Lifestyle + Wellness

The ‘two-hour rule’ that will help you get stuff done

Breaking your day into bite-sized chunks – and doing the right type of work at the right time – will help you do more, with less effort.

How many times do you get to the end of your day and, despite rushing from job to job, you haven’t done as much as you’d planned?

The hours fly by and suddenly you’re playing catch-up. And the next day it’s exactly the same…

You can get more done with a little less effort by breaking your working day into two-hour blocks, says Donna McGeorge, business mentor and author of The First 2 Hours.

It’s all about working with our body clock.

“At a basic level, we’re designed to wake up when the sun comes up and to do mental activity until lunchtime. In the afternoon, we’re better geared for physical tasks,” says Donna.

“Think about your day in terms of doing the work that your body and brain are designed to do at certain times.”

Here’s how to break your day into two-hour blocks:

The first two-hour block: Be proactive

This is the “proactive: phase and it’s when you should do your most important work.

“You will get the best bang for your buck at this time of day,” Donna explains.

“Your brain is ready to do work that requires intense thinking and analysis.”

If you have a big report to write, data to analyse, a strategy to develop, or a lengthy and complex email to construct, this is the right time to do it.

The second block: Be reactive

During the “reactive” phase your brain still has some deep-thinking capacity left.

“You can keep doing what you were doing during the first two hours or use this time to help people who need you,” says Donna.

“You can hold meetings or mentor and advise other people because your brain is still functioning at a high level.”

two-hour rule

The third block: Be active

After lunchtime comes the “active” stage.

“You are mentally slower but have more physical dexterity,” Donna says.

“So do the repetitive tasks – do the filing, process emails or shred documents.

“It’s also a good time for physical activity, like going for a short walk.”

This is the time to do chores at work or at home that don’t need much thought.

The fourth block: Be pre-active

This is when you should set yourself up for the next day.

“Make decisions now that will ease pressure for you tomorrow,” advises Donna.

“What will you wear, what route will you take to your first appointment, which meetings can you get ready for?

“This stage is like the full stop at the end of the day.”

Written by Sarah Marinos.

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