Time segments and mindful scheduling

time to grow and to process the change

I bow to the creative energy of the infinite. I bow to the Divine channel of wisdom.

As you begin reading this mindfulness post on time segments and mindful scheduling, I encourage you to pause for a minute  and recite this mantra a few times (or as many times as you like). It is an incredibly powerful mantra. It will allow you to open up your mind and your heart. If you’re not sure how to chant or if you’re not really feeling it, just recite the words. It will eventually come naturally to you. Don’t worry, even if you’re not too sure of what you are doing, it will still bring you benefits. If however you do want to learn to chant this mantra, check out this youtube link.

And now, onto our mindfulness post.

Setting your peak time segments

In my two previous posts, I talked about making a list of small tasks for you to accomplish on a daily basis to begin developing your achievement mindset.

In the following post, I presented you with a method to gradually extend out of your comfort zone so your tasks become a little more challenging without being overwhelming, hence strengthening that achievement mindset.

Now I wanna take you to the next step and talk to you about how to schedule those tasks in your day to make sure you’re not only accomplishing them but thriving at them at the same time.

This is what I call time segmenting.

Here’s how it works: you need to accomplish your main/harder tasks during your most productive time of the day. Simple enough, right!

In order to do that, you need to figure out when, in the day, those most productive times are.

You need to figure out when your mind can easily focus and your energy level is high. How do you figure that out? You break your day up into five segments.

It looks something like this:

  1. early morning (5am to 9am)
  2. morning (9am to noon)
  3. early afternoon (noon to 3pm)
  4. afternoon (3pm to 7pm)
  5. evening (7pm to 11pm)

Yes, I know, the first one starts pretty early. But you can adjust the time segments to your own personal rythme.

Personally, I start my day at 5am but I’m in bed, sleeping, by 10pm, so my evening segment in shorter.

So now, for the next few days, and for every every segment of the day, pay close attention to your ability to focus and your work capacity. Note it down in a journal, in your phone or on a post it.

Mindful scheduling

Pay attention to your concentration level: am I focused or does my brain feel like mush.
Pay attention to your energy level: do I feel like napping or am I energized and ready to go.
Pay attention to your commitment level: am I fired up and ready to plough through or would I rather push this off till later.

Repeat the exercise over a few days to get a good sense of how you feel during each time segments, on most days. All of us have off days. All of us have days when getting out of bed is harder or the entire day seems like getting anything done is an insurmountable task. Don’t base your peak time segments on those odd days. Base it on your average feel good days.

The first time I applied this experiment, I tracked my time segments for 3 days in a row.

It doesn’t take much time to track. Just ask yourself the three previous questions and write down how you feel. Then move on.

Once you’ve established your peak segment, scale the other segments from most productive to least productive.

As an example, here’s what my time segment scale looks like:

  1. early morning: most productive – 5*
  2. morning: still productive – 4*
  3. early afternoon: least productive (I could nap!) – 1*
  4. late afternoon: not my worst but far from my best – 2*
  5. evening: my energy and focus is somewhat back – 3*

Importance of time segments

You may be wondering why this is important.

Why is it important to know when you are most productive and when you are least productive? Well, here’s why: because you have a thousand things to scratch off that “to-do” list. Some of these “to-dos” are demanding in terms of focus, time and energy, like writing a blog post, calling 5 new potential clients, proof reading a document. Other “to-dos” are less demanding in terms of brain power but still need to get done, like the laundry, cleaning up the house, reading/replying to simple emails, booking appointements, going over personal/business schedules.

Once you’ve figured out when your peak time segments are, you allocate those segments to the most demanding to-dos on your list. During that time, you’ll be efficient and focused and motivated to get those tasks done efficiently.

The stuff on your list that is less demanding, will get pushed over to the segments where your energy and focus is not as high, but you’re still functioning.

For me, taking the time to figure out when I was most productive was a game changer.

I used to do all kinds of less demanding tasks in the morning (my peak times) just because I wanted to get them out of the way (who else feels the same here?) I would go through all my unread emails (including the promotional and fun stuff emails), do laundry, fold clothes, meal plan, book meetings and calls, review my schedule for the week, add things to my to-do list…

Once that was all done, I felt good because all my easy/boring stuff was done and I could get on with the important stuff. Problem was, I was now smack into my least productive segments of the day and I had my most demanding tasks to accomplish. Not a good combination and so I never felt like I accomplished my best work!

So I rearranged my working method to take advantage of my peak times.

I encourage you to give this method a try and see the impact it has on your day and what you are able to accomplish. This again, will strengthen your achievement mindset by achieving tasks efficiently and with greater focus. I am confident this will benefit you.

And like anything related to self improvement, don’t strive for perfection, strive to do your best.

If you’re a student and can’t attend class on your peak times, use your peak times to study or do other tasks that are brain heavy. If you work shifts and can’t get out of working at your worst times, try to use your peak times for other high ranking tasks.

It’s important to also develop ways to keep you fuelled and energized during your less ideal times like going for a brisk walk, chanting a mantra ( the mantra at the beginning of this post is amazing to bring you relaxed and positive energy), eating highly nutritious foods. Use your days off or weekends to recalibrate your important tasks to your peak times.

Again, don’t strive for perfection, strive for flexibility within your time segments framework.

I am so excited for you to implement this and feel the confidence that naturally comes from strengthening your achievement mindset.

And remember, the more you practice something, the more is it part of your routine, the better you will get at it and the greater the results will be.

I’d love to know what your time segments look like and if it’s help you accomplish your tasks more efficiently. Leave me a comment or any question you may have regarding time segments and mindful scheduling at the bottom of this post.