The Power of Two Hours
While the title may seem bizarre and rather impractical given how much work we have in just one day, sometimes, our productivity can reach its optimum level in just two hours! This concept which was popularized by Ritika Thapa on LinkedIn which talks about streamlining work in to a set of two hours for greater efficiency, is applicable not only during the exam season but also other times. If you are a person who have a busy or not so busy schedule, and find it difficult to cover much work in a day, this method is for you. Scroll down to see how in just 8 steps you can increase productivity in two hours than spending an entire day on the same set of tasks.
- Create a focus playlist.
This should be easy since most of us are music fans. Make playlist (preferably) the one prescribed below through YouTube, Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music, etc. which have been psychologically proven to help you concentrate. If you don’t like to study with music, that’s still alright! You can tune out by being in a silent room with limited distractions.
Prescribed playlist from soundtracks of popular movies:
- Ad Astra
- The Batman
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Blade Runner 2049
- The Dark Knight Trilogy
Link to the YouTube playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGusqJ1kjbr3Df-EFfY6kyPytZo6_eLqb
Thapa notes that your brain can go into deep work two times faster by listening to aforementioned playlist! If you have an alternative playlist suited to your taste (which isn’t distracting) we recommend you to try that out.
- Prepare yourself.
Prepare your mind for the activity you hope to do.
- Get enough sleep, ideally 8 hours daily. Ample sleep helps you to focus. (One of our co-editors can do with this advice).
- 30 minutes of reading any text that is of relevance to you helps you to write.
- Dedicate about 10 minutes to organize and plan your tasks.
This is a short-term remedy that can lead to a long-term benefit in your life, career, and otherwise. Some of you may not be organized or not used to sleeping for 8 hours, or just hate reading. One thing we urge you to bear in mind is to always know that change doesn’t need to be substantial, it only needs to be an improvement from yesterday. This means that if you got 5 hours of sleep yesterday, commit yourself to sleep for 6 hours today. Little steps can help you to accumulate that to the bigger picture.
- Schedule deep work sessions for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Why exactly 1.5-2 hours?
Thapa notes that:
- It takes just 20-30 minutes to get into the rhythm of your work.
- It takes 1.5 – 2 hours before that rhythm and focus declines.
This means that if you take a break too early, you won’t get into the rhythm or flow of your work, and if you DON’T take a break, you’ll WORK INEFFICIENTLY.
- Separate tasks based on their type.
Group analytical tasks together, such as:
Group creative tasks together, such as:
If you do analytical and creative tasks together in the same flow, it has a propensity for you to get tired easily.
- Remove distractions.
Too much noise? Use your headphones, ideally noise cancelling ones.
Distracting websites? Use an app blocker, you can easily find app blocker extensions in the Microsoft Store or Chrome Webstore. Or have app limits which you can enable through your settings.
Distractions at home? Go to a library, café, university, or just an easily accessible study friendly and SAFE location.
- Set one goal for each task.
Move from one task to another after completing it. It’s easier to understand your work and the chances of you getting distracted with other tasks are reduced since you have a goal in mind to finish the assigned task. Think of it like a 100-meter sprint; you are unlikely to go off track to engage in ‘run and catchers’ when you are given the task of running a 100-meter sprint. Apply the same logic here.
- Reflect on your work.
Once you complete your work, think of ways you can improve. Some questions you can ponder about are:
- Should I change how much time I invest in this task?
- Can I complete certain other tasks before coming into this task?
- Should I consider doing this work at a certain time of the day? e.g., morning or night?
Taking into consideration your observations, you can improve for the next 2-hour session.
- Reward yourself!
This is the final and most important one in our opinion. While easy to think that continuous engagement in studying can help you, practically it won’t. We strongly advise you to take a productive break. It can be anything that keeps your mind away from your books and other tedious work. It helps to take away the feeling that your work is unbearable or something you don’t like. This means that your work in the next 2-hour session will be more productive than the previous one.
In conclusion, we highly recommend this technique if you find it hard to optimize your tasks daily. It’s all about making an effort and changing little things about how you go about your day. Obviously, do not stop at just two hours in total for the day, it’s advised that you take about four two-hour sessions (in total 8 hours of work). This system is truly rewarding and efficient and we highly recommend it to anyone!
Source: Ritika Thapa, LinkedIn
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