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How to stay productive with unregulated work hours
How to stay productive with unregulated work hours

Three simple methods that will bring order to even the most chaotic rhythm of life.

How to stay productive with unregulated work hours
How to stay productive with unregulated work hours

Much has been written about performance and productivity. However, the vast majority of tips are created with a traditional working day in mind: they are intended for office workers who sit at their desk from 9:00 to 18:00 five days a week.

But the fact is, many of us do not work on a structured schedule - for example, freelancers and remote freelancers. And those in traditional full-time jobs don't always do the same amount of work at the same time every week.

So what about someone with a different work schedule? It's simple: create your own routine that suits them.

Why a daily routine is essential

The brain works best in a steady state

Many successful people are known to follow the same routine and perform the same rituals every day.

Mason Curry

An ordered regime is like a track along which the mental forces of a genius move at a good pace; it protects him from the tyranny of changeable moods.

“In the right hands,” writes Mason Curry in his book Genius Mode. The daily routine of great people "- the daily routine is a precisely calibrated mechanism that allows us to make the best use of our limited resources: first of all, the time we need most, as well as willpower, self-discipline, optimism."

Creating the right daily routine will help you increase your productivity dramatically.

A daily routine is more effective than a strong will

Many people believe that being productive is a product of strong will. “Just sit down and get busy,” they say. Yes, willpower can help you become more productive, but it's a limited resource. If you work exclusively due to willpower (and, besides work, this resource is consumed in many places - for example, at school or in the gym), then you cannot avoid burnout and loss of strength.

The daily routine is a more stable and constant motivator than will, because it does not require extra effort from you. Will is needed to do something beyond your normal accomplishments. And with an established mode of operation, you simply walk along the knurled, like clockwork, without overexerting yourself. This will save you more energy for really complex and creative work.

Daily routine reduces the need for planning

When you perform a similar set of activities every day, you unload the brain, freeing it from the need to plan further steps. Why come up with something if you already have a debugged algorithm? This is what you end up with:

  • You get less tired when making decisions, and, accordingly, you experience less stress.
  • Easier to enter the state of "flow", when performance increases significantly.

If your mind is not forced to make decisions about what to do next, it can more effectively focus on what you are doing now.

How to Maintain Productivity for People on Unregulated Schedules

1. Create a routine in the non-working part of life

Work isn't the only part of your life that needs to be organized. Everything you do - from eating to exercising - can be subordinated to a regimen. At a minimum, you should start by creating daily morning and evening rituals that will set you in the right mood.

Janessa Lanz, editor of HubSpot, recommends doing the same ritual every time before starting work, such as taking a shower.

Janessa Lanz

When you work from home on a regular basis, it is worth developing a good shower and dressing habit before you sit down at your computer. Thus, you would say to yourself: "The working day has begun!" And when you put on your pajamas in the evening, you signal to yourself: "The working day is over!"

Create a sustainable daily routine that will make it easier to fit new work tasks as they arise. Therefore, for example, the writer Barbara Boyd advises following the same daily routine regardless of the current workload.

Barbara Boyd

I try to adhere to a certain routine, regardless of whether I have a lot of work or little. I always use strictly allotted time for work, and when there are no work tasks, I can devote it to household chores or creativity. So on my schedule, a certain time is always marked as "Working" - no matter if I write for a fee or paint the kitchen.

2. Ritualize the work

It is important for people with irregular schedules to create rituals around their work to separate it from their free time. Develop signals that tell your brain when to start working and when to stop.

  • Create a workplace. Work in the same place in your home and don't do anything else there.
  • Always listen to the same music (or background noise) as you work.
  • Set a time frame. Stop working when the time of day arrives.

Cyrus Abbamonte

I'm a freelance writer and I have one thing I use to get my brain to work: headphones. I can't write anything if I don't wear them, even if the music isn't playing. And I rarely use them when I'm not working. So every time I plug in my headphones, my brain knows it's time to write.

3. Stick to your own routine

You will find that adhering to your daily routine will only help you increase your productivity if it correlates with your own rhythms. This is why studying the rituals and habits of famous people like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein is interesting, but not particularly useful in practice. What worked perfectly for them may not necessarily be right for you.

Katharina Wolfe, a biologist and expert on chronobiology and sleep at the University of Oxford, says changing sleep patterns does not have a very positive effect on cognitive abilities.

Katharina Wolfe

People who stick to their usual sleep rhythm feel better. They are more productive than those who are trying to overcome themselves.

Therefore, if you are a night owl, there is no point in trying to get out of bed at four in the morning just because Tim Cook does it. If you can, adjust the schedule to your own circadian rhythms.