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If You Want to Be Productive, You Should Have More Quiet Time When You’re Busy

If You Want to Be Productive, You Should Have More Quiet Time When You’re Busy

The pace of life in today’s world has become non-stop. And the world has also got louder.

Radios and TVs constantly blare out. Congested roads fill our environments with engine noise. And even at work, there is a steady stream of noisy interruptions.

With our auditory senses under relentless attack, it’s no wonder that…

You’ve Become Too Busy to Have Quiet Time

All that noise. Have you ever considered what it’s doing to your ability to think and be productive?

You may suppose that a noisy and busy environment helps you to work – but to be truly creative and productive you must find quiet times.

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A recent study by Duke University Medical Center found that silence is associated with the development of the hippocampus (a brain region associated with learning and memory).[1]

Research undertaken by physician Luciano Bernardi found that two-minute intervals of silence between music resulted in more stable respiratory and cardiovascular systems, compared to even listening to “relaxation” music.[2]

It’s clear that quiet times are essential to our physical, emotional and mental health.

But…

You’re Probably Struggling to Find Solitude and Silence

I sympathise. Your kids never stop screaming, your dog never stops barking, and your life is just endless noise and distraction.

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If you work in an open-plan office, then there are constant interruptions. If you live in a busy, family home, then there are constant disruptions!

Even if you escape your office or home, the shops and cafés that you may choose to visit are also filled with people, noise and disturbances.

It’s a genuine challenge to find quiet times. But there are ways you can achieve this.

Let’s take a look now at…

The 7 Best Ways to Find Quiet Time – Even When You’re Busy

Quiet time is essential if you want to reach your peak creativity and productivity.

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Here are my recommendations:

1. Wake up early.

Time management is everything. And this starts with waking up early! If you make this a habit, you’ll not only find yourself ahead of the pack, but you’ll also be blessed with a peaceful period of time that is perfect for clear and creative thinking.

2. Take a walk in the park.

If your work never ends, then you’ll never find time to relax. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, make a point of taking regular breaks. If you live or work near a park, then this gives you a wonderful opportunity to walk in nature. You’ll definitely benefit from the exercise, fresh air and change of scenery.

3. Leave your headphones at home.

Do you wear headphones when you’re commuting to college or work? If you do, then you’re starting your day off in a noisy fashion. Try leaving your headphones at home, and instead, give you mind chance to work on solutions to problems. You may find that your commute becomes your most productive time.

4. Switch off your mobile device.

Everywhere you look – people are staring at their mobile devices. Many of them seem to be hypnotized. Let’s be honest, most of us have become addicted to breaking news, social media updates, and even the latest version of Pokémon Go! These things can be fun, but they shouldn’t be taking over our lives. Try this test: Switch off your mobile phone for a full 24 hours, and see how much more relaxed and productive you feel.

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5. Book a meeting room for yourself.

Office work can swing rapidly from typing at a desk to talking in meetings. With this constant to-and-fro, it’s hard to ever feel calm and collected. However, I have a suggestion for you. Why not book a meeting room just for yourself? That way, you can choose to either work on your laptop in peace and quiet – or simply enjoy the silence for 10 minutes or so.

6. Find time for meditation.

You don’t need to be a guru to practice meditation. In fact, it can be as easy as just finding time for quiet contemplation. Many highly successful people use this technique, including Hugh Jackman and J.K. Rowling. The benefits of silent periods are many. You’ll likely have more energy, more focus and deeper thoughts. And once you become familiar with the inner bliss that comes from this practice, you may decide to enroll on a meditation retreat.

7. Go to bed early.

I advised you to wake up early. And the best way to do this – is to go to bed early! By doing this, you’ll build powerful self-discipline, and also find yourself with regular spells of quiet time. If you go to bed early, you can use the minutes before you sleep as a way to clear your thoughts from the day, and allow new ideas to come to mind. One added benefit: Going to bed early means you’re likely to sleep deeper.[3]

There’ll always be busy times in your life, but make sure to balance these with regular periods of tranquillity.

You’ll be amazed at how much calmer you feel – and how much more productive you’ve become.

Featured photo credit: ABC News via abcnews.go.com

Reference

More by this author

Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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