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Experiment For Optimum Results

Experiment For Optimum Results

Experiment For Optimum Results

    Many times when we are looking to improve in any aspect of our life, we search for someone who has already achieved the results that we are looking for, and we do our best to mimic their actions, expecting their results.  The problem with this approach is that there are too many variables to consider in pretty much any aspect of life, and therefore too much is out of our control.  We would be better off creating a plan that takes into account the success of others’ actions, and then tweaking our own actions to better fit our needs and expectations.

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    For instance, I just finished a 30 day biphasic sleep experiment.  For 30 days I slept only 4.5 hours total each day, with a 3 hour core sleep each night and a 1.5 hour nap midday.  This schedule was very different than any other biphasic sleep schedule that I had read about.  The problem with the other schedules was that they just didn’t match my lifestyle and day-to-day schedule.  I knew that in order to be successful with my experiment I would have to follow a schedule that worked for me.  So I set about researching the amount of hours of sleep I could function on, then with the help of a neuroscientist friend created a schedule that we thought could work.  I decided not to get too attached to this newly created schedule till we could observe whether or not it worked, and having gone 30 days with it, I can safely advise that the Universal Man sleep schedule (as I later named it) was a great success and can be used by anyone with a few days to adjust.

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    Had I followed other schedules, I can’t assume that I would have been as successful as I was with the Universal Man schedule.  That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have been successful, but that there would have been schedule conflicts initially, which would only lend to less success.  As I went through the experiment there were days when I needed to make minor changes, though.  And thus the idea of tweaking your experiments as you go.  I started summer school mid experiment, which meant that I would need to have higher levels of focus from 8 am to 3 pm.  This led me to have a really sleepy mid day lul.  I supplemented my sleep with a 15 minute nap at 1 pm (I just walked out of class, went to the library, and slept for 15 minutes).  This allowed me to “recharge” and when I got back to class I was better focused and able to stick to the experiment.  Had I not tweaked the experiment to allow for this nap, I’m quite sure I would have failed.

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    This is not to say that it’s not good to follow the trails of others who have found success, because it’s always better to follow someone who has done what you want to do than to try it alone.  But we need to understand that we are all different, and because of that we all have different needs and requirements.  By learning  your own needs, you will be better equipt to tweak every aspect of your life for optimum results.  And what is the use in all of this self-improvement if not to become the optimum human, right?

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    More by this author

    Ibrahim Husain

    Ibrahim is a management analyst who writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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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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