How much golden time do you allow yourself each day?
I would definitely class myself as a "morning person". My best thinking and most productive time in terms of getting tasks done is the first 3 hours of the day. I get up early (5.30am) to give myself time to plan the day and be productive then driving 45 minutes to work before seeing my first patient at 8am. But I realised lately that I am actually missing a huge opportunity by being sloppy with how I conduct myself during these first few hours.
After spending time getting myself ready, helping round the house, setting up the surgery, browsing Facebook, Instagram, blog updates etc I am only actually left with about 20 minutes of decent time to be productive. I call this my "Golden Time". This is the time for complex tasks like treatment planning, analysing how the business is doing and how to improve it, considering new initiatives that can take you to the next level. Without golden time you are at best staying still but normally slowly slipping behind.
So I decided to audit my activity between waking and 8.30am, logging every task I do and how long it takes. I then carefully analysed how I could minimise wasted time and increase my daily allowance of golden time. None of these changes were drastic but the overall effect is huge. For instance, rather than empty the dishwasher in the morning, whenever possible I ensure I do it last thing at night. I am still getting the task done, but doing it at a different time of day therefore allowing me to dedicate those 3-4 minutes of golden time to better use. I am also much stricter with myself on social media only doing a quick browse of updates in the morning and only commenting on something if it really catches my attention. Otherwise I will come back to it at lunchtime. I even go the lengths of choosing my clothes the night before thus saving me a minute or so in the morning. Why do you think so many really successful people wear almost exactly the same thing every day? It saves them the time and mental effort when it counts.
Each of these little time savings has allowed me to make 2 big changes. Rather than just squeezing in a poor 5 minutes of Tai Chi practice I now do at least 10 minutes of much more focused Tai Chi time therefore getting both my mind and body more ready to face the day (I call this my silver time. Not as important as golden time but still worth trying to increase). And I have been able to increase my golden time from 20 minutes to 45 minutes therefore more than doubling the decent productivity capability.
Not everybody is a morning person. The key is to know when you are best and find a way to maximise that time. The potential gains are huge. If you are interested in reading more tips about how to easily organise your life and increase your productivity please look here: http://www.drchrisharper.co.uk/blog/category/organisation
Dr Chris Harper