Time is Not Created Equal

Funny, how many things I can find to do rather than sit down and write my blog. Does that ever happen to you? Maybe it’s not procrastination. Maybe it’s a time-state mismatch.

Throughout the day, your energy and focus levels naturally fluctuate through 4 identifiable states. You can control some of the factors that influence the duration and frequency of these Time States (the 5 Non-Negotiables, for example), but you cannot “make yourself” achieve or sustain the higher Time States simply because you’ve got a deadline or specific schedule.

Time-State Characterized by… Best used for…
A-Time …intense creativity and the perception of warped time; aka Flow State. …highest priority mind-work, problem-solving, project development, creative expression.
B-Time …strong productivity. …cranking through tasks, email, meetings, To-Do list.
C-Time …low mind engagement but still physically engaged. …exercise, house work, socializing.
D-Time …low physical and mental engagement, heading toward exhaustion. …activities that consciously restore mind and body; aka Me-Time.

Ride the Time States like a wave for maximum productivity and creativity. Here are 2 key strategies for maximizing Time States:

  1. Don’t waste higher Time States on lower activities.

Reserve your A- and B-Times for your highest priorities. For example, if mornings are your A-time, get to work early and schedule your workout and social time for later in the day. Vice-versa if your natural rhythms tend toward Night Owl.

  1. Don’t force higher activities into lower Time States.

When A-Time has subsided, staring at your computer won’t bring it back. Rather than forcing out subpar work you’ll end up re-doing anyway, move on to a Time-State appropriate activity.

Recognize your natural rhythms: for the next 3 – 5 days, make a written record of your Time States. This accomplishes two things: you will objectively determine your natural rhythms and schedule accordingly, and you will gain the habit of noticing your Time State.

Once I dedicated A-Time to my blog, I got ‘er done! Now I’m free to enjoy some quality Me-time later today.

So, notice your time-surfing today. Are you hanging ten, or are you getting rag-dolled by time?

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