How do you get more done in less time? Business Insider recently presented the results of a study by Dr. K. Anders Ericcson in which the musicians were evaluated to see what the best performers did differently from the rest. The four significant practices of top performers:
- Work for shorter periods of time: 4 hours of deliberate, hard work is more effective than 7 hours of steady work. By working for shorter periods of time, you are motivated to optimize each working session since you know it is limited in length.
- Set goals for each work session: Leo Babauta at Zen Habits describes this as having three Most Important Tasks for each day - the goals that must be accomplished that day. Before starting any work session, know what you want to accomplish.
- Take Breaks: In Dr. Ericcson's study, they found the best performers took significant breaks between their intense work sessions. I'm much more productive in the afternoons if I take a long break for lunch and hit the gym. Enlightened work environments even encourage afternoon naps.
- Rest and Recuperate: I've mentioned this before - when we put our work aside it percolates in our subconscious. Our minds have a great way of working things out in the background. There are countless stories of scientists and inventors literally solving big problems in their sleep! They immerse themselves in the problem, and then when they put is aside and sleep, they wake up with the solution. There is a good reason the advice to “sleep on it” is given out so often: it works!
Read More: Why Successful People Leave Work Early.
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