Hour 2: Lifehacking the important yet cognitively undemanding

By Jonathan Roseland

Another common sense, yet uncommonly practiced productivity strategy...

There are two hours, every day that are key to your productivity; the first and last hours of your working day. In a previous video, we discussed Hour 1: Empire Building which is the first working hour of the day.

Hour 2 is the last working hour of the day.

I call it "Zombie Mode" because it's the time of the workday that you often feel totally spent; you can tell that your productivity is flattening out, and you may find yourself staring blankly at your screen - maybe your eyes are hurting. Most people think of this last working hour of the day as kind of a throwaway or invaluable time, since they don't have many moments of genius or inspiration that occur during it. Lots of people spend this time chatting with coworkers or surfing social media. You'll be surprised at the productivity gains you'll get from shifting your cognitively undemanding tasks and activities from the midst of the working day to Hour 2. Examples:

  • Paperwork
  • Copy pasting
  • Social media
  • Blog commenting
  • Video editing
  • Creating infographics
  • Fixing code
  • Project management spreadsheets
  • Repetitive programming tasks
  • Certain emails
  • Entering sales leads into your CRM software

Criteria for picking Hour 2: Zombie Mode tasksIt's something you could do while watching TV. 

Evernote is the tool I use to automate this; create a tag in Evernote called Hour 2 or Zombie Mode or whatever for when you have an activity that fits.


Why don't more people practice this?

A lot of time I will finish a task that I can tell is burning a lot of neurotransmitters. I will finish this task and I will feel good about myself and want to switch to something that doesn't take up quite so much mental energy. We feel like we have earned the right to do something more rote and process-oriented. 
But this is not the most efficient use of your neurotransmittersIf you are someone like me you invest pretty highly in calibrating the chemistry of your mind to do great work when you need to! Don't waste those neurotransmitters on anything less than a task that requires all your energy.

work mode productivityJonathan, deep in Zombie Mode...

Being a good Biohacker I've been doing some experimentation with my mental output and tracking the results. I've been Dual N-Back brain training at different times throughout the day and tracking the results. What I found was not surprising, which was that I do better at the game earlier in the day and if I wait till the evening after my energy is all spent, I do pretty terribly.

So this got me thinking, my tasks that take the most of my mental energy are the same way, the earlier in the day I do them the better job I will do. 

Leave a comment here

Let me know what cognitively undemanding tasks you are going to start "hacking" from the beginning and middle of your day and doing in Hour 2.


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