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113: Ninty Minutes or Less
How to find hidden trolls in our planners
On my perilous path as a creative adventurer, I often find myself waylaid by all manner of obstacles and challenges. Steven Pressfield writes about this ever-present demon as ‘Resistance’ in the War of Art. But there are lesser demons, perhaps mere monsters that we encounter on our journey as well. Take for example…
The Lurking Time Troll.
You find these monsters, hiding in your to-do list and google calendars. They normally take up no more than a line on a to-do list or an hour’s block in your calendar.
These are the vaguely defined tasks that look manageable above the surface, but when they stand at full height, they can wreck whole days and even weeks. These vaguely defined tasks, (Lurking Time Trolls) hide countless other tasks that could take hours or days to complete. Sometimes they lack important information and will send you on all manner of additional sidequests.
And how do these beasts find their way into your week? Sadly dear hero, you placed them there yourself by your lack of awareness or diligence.
How to Defeat a Lurking Time Troll,
Before I can tell you that curious adventurer. I need to draw your attention to a power that is inside you. A natural rhythm that you must harness, if you are to stand a chance against this sneaky foe.
No not the 28-day Menstrual Cycle, nor the daily Cycadian Rythm
Think smaller, think
Ultradian rhythms are natural cycles that occur in our bodies throughout the day, lasting about 90 to 120 minutes each. During each cycle, our bodies go through stages of high and low energy, and we experience fluctuations in our focus and attention. By planning tasks that align with these rhythms, we can work with our bodies natural energy levels and optimize our productivity.
How to Defeat a Lurking Time Troll
You should never allow a Lurking Time Troll into your schedule in the first place. Learn to identify them by any task that is too vague. That is any task or action that takes more than 90 minutes to complete. If it takes more than 90 minutes it’s probably more than one task. So the real task is to break down this monster into actions that take less than 90 minutes to complete. And scatter them into your calendar.
And if a Lurking Time Troll has managed to sneak by you and find itself in your calendar. Instead of trying to engage with it, remove it from your calendar and replace it with the task of breaking down the vague tasks into actions that take 90 minutes or less to complete.
Instead of trying to write a book in one sitting, we can break it down into smaller tasks, such as outlining a chapter or writing a section. By focusing on tasks that take no more than 90 minutes to complete, we can maintain our focus and energy levels, and make steady progress toward our larger goals.
In addition to making you more productive, planning tasks that take no more than 90 minutes to complete can also add a degree of reliability to your planning. When you plan tasks that are too big or complex, you run the risk of overestimating your abilities or underestimating the time required to complete them. This can lead to missed deadlines, unfinished projects, and a sense of frustration or overwhelm.
By planning tasks that align with your Ultradian rhythms and take no more than 90 minutes to complete, you can increase your confidence and sense of accomplishment. We can build momentum and make steady progress toward our goals, while also avoiding the pitfalls of procrastination, overwhelm, and burnout.
In conclusion, dear adventurer planning tasks or actions that take no more than 90 minutes to complete can add a degree of reliability to our planning and help you slay the lurking time trolls that can derail our productivity. By working with your body's natural Ultradian rhythms and breaking down big projects into smaller, manageable tasks, you can optimize your productivity, increase your confidence, and achieve your goals with greater ease and efficiency.