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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 September 11, 2019

    Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

    Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

    How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

    Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

    To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

    Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

    Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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    • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
    • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
    • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
    • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

    Benefits of Using a To-Do List

    However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

    • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
    • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
    • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
    • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
    • You feel more organized.
    • It helps you with planning.

    4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

    Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

    1. Categorize

    Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

    It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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    2. Add Estimations

    You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

    Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

    Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

    3. Prioritize

    To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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    • Important and urgent
    • Not urgent but important
    • Not important but urgent
    • Not important or urgent

    You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

    Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

    4.  Review

    To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

    For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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    Bottom Line

    So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

    To your success!

    More to Help You Achieve More in Less Time

    Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

    Reference

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