Is Sunday morning and there are only 2 more weeks until the freaking exam… The 400+ pages book is looking at me defiantly… And I can’t study next weekend because I’m travelling… So the only time to study is today and in the evenings, after work… I start panicking, my breathing accelerates, and my mind goes all over the place thinking what can I do? Today is the day that I have to get the most out of it. I search inside my mind for tips to enhance my productivity and there I find 2! 2 different things that I read a while ago and I can use today to increase my productivity. And to these 2, I add another one, a personal one that I know is constantly stealing my attention and focus. So here are my 3 techniques that I successfully used today:
- Working using ultradian rhythm.
The ultradian rhythm is referring to the rhythms of our body that occur at intervals of less than 24 hours. The human body is hard-wired to pulse. We have 60-120 minutes periods when our energy and focus is high, but these are then followed by a 30 min period of low energy levels. To have a great performance, we need to renew our energy according to these cycles.
On his blog about the ultradian rhythm, Jade was recommending to work on intervals of 50-10-50-30, where you work intensively for 50 minutes, then you take a 10 minutes break, then you continue the intense work for 50 more minutes, followed after by another 30 minutes of break.
Today I used this practice and I have to say it worked pretty well!! In the 10 min break I went downstairs to the restroom (3 floors down…) and then when I returned back I ran up the stairs. On another break I did some burpees.
By doing this I moved my numbed body and redirected my blood back to my brain to increase mental performance.
To count the time and build the 50-10-50-30 min intervals, I used an app on my phone that I usually use at the gym for interval training (but you can use the normal timer from your phone). I wanted to use this app as it has an alarm when the interval is done so I don’t have to check my phone every minute.
- Using baroque music to induce the brain in the alpha wave state
It is known that classical music in general has been used to:
- Improve performance
- Temporarily boost IQ score results
- Lower stress and anxiety
- Help with post-traumatic stress disorder
Numerous studies have shown that baroque music has potent brain-enhancing qualities by affecting brain waves.
Alpha state is the ideal state when your brain can relax and accumulate information. This is a state of relaxation, an aware state – not asleep, in the sense of the brain being fully focused and aware.
The baroque music has a rhythm between 50-80 beats per minute which is similar to a resting heartrate. The brain also “catches” this rhythm and switches into a deep concentration mode in the alpha brain wave state. (Have you noticed yourself that sometimes when you listen music, your foot starts tapping in the rhythm of the music? This your brain catching the rhythm).
I’m not a big listener of classical music but I have to admit that I found it pretty relaxing. I used the playlist Baroque 50: Spoify Picks from Spotify but you can also find a lot of compilation on Youtube. Here are some samples:
- Avoid any type of distraction
This is not something that I’ve read on a great book… Is just something that I’ve notice in my day to day life after years and years of intense study.
Whenever I had to study for an exam or to do anything related to study, I was the most efficient in cleaning the house or my desktop from my laptop… Nowadays is even easier to get distracted as the phone is always blinking because I get a new message, or I get a notification that someone has posted something on Facebook…
So my strategy today was to get rid of any distractions:
- I turned off all my notifications,
- I have put music on my phone, using the headsets BUT I put the phone into my pocket and didn’t took it out until the 50 min interval was off.
- Also I found a study place where nobody was allowed to interrupt me (I was lucky to have a study room in my building complex, so I went there)
By doing the 3 tips from above I manage to be fully focus for the most of the day and to cover ~ 150 pages from my “lovely book” and finish one of the most important chapter. I have to say that I feel pretty tired now and I hope to have a good REM sleep that will help me move the information from the short term memory to the long term memory.
I wish you all a deep, nice sleep.