The brain is complex and mysterious. It does everything from composing music to solving the most complicated mathematical problems in the most elegant fashion. It is the source of all of your behaviors, feelings, wisdom, and the storehouse of your memories. Is it powerful? You bet it is. Are you using your full mental potential? Not really.
Why Most People Aren’t Using Their Full Mental Potential
Want to unlock your brain’s full potential? Learn to use the Ultradian Rhythm, your natural body rhythms that occur at intervals of less than 24 hours. You experience this by feeling invigorated for an hour or two, then you become unfocused and lethargic.
Most people spend their entire day working in a relaxed fashion and without a break. They are not productive because they are not focused and not using their full mental potential. The trick is learning to harness these periods of high energy to be productive during this time period, and then learn to relax, rest, and recharge your energy.
Ultradian Rhythm = 90-Minute Deep Work + 20-Minute Rest
Ultradian Rhythms take place at intervals of 90-100 minutes all through the day. During this time, you experience high energy productivity. This is followed by a 20-minute span of low energy. The interval starts again with another round of high energy productivity.
The way to take advantage of this is to work on a task for 90 minutes and use the 90 minutes for uninterrupted activity. Take a 20-minute break after that. Then work for another 90 minutes of uninterrupted time, followed by another 20-minute break. By staying tuned to these time intervals you will be using the full potential of your brain. Exercising your ability to focus is like muscle building—the more you train the better you get, and the more focused you become.
Being really good at this is only the first part. It’s really important to disconnect yourself fully during your breaks. Being able to disconnect is a skill in itself, because it is at the core of your ability to rest and properly recharge your energy.
When you take a break, you “change your channel,” and do something completely different from the brainwork you’ve been doing. Some suggestions are going for a walk, meditation, or taking a 20-minute power nap. Your creativity will soar when you take the time to recover. Taking a break may be hard for you, especially if you’re a workaholic. But you need to let yourself take a break.
By blocking out uninterrupted time intervals, you are making a commitment to yourself to be fully focused on a single important task. Whenever the impulse comes to do other things, like check email or visit websites, you can say to yourself, “I’ll do that during my break”. You can design your time any way you want. For tasks that do not require consistent focus, you can bundle and perform them in one time interval.
Manage Your Energy Instead Of Your Time
In order to do something, the one thing that matters is how much energy you have to do it. Time is irrelevant when you’re out of energy. You must understand that your body needs rest instead of pushing through the day by drinking coffee or eating power bars.
Acknowledge your natural body rhythms of high and low energy, and use the 90/20-minute system. After taking a break you will be energized once again and can continue your work.
It’s Up To You
Now that you have the knowledge and the tools to unlock your brain’s full potential, work on a schedule that best fits your energy cycles. Take notice of when your brain and energy levels are mostly high, and plan to do your deep work during this time following the 90/20 plan. You might find that you get a lot more done, and feel happy at the same time.