A Success Technique For Right Brained People

There is a lot of talk today about the difference between Left Brained linear thinking and Right Brained creative thinking. I’ve just finished a great book on the subject, entitled A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink.

While the differences are great, on a practical side one of the main distinctions is that left brain thinkers are linear and sequential. They are great at making lists and getting things done.

Right brained, creative types are more big picture oriented and tend to be random and intuitive thinkers. While this trait is great for creativity, it can hamper step by step progress on a project or task.

right-brain-thinking

As a certified right brainer, I have struggled with To-Do lists and get distracted easily on tedious tasks. I have worked through organizational programs such as GTD by David Allen and have found them useful, but sometimes frustrating. My right brain and outside influences keep distracting me.

Success Techniques for Right Brained People

Luckily I ran across a technique a few years ago that has worked wonders in my life. It is called The Power of 48 minutes and it’s simple premise is effective every time I try it.

Here’s how it works… Set a timer for 48 minutes. Close out all distractions and work continuously for 48 minutes on one project. When the timer goes off, get up and stretch, get coffee, use the restroom etc, in the following 12 minutes. Repeat as necessary.

At home, this means closing my web browser, turning off e-mail, and working on one project at a time. It means having a full cup of coffee and putting myself in a quiet and comfortable work environment.

At work, it means closing my office door, shutting off e-mail and the e-mail reminder in Outlook, closing my browser, and focusing on one task at a time. My paper based daily route sheet works wonders here.

In both cases I use a countdown timer on my iPod touch and work straight through for 48 minutes.

When the time is up I take a 12 minute break and either finish up what I’m doing or set myself up for another 48 minute session.

This technique works wonders for larger projects such as book writing, blog posting, and web design. If you have never tried this before, do a little preparation and give it a go. You’ll be amazed how useful it can be. A simple egg timer works wonders here.

It looks like my 48 minutes is about up… until next time… keep focused with the Power of 48 minutes.

Question: Do you have any success techniques that you would like to share?

Comments

  1. says

    John,

    48 minutes sounds like a good plan. Did you start with that length of time or build up to it? I think I am a right brainer too.

    Looking forward to more writing and reading your soon to be published book.

  2. says

    I love it when I am able to actually find interesting and useful information on blogs. Thank you.

    As a facilitator and trainer I like to teach without use of the powerpoint. My theory is the computer locks us into our linear mind and hamper creativity when brainstorming ideas. We use paper, pen, pencils, movemnet, and flip chart paper all over the wall to get our right brain going.

    Do love the 48 minute exercise and think I will give it a go. The 48 minute time frame will allow me to work gung ho on a project, then set it aside for 12 minutes while my batteries recharge and I’m ready to go again.

  3. says

    I love it when I am able to actually find interesting and useful information on blogs. Thank you.

    As a facilitator and trainer I like to teach without use of the powerpoint. My theory is the computer locks us into our linear mind and hamper creativity when brainstorming ideas. We use paper, pen, pencils, movement, and flip chart paper all over the wall to get our right brain going.

    Do love the 48 minute exercise and think I will give it a go. The 48 minute time frame will allow me to work gung ho on a project, then set it aside for 12 minutes while my batteries recharge and I’m ready to go again.

  4. says

    Wow!

    I used this technique when I was in boarding school – when I was working hard to get a scholarship.

    But 15 years later, I have totally forgotten this effective technique. Thanks for reminding me that I should use it again for my work too.

  5. says

    Christie, thank you for the reply. I have tried different lengths of time, but I have found that 48 minutes works really well for longer projects. The number 48 is divisible in many ways (1/2, 1/3 etc), so it is easy to break longer tasks into smaller parts. It also breaks an hour into 80% focused and 20% unfocused which is a good use of the 80-20 rule.

    I have also had good luck using 50 minutes, since that is divisible into 5 and 10 minute segments. This might be an ideal solution for people making sales calls. Just limit each call to 5 minutes and make 10 an hour.

    The main thing is to focus on one task at a time and to turn off the distractions such as e-mail and unneeded browser windows.

  6. says

    Hi there John, I’ve just spent a delight 48 minutes perusing your site and loving all the clever tips based around printable cards – a man who thinks like I do!

    I’ve just landed on this article and read it with delight because I’m left-brained AND right-brained – a silk artist/textile designer and an online media strategist helping businesses with marketing & lots more.

    Tomorrow I’ll give this a 48 minute whirl and see how it feels – I waver constantly between arty-loving-untidiness and techie-girl-needing-organisation :-)
    cheers
    Teena

    • John Richardson says

      Hi Teena, thank for your comment. I’ve had really good luck with the 48 minute time box. It really helps when I have a LOT to do and need focus. Just set the timer, turn off distractions, and go. Works better than most anything else I’ve tried.

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