How to structure your day

Starting a part-time PhD, I need to be well organised. I’ve set aside two days a week just for studying and I understand most people work a maximum of 6 hours a day. I want to work an 8-hour day, and I know that trying to work in a couple of long blocks won’t work, so I’ve been looking for the best approach.

This article explains that there is an optimal way to structure a workday. We will be far more effective if we schedule breaks into our working day.

Research by the Draugiem Group has found that the ideal work-to-break ratio was 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest.

People who maintained this schedule had a unique level of focus in their work. For roughly an hour at a time, they were 100% dedicated to the task they needed to accomplish.

Your brain wants an hour on, 15 minutes off

Apparently, our brain will work well for roughly an hour, but then needs 15-20 minutes of down-time. This isn’t when we check emails or log on to FaceBook as this doesn’t recharge us but to take a proper break such as to go for a walk.

My plan is to work for 1 hour, with a 15-minute break and to divide up my day. I will want to also go to the gym on my study days so need to factor this in too.

For each 1 hour block I need to decide what I want to accomplish so I don’t drift.

In my 15-minute breaks I can walk, make a phone call or read an article. Anything that gets me away from my computer or technology. Getting up and moving is definitely worth doing, and ideally outside, or some indoor activity such as dancing to some great music. Rather than a big lunch I can also use this time to snack on food such as Greek yoghurt and blueberries, or some nuts.

I need to keep to this schedule rather than to work till I’m tired, as that takes me beyond the window of peak productivity.

So, I’ve planned my day and I can only do 7 hours work each day. But these will be 7 highly focused hours.  I’m going to monitor my work effectiveness and post a follow up in a few weeks.

Daily schedule

Gym, from home to home – 7.30 till 09.45

  1. 10.00 – 11.00
  2. 11.15 – 12.15
  3. 12.30 – 13.30
  4. 13.45 – 14.45
  5. 15.00 – 16.00
  6. 16.15 – 17.15
  7. 17.30 – 18.30

Get more tips here: https://desktime.com/blog/17-52-ratio-most-productive-people

And I’d love to know what approach works best for you, feel free to share below.

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

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