Have you ever started the day and things just seem to go completely wrong? You get ready in the morning and you get stuck in a traffic jam ending up being late for your appointment. The day starts in a bad way and it gets worse. Or
maybe you have your to-do list you want to get through but by lunchtime, you haven’t completed anything off it. This kind of day can leave you feeling bad and often writing off the day before it’s even dinner time. On such days where things don’t go to plan, your critical inner voice can take over leaving you feeling negative about your day and of yourself. Which then spirals into feeling unproductive and unhappy.
A recent TikTok trend described how to improve your productivity by dividing the day into 4 quarters. This method increases your productivity and motivation and I also believe it can be used to improve your mindset and happiness. This is the Four Quarter method.
What is the „Four Quarters“ method?
The day is divided into four quarters. We usually feel more motivated and energised at the start of the day so you are tricking your brain into seeing each quarter as a new day. And therefore, in terms of productivity, we have four new starts in the day. .
What are the four quarters?
The day starts with the morning quarter (5.00am to 9.00 am), followed by the late morning quarter (9.00am to 1.00pm), then the afternoon quarter (2.00pm to 7.00 pm) and ends with the evening quarter (7pm onwards). Each person can adjust the quarters based on their chronotype: if someone is an early bird or a late owl, the quarters can shift earlier or later.
Why does the Four Quarter method work?
In terms of being productive, splitting your day into four quarters allows you to be focused for set periods of time and to harness that new start, new task feeling. Furthermore, in terms of your mindset, if you don’t achieve your goals in one quarter you have three more in which to reset and restart. The day is not lost. Rather than thinking, today is a right off, you can take a break and reset and come back to a new quarter ready to try again. It is a circuit breaker for the negativity that can easily spiral and with practice creates a healthier and more positive mindset.
The power of the four quarter method
This is a method that teaches your brain to think that there are four starts in a day, so you can begin over if the first quarter, or indeed any quarter, doesn’t go well. The four quarter method has parallels with how many sports are set up.. Most sports have breaks. Football has two halves. A team can be losing during the first half and then get a pep talk during the break and come back with plenty of time to score and win.
American football is divided into four quarters and the teams have four chances to score and win the match. In a similar way, if a quarter of your day doesn’t go to plan and you don’t get anything done, you have got another three chances to change the course of your day.
What you are doing is starting over in a different way and it allows you to be more productive. It’s incredibly motivating rather than just feeling like it goes downhill for the rest of the day. You feel in control of your day. It is a nice way to re-frame our mind and not write off the day as a disaster.
The four quarter method also has similarities with the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique sets 25 minutes for each task. Being focused on the task for 25 minutes increases productivity.
So often at the end of the day, we can have the tendency to focus on what we did not do during the day and not on what we did do. If you look at what you did during the day using the quarters you will be able to reflect and see that you did infact accomplish a lot.
People often complain about a lack of motivation at work. How can you get more motivated? If you are struggling or you are not enjoying something or you feel overwhelmed, then you can break down what you need to do into much smaller chunks and address them over one or multiple quarters. If you don’t get everything done by 9 am, don’t beat yourself up because you’ve still got three more starts to the day!
How to reset from a negative quarter
If the quarter did not go as planned, have a break and ensure that you do something completely different: take a walk, have a shower, make some lunch, read a book, or have a mindful tea moment and just give yourself that little break that will give you extra energy and help make the cognitive transition to approach the next quarter. If the day does not start as you wish, instead of beating yourself up all day, use a circuit breaker and then continue with the next quarter to change and take control of the day.
Happiness Evangelist, Life Coach, Best-Selling Author and Speaker with over 30 years of experience, helping you to live a happy and fulfilling life.
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