Often we find ourselves in lulls. Not that we don’t want to move fwd, we don’t feel like moving forward. We lack energy; we lack focus. We stop, we start, we call a friend. We tell ourselves we will get to it, knowing we have no intention of starting, let alone finishing. One way we can increase our productivity and maximize the timing for everything we do is to plan based on our natural rhythms. With this in mind, Mavens 101 self-awareness exercise is to find the best times to make, create, or accomplish whatever based on your body’s Ultradian Rhythms.
The idea of working with your daily cycles derive from the findings of sleep researcher Nathaniel Kleitman. Kleitman found that just as we have sleep cycles, i.e., REM, we also have wake cycles. These periods called Ultradian Rhythms, comprise 90 minutes of high function brain activity, followed by 20 minutes of low function brain activity.
I identified my 90 minutes of shine-when I am functioning at my highest level. So, I schedule accordingly. Also, I take advantage of my low function periods, meditating, going for a brisk walk, or writing notes. Those 20 minutes allow me to cycle back to high functioning Geneen, rested, and ready.
Find your shine times with this month’s self-awareness activity-The Mavens 101 Shine Tracker.
Set aside 1-2 days per week, for about a month, to track yourself. Make sure you are even keel while tracking. For example do not over do things the night before, get a good night’s sleep and don’t over-caffeinate. These self-controls will allow for results based on your rhythms, not those thrown off outside irregular activities.
April Self-Awareness Exercise
Day 1: Set alarm notifications in 90 minutes intervals followed by a 20-minute snooze period-from the time you wake up until bedtime. Use the chart below (during your 20-minute brain rest) to record self-observations:
What did you accomplish?
How much energy and focus did you have while working?
Day 2: Adjust your 90-minute intervals based on your previous findings. Specifically, look at your chart, note your first high functioning period of day 1, then start your 90-minute productivity tracking period for day 2 during that specific period. Repeat this tracking for 2-3 weeks (choose 1-2 days during each week) adjusting as you learn more about your rhythms.
Be sure to use our notes sections for outside factors that may skew your rhythm, i.e., diet, environment, and people.