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Elements of Practice

The Ideal Length of Time for Focused Work

5 min
Average Score

Andrew Huberman

Professor and Neuroscientist at Stanford University and Host of the Huberman Lab podcast

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In the world of sales, where every moment counts, the ability to stay focused is paramount. Distractions can be costly, both in terms of time and potential opportunities. Understanding and aligning your work with your body's ultradian cycles is a game-changer. It's not just about working harder; it's about working smarter. 

By recognizing the natural ebb and flow of your energy and attention, you can optimize your schedule to tackle critical tasks during your peak focus periods. This not only enhances your productivity but also allows you to deliver your best self to clients and prospects. So, take this knowledge to heart, embrace the power of ultradian cycles, and watch as your sales performance reaches new heights. In this session, you'll gain further insights into this productivity-enhancing approach.

Productivity is the name of the game. Sales representatives often find themselves juggling numerous tasks, from client meetings to lead generation and closing deals. But have you ever wondered how long you should try to focus to maximize your productivity? In this informative session, we'll delve into the science of ultradian cycles and how understanding them can help you become a more efficient and effective sales rep.

What Are Ultradian Cycles?

Ultradian cycles, like their more well-known cousin, circadian cycles, govern our daily activities. While circadian cycles are about 24 hours and regulate our sleep-wake patterns, ultradian cycles operate on a shorter, approximately 90-minute timescale. These cycles affect various aspects of our mental and physical functioning, including focus and energy levels.

Optimizing Focus for Sales Success

Imagine you're gearing up for a crucial client presentation or an intense day of prospecting. How long should your focus session be to make the most of your time and energy? Research suggests that aiming for around 90 minutes is ideal. This duration aligns with our brain's natural ultradian cycles and maximizes productivity.

Begin your focus session by setting a timer for 90 minutes. It's important to note that the first few minutes (approximately 5-10) serve as a transition period. Think of it as a warm-up for your focus. Embrace this transition time as part of the 90-minute session.

Once you're in the zone, dive into your sales tasks, whether it's preparing pitches, making calls, or strategizing. However, it's essential to acknowledge that occasional distractions or dips in focus may occur. The key is to gently guide your focus back, much like narrowing the broad tip of an arrowhead.

The Metabolic Demands of Focus

Your brain is a voracious consumer of metabolic energy, primarily in the form of calories. This metabolic demand is why, after a productive 90-minute session, you may start feeling tired or even exhausted. To maintain peak performance, it's crucial to engage in deliberate defocusing.

The Art of Deliberate Defocus

Deliberate defocusing involves taking a break after your 90-minute focus session, lasting anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. During this time, engage in tasks that require minimal concentration. This period of idling is essential for recharging your mental faculties, similar to how rest between sets in resistance training enhances performance.

As tempting as it may be to check your phone or dive into other digital distractions, resist the urge. Research has shown that excessive phone use during breaks can hinder productivity. Instead, use this time to let your mind wander, engage in light physical activity, or simply relax without specific goals in mind.

The Role of Sleep in Restoration

While deliberate defocusing is vital during your waking hours, the ultimate restoration of your cognitive abilities occurs during sleep. This is when your mind has the freedom to roam without conscious control, facilitating mental rejuvenation. Ensure you get sufficient, quality sleep to maintain your productivity levels consistently.

Watch This Session to Learn More

Want to dive deeper into the science behind ultradian cycles and discover practical strategies for optimizing your productivity as a sales rep? Watch the video session linked below. Learn how to harness the power of these cycles to supercharge your sales efforts and maintain peak performance throughout the day.

Incorporate these insights into your daily routine, and you'll find yourself better equipped to tackle the demands of the sales profession. Remember, it's not just about how long you work, but how effectively you manage your focus and recovery time. Stay productive, stay successful!

For additional resources on sales strategies and productivity, explore these external reference links:

Remember, your journey to becoming a more productive sales rep begins with understanding and leveraging your body's natural rhythms. Watch the session and start optimizing your focus and productivity today!

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