going to do well, are we?

We may not be morning people, or not be our sharpest at midnight. But sometimes, when doing business with customers overseas, you have to be flexible in your schedule. Knowing you won’t be at your best, what can you do to help prepare? Try to squeeze in a nap beforehand? Extra caffeine?

Let’s start with some of your major tasks. What do you have to do on an average day, or if you want, you can split it by weekday vs weekend. My wife doesn’t enjoy cooking a little at a time, so every other week or so she makes a large batch of something which we split into lunch-sized containers.

That is a task for the weekend, as it takes about two hours. But then it is done for two weeks, and I get to eat yummy home-made lunches for that time. She chooses the weekend for the time slot, but then tries to find a time when she is best suited for cooking. Usually that’s in the afternoon, when things have calmed down.

The point is to determine what you have to do, and roughly when. Is that a good time for you, typically? If not, what can you do to adjust. Grab some paper and make a list of the kinds of things you tend to do each day or week. Mark which you have some control over, and which are at fixed times.

Meetings with the boss, or dropping the kids off at school aren’t usually easy to move. Instead, think about what skills, attitudes, aptitudes, and mental states are needed to properly do these fixed tasks. What can you do to get yourself prepared at those times?

If dropping the kids off is a frantic mess, can you start a little earlier in the morning? Yes you might lose a half hour of sleep, but how much stress do you lose by not having the time pressure? Or perhaps it’s the kids who need to be up a half hour earlier, not you. That works for me!

In short, if you don’t know when you’re at your best for any specific task, how can you plan any of your day around those times? And if you don’t know yourself, how can you compensate for those times when you don’t have control over the time when things happen?

Know yourself, and it will be easier to be productive, and get the best possible results. It can’t hurt to try.

From: Twitter, @ilparone
confirmed at :…/how-to-fail-at-almost-everything-and-still-win-big…
Photo by AnnieAnniePancake

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