Experts tell us it can take as long as three weeks to regain our natural rhythms after the switch to daylight savings time. But adjusting your clocks doesn’t have to just mean lost sleep and more coffee. With a little effort and some planning, it’s easy to turn daylight savings from a minor disruption to a major benefit for your creative practice. Spend this time refreshing your goals, resetting your work habits, and taking advantage of longer days to get more done, and you may be surprised to find you don’t even miss the extra hour of rest (at least some of the time).
Make a Fresh Start
According to a series of studies by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, any landmark event — from New Year’s Day to birthdays to, yep, resetting the clock — can give us the psychological advantage of the “fresh start effect.” We start to see old behaviors as belonging to another time, and find new motivation and commitment by looking to the future.
To create your own “fresh start,” begin by clearly identifying long-term goals. Do you want to develop an entirely new career, launch a side hustle, or just acquire that specialized creative skill you’ve always wanted? The next step is to develop a game plan. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by large goals, so try to break down your game plan into small, easy-to-accomplish pieces. Do you first need to renew on old contacts to find that dream job? Set a goal for one in-person meeting per week. Or maybe you’d like to create your very first oil painting by the start of summer? Whatever your short-term goals, take out your calendar and write down projected milestones. Start each day by going over the calendar to focus on those goals and keep potential obstacles at bay.
Refine Your Work Habits
Because daylight savings essentially brings an additional hour of daylight to our workday, it’s the ideal time to take a critical look at long-held habits and find areas for improvement. Here are few tried-and-true methods for increasing work- time productivity:
— Start your workday earlier. It may seem counterintuitive to wake up earlier than normal when you’ve just lost an hour to daylight savings. But you’re already making one adjustment, so why not make two for the price of one? The payoff is the chance to devote newly extended evening hours to non-work passions.
— Use the 80/20 rule. Also known as the Pareto Principle (for its discoverer, economist Vilfredo Pareto), the rule suggests that in any endeavor, 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts. Identify and focus on the most important 20% of what you do and limit the time-wasting 80%, and you’ll transform your workday into a model of efficiency.
— Avoid multitasking. Today, many take pride in their ability to juggle tasks and get different things at the same time. But recent research has revealed multi-tasking as the enemy of efficiency. Our brains are designed for deep focus, not rapid switching of attention. Don’t waste time getting back up to speed every time you switch tasks and you’ll add hours of productivity to your day.
Looking for more ways to be productive this time of year? Skillshare has dozens of classes to help you define your goals, boost your efficiency, and pursue your passion. Click here to explore them.
Thumbnail/banner image by Skillshare student Mark S.