You may have read and watched thousands of articles and hundreds of videos teaching you how to manage time effectively. They either tell you to make a perfect timetable and stick to it or they tell you to prioritize all your business so you can allocate time in order. For the former, there are indeed examples of success like Alexandrovich Lyubishchev, known for his “better life” method, who kept recording his time for 56 years until he died which earned him plenty of academic achievements. But let’s be honest, we are not experts in time like Lyubishchey, and for most of us, following the timetable and making every single record of our life is not so practical. For the latter, ranking things is also not easy since you always need to measure the urgency and importance and make choices between them. Sometimes you can only take care of the urgency, but ignore the importance which may cause problems.
So, after all this discussion, what is so different about the book “Two Awesome Hours”? The author Josh Davis takes a totally different way to see how to improve the use of time without applying a strict timetable or prioritizing things. He talks about physical potency, which is how to adjust our bodies to a peak when we are dealing with one thing and so on make efficient use of time. The title of the book, “Two Awesome Hours”, does not mean that you need to create or find your two most important hours every day and that the rest of the time does not matter. It refers to mobilizing the body’s energy when we need it to quickly get into a productive working status. This process of mobilizing and adjusting could be 30 minutes long , 2 hours long – like the title says, or more.
“Two Awesome Hours” introduces five strategies to improve our bodies’ performance:
- Recognize your decision points:
Between every action, we need to stop to think about what is truly needed next. Whether it’s about your job or schoolwork, we need to avoid running unconsciously by a series of procedures which usually keeps us in a seemingly busy status but actually nothing significant or important is finished. A short pause helps recapture the initiative and take control of our time consciously.
- Manage your mental energy:
What people usually don’t pay attention to is the fluctuation of mental energy. Like the energy of our body, the energy of our mind changes with surroundings. So we need to manage it like how we manage our body and keep it in the right condition for doing critical tasks. The reason why we tend to ignore the mental exertion is that it’s not as obvious as physical exertion. When you are physically exhausted, you sweat and feel weakness in the limbs and your heart rate goes up. These are palpable. While, when you have run out of a certain amount of brainpower, the performance is you become dull and you can’t focus or think in depth which is not going to be noticed or taken seriously.
- Stop fighting distractions:
The author states that we should stop blaming ourselves for being distracted because it is just the characteristic of the brain that our attention cannot be focused for a long time. It is the result of evolution. Well, you know, a primitive man in the wilderness, if he can’t be observant and alert, he is going to be eaten by other animals. So allocating a certain part of attention in the external environment is just one attribute that comes with the brain. When this happens, letting our mind wander or taking a few minutes to stare out the window may actually help us to refocus.
- Leverage your mind-body connection:
We all know that when our bodies are in good condition, we are more likely to pay attention and work effectively. The author mentions that our minds and bodies are intertwined and that’s why we need to focus as much on our physical health as our mental health. We can keep our bodies in health by simply staying hydrated, eating smaller meals but more often and doing moderate exercise.
- Make your workspace work for you:
If you do not want to be distracted, find a place that will not distract you. The author recommends to choose a quiet area with bright and cool lighting rather than a warm and dim one and keeping your desk uncluttered when we try to focus on our work.
Davis shows us how to use time wisely and be productive connecting to our biology. Again, don’t struggle to produce your perfect 2 hours, but take your time slowly so you can bring yourself to the peak. It is totally fine if you want to put more time into practicing it and making the adjustment. Lastly, I wish you all 2 awesome hours!