Ministry Inside.94

I read a very good article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “The Peak Time for Everything.” Basically, the article explores the importance of matching the tasks you need to do with the energy level of your body.  The author suggests times of the day that may be better suited for a particular task given where the energy level of the body normally is at that point.  For example, the author suggests that when it comes to doing cognitive work most adults tend to perform better later in the morning.

I have found the following practices to be helpful as I attempt to manage my time:

1.  My best study is done very early in the morning.  I often awaken early and get much reading and preparation done before I ever go into the office.

2.  One of the first things I do upon getting to the office is form my to-do list.  I may add several new items to what was unfinished from the day before or the list may be totally new.

3.  I write on a large white board in my office a few items that I refer to as “blocks.”   That is, I intend to spend a block of time working on a particular project.  For example, I may be thinking about a meeting or a talk I am to give in a month or two.  I might choose to spend a 30-minute block of time working on this item.  (Otherwise, what is pressing or seemingly immediate will usually consume my time.)

4.  I typically write most e-mails and make most phone calls in the afternoon when my energy is lower.  In fact, I save tasks that require less energy or creativity for the afternoon.

5.  Each day, I want to do something that adds energy to my life.  Typically I go to the gym four days a week in the late afternoon to work out.  This practice makes a huge difference in my energy level.  Also, I am energized by reading, visiting with friends on the phone, and enjoying conversation (normally by phone) with family members.

Questions:

What are some of your daily practices that impact the flow of your day?

 

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  • http://wade.typepad.com Wade Tannehill

    I find that if I don’t exercise in the morning that other things tend to crowd it out. I also find mornings to be the best time to do the creative projects like writing and sermon/class preparation. I see people in the afternoons which is also when I communicate a lot through e-mails, texts, phone calls, etc. I read in the late afternoon or in the evenings after the kids are in bed.

    What I find most helpful about this post is the “blocks of time spent working on a particular project.” I usually have a number of these projects stacked up and I don’t like “cramming” at the last minute, though I sometimes do since I wrongly convince myself that I have to wait until I have a two hour block to start a project. But just carving out those 30 minutes and getting started could be a great way to begin. Otherwise, as you say, the pressing and immediate consumes all the time. Then all those projects are done as pressing and immediate which takes a lot of the joy out of them.

    • Jim Martin

      Wade, great to hear from you! I am glad the post was helpful. It has been very helpful to me to think of these projects in terms of blocks of time and to schedule one or two each day. I may work on one thirty minutes to an hour but I am farther down the road for having spent at least that much time.