The working environment in these times is becoming an overload which often causes a distraction, as we struggle to cope with and focus on what is really important. The more focused we are, the more we can get done with a higher quality of work produced.
A basic method to increase quality of work is improving the ability to focus. Creating a sense of mindfulness of what one is doing helps to improve focus and at the same time increase the ability to produce meaningful accomplishments at the end of the day.
I am sure we all realize that our energy levels start to diminish as the day progresses. A general trend shows that most work days are not very productive. We tend to spend a lot of our time on checking and replying to emails, attending meetings, answering calls and then we try to focus on our really important work. By doing so, we often have a tendency to use the most productive time of our day on these other matters instead of on our more important work.
So, a solution to better time utilization is that if you are aware of your peak performance times, you can do a lot of more focused and deep work every day. For example, in my own case I am really productive and focused in the morning, so I try to get important work done during the first 90 minutes of the morning. I have observed that important and innovative work can mostly be done at that time than in the rest of the day altogether. Then a break is required, so working in sprints with regular breaks leads to maximum productivity.
A sprint can be defined as a productivity technique which helps to get more done in less time. Working for 90 minutes in a burst helps you to relate your energy levels with your work in hand and facilitates to improve your overall productivity. After every sprint comes a break or period of rest to re-energize yourself.
According to research our brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes at a time. After which, a 20–30 minute break is required for us to get the refreshment and renewal to achieve high performance for our next task.
Sprints are not only about speed, but it also helps us to build momentum, improves our focus and level of confidence. So the importance of sprints are that they help :
- TO KEEP FOCUS : The distractions and demands of our office life distract our attention so that we cannot concentrate on the matter or issues which are the most critical. Sprints help us to centre our attention on what needs to be done and work more effectively in doing so.
- MAKE A START : If one is facing a big issue, it can be tough to identify how to begin. In such cases sprints help to make a commitment and dig in to solve the issue within a specific period of time.
- MOVE FROM ABSTRACT TO TANGIBLE : Many times we tend to get lost or stuck in when considering alternate possibilities or theories causing ourselves to get bogged down with no progress being made. In such cases working in sprints with a break in between helps us to reconsider options, seek renewal and reach a solution.
- DECISION MAKING : It assists us by giving a timeframe to review and discuss pros and cons helping us to make decisions regarding different problems or approaches. Instead of debating endlessly on any matter, it helps to focus, test and review results thereby enabling us to select the best option.
- ENCOURAGE FOLLOWUP : With helping us to accomplish a lot of work in every sprint, the break in between creates a window to clear the mind, enter a period of review and also give us the confidence to know whether we are on the right track or not.
So by working in 90-minute bursts we allow ourselves to correlate our maximum energy levels with our task list. This helps us to give our productivity a major boost. This process also encourages us to be working with our body instead of against it.
Establish a routine for yourself once you have identified your peak performance times and maintain a positive daily schedule. It will give you a structure, help you to establish priorities, keep track of your goals and do your best work when your mind is most active. Once the routine is set up, it will become easy for you to get into the productivity mode everyday because the habit will be formed and become a part of you.
REMEMBER TO : Focus then rest, focus then rest