How productive are you during the first and last hour of your work day? Most people’s answer is, not very. And the reason is, they have convinced themselves that they need to take a significant amount of time to settle in at the office before they start working. But those minutes can accumulate quickly. Between eating, drinking, chatting, cleaning, smoking, organizing, whatever, when people putter around doing those things a few times a day, they’re looking at at least five hours of lost labor per week. No wonder everyone is stressed and overwhelmed and working overtime. The good news is, if you can learn how to create intentionality, focus and calm in your schedule, you can change all of that.
OPERATING TEMPERATURE -- Making devices of your body and mind suitable for creative application
Consider the engineering concept of operating temperature. It’s a term that comes from the commercial, industrial, automotive and military worlds, where most devices won’t be prepped for application until they reach a certain heat threshold. The use of this temperature grade ensures that a given device is suitable for its application, and can withstand the environmental conditions in which it is used. Human beings have a version of operating temperature as well. After all, our bodies are machines, and if we want to get to a place of relaxed efficiency, then we have to take control of our psychic environment. We have to take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world.
This tool is one of the reasons waking up early to journal, meditate, read, write and exercise is such an important daily ritual for me. Because by the time my workday starts, my brain and body are ready to rock. There’s no settling in. I start when I sit down. My day has a cadence and rhythm. I’m organized, relaxed and have already developed my set of priorities for what needs to get done and why. On most workdays, I’ll have a sizable chunk of work done within the first hour, while the rest of my colleagues are still taking their sweet ass time settling in, which is code for mind numbing, pointless activities.
It’s understandable that everyone has different rituals, routines and adjustment needs. And nobody’s workday should be chaotic for the sake of productivity. But sometimes I wonder if people procrastinate by deciding they can’t start their work until they’ve spent thirty minutes putzing around first. If you want to start when you sit down, get your body up to operating temperature before you arrive at the office. The make devices of your body and mind suitable for application, so they can withstand the environmental conditions in which they are used. How much time per week do you waste settling in?
Reduce stress, overwhelm and burnout on the job
Withstand difficult environmental conditions in your workspace
Avoid wasting valuable time and labor settling in to do your job
Increase the speed at which your creative engine can start generating meaningful output