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Dirk Gently and Time Management

Posted On - 22/04/2016 09:06:19

Dirk Gently and the Holistic Detective AgencyIf you don't know Dirk he's a detective. He runs a "holistic detective agency". Why holistic? Because he uses the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things" to find the whole criminal.

What's this got to do with time management?

Quite a lot really. Because your mind and body are connected. Not just a bit, a lot. So if you think you can get better at managing time by just using your head, think again...

You are out of control. Oh yes, you are

None of us is fully in control of our time. On holiday on your own, there are things to do and deadlines. At work!? Well, you know what's coming. Days are filled with things you planned months ago, work carried over from yesterday, new work coming in today, visits, calls, enquiries, problems, emergencies... Even if the work is just putting the job off until tomorrow, you've still had to juggle and decide that's what's best to do! A deluge of stuff grinding and gnawing at you. Problem is for some of it, you have to be at your best.

Waste time going for a walk?

It is proven the restorative effects of simply stopping work, going outside and doing absolutely nothing are huge.

Irrefutable proof that taking twenty minutes to sit with the sun on your face, getting some fresh air and letting your mind wander is genuinely better than any other kind of break.

Yet so few of us act on this. We know it makes sense yet we deny our intuition. We push on, it's what we've always done, how can being less productive make us more? No!

But it doesn't work like this. The research says time out - spent right - isn't a dodge, it's work. It's just a different task. More than that, it's important. And, when you need it, urgent.


Taking breaks isn't the only way to revitalise yourself: exercise, food and drink have marked impacts too. This isn't some dig at being healthy, it's about how you can use these things to manage your productivity.

You know tea and coffee affect you. You know a heavy meal makes you sluggish. How after lunch you feel tired. You may also know you feel good after a walk. And if you exercise you'll be familiar with the hit of a workout.

Yet just like not taking breaks, we chain-drink coffee and scoff biscuits slumped at our desks. It's as though we're trying to be unproductive. If we want to be better at managing our time - if it's the problem we all seem to say it is - we have to take on all the advice that helps us be productive. So when it comes to food, drink and exercise we have to think differently.

Mickie Finn

Now we're not suggesting you take drugs or rob customers. But we are that you pep yourselves up using your body and what you consume. The instant you find you're anxious, struggling or especially if you're feeling down, do something about it - literally. Because the effects of food, drink and exercise are surprisingly quick.

If you can, get outside and take a brisk walk. Twenty minutes will reboot you. Raining? Walk up and down stairs. Run on the spot. Anything that gets you moving and breathing deeply.

This isn't just about literally shaking yourself awake, exercise enhances executive functions (we talked about them in "Mental and Emotional Fitness"), sharpens attention – meaning you're less open to distractions - and makes you feel good. Not just because you've done it and been good boys and girls, it's because you're blood is flowing, you've filled your lungs and tripped your endorphins.

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