Tips From a Highly Productive Individual
I have been working as a software developer for quite a few years now and I have been noticing one unique trend. I am extremely productive and efficient in comparison to my peers. It’s not because I have more experience because I have worked with people with over 10 years of more experience than me. Its not because I am better than them, because I still have a lot to learn.
One thing people notice about me, is that I am a highly efficient individual because I work with systems. I assign small systems that I cluster together in everything I do, this systems allow me to be highly effective and highly efficient at almost everything. In this article I walk you through everything I do to in order to finish everything in time and usually before everyone else.
Understand you internal clock (circadian rhythm): Your circadian rhythm is probably the single most important thing you should understand about yourself if you want to be highly efficient. Your internal clock is what makes your body thick. It decides when you are tired, when you are fully awake, when you are procrastinating, and when you are hungry. Each clock is unique to each individual, but in general people tend to be highly focused during the first 5 hours after you wake up. You can learn what your rhythm looks like by setting an alarm every hour and record whether you feel sleepy, focused, or distracted. Once you have done this for a few days is time to give it a test drive. Start by scheduling all your difficult tasks, I really mean ALL, during does pick ours of focus. Then proceed to leave anything that is rudimentary like answering emails to the hours you are distracted or sleepy.
My schedule usually looks like this: I wake up, I drink a glass of water, then I take a shower. I cook breakfast and read a minimum of one page of my book. Then I head off to work and I start knocking down every single hard task I have for the day. When I have reached 12:00 PM, I start moving into the medium difficult tasks and by 3:30 I am down to rudimentary tasks like checking email, answering texts, and scheduling meetings.
This leads me to my next point: Always schedule your meetings after 3:30 PM. Most meetings are usually a waste of time, but they are necessary. Typically a normal person down time is usually from 3:00 to 5:30 PM. Because you don’t need that much brain power to meet with someone always try to schedule meetings after 3:30. That way you have the rest of the day to do things that don’t require much focus.
Memory plays an important role in being efficient. Don’t worry to much if you think you have a bad memory, improving your memory is really easy. Start by trying to remember small things like your milk expiration date or the day that the mail man comes to your house. Eventually you will remember everything and when I say everything I mean everything. For example why waist time checking your mail if you know that the mail man usually comes on Sunday. Why waist time doing a list for groceries if you know that your milk expires on July 22, 2016, or you know that the last time you went grocery shopping you bought a dozen eggs and you have used 8. Why waist time doing the line to add money to your subway ticket if you know you have $2.65 left in your subway card.
Avoid coffee but still drink it. Coffee is an amazing tool for being efficient if you know how to use it. If you drink coffee every day you will start to notice that eventually you will loose the rush feeling and you will become dependent on it. To fix that try to drink coffee only in the afternoon (specially after lunch), and only every other day. By doing this you avoid your circadian rhythm from becoming used to coffee. Most importantly this way you can start leveraging coffee as a tool rather than a need.