I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This isn’t what I wanted to do when I was growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it wasn’t what I dreamt of. No, when I was a kid, I didn’t understood what it meant to have a career. Heck, I didn’t understand what work was. I did, however, know exactly what I wanted to be, and I’m sure there were plenty of other kids out there at the time (and probably still are now) who wanted to be the same thing: Batman.
Who wouldn’t want to be the Caped Crusader? Shrouded in mystery, battling evil doers, driving a pretty awesome car. How could you not want that? As I grew older and reality took control, I realised that being Batman was never going to happen, but if I couldn’t be the greatest detective ever, Sherlock Holmes notwithstanding, then I could at least learn from him.
Over the years Batman has taught me a great deal. For instance, you can never go wrong with a good black outfit; capes however, they don’t traditionally work in the modern workplace. These two lessons aside, he’s also taught me a lot about productivity. So in light of Batman’s 75th birthday, here are a few of those lessons.
FIGURE OUT WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU
Generally, Batman’s peak business hours are between dusk and dawn, and in the times he isn’t working (beating up on bad guys) he spends his off-peak hours researching, exercising, socialising and resting.
Similarly, it’s important to get a grip on which periods of the day you’re most effective. Some people thrive in the morning; they’re fresh, alert and raring to go. Others prefer to work later in the day, while others still find they do their best work at night. It’s important to figure out when you work best and make the most of it.
Everybody experiences productivity lulls throughout the day, so plan your days accordingly. During your lulls, unplug from work, take a break, have a snack, a cup of tea or go for a quick walk. You’ll feel more refreshed and everyone will benefit.
FACE YOUR FEARS
Every superhero has an origin story, and Batman is no exception. If Bruce Wayne didn’t face his fears, he would never have spent his prodigious wealth, donned the cowl and codpiece and become, arguably, the world’s most famous superhero.
If you reflect on your everyday working life, you will surely find something you’re afraid of. Whether it’s public speaking, working on strategy documents, speaking to customers or interviews in general, there’s always we aren’t comfortable with and tend to put off.
Like Batman, facing your fear directly, such as getting up in front of your team and presenting, will go a long way to helping you overcome them.
Batman has lots of rituals. When he needs to think, he descends to the Bat Cave. When he goes work, he puts on his uniform and, more than anything else, he plans methodically for almost every eventuality.
Numerous studies have shown that when we use rituals throughout the day we become more productive. Essentially, your brain works better in familiar situations. For example, research has shown students studying for exams perform better if they study in an environment that mimics exam conditions, while those that study in front of the TV or listening to music perform worse.
While in the office, you can develop rituals that produce cues for your brain to kick into gear. Set out a plan to check your e-mail at specific times throughout the day or try and block out a time for meetings or specific tasks each day. Knowing that you have a client meeting at 9:00 a.m. without having to look at your calendar or knowing who the client is will actually free up your mind, so you can focus on other tasks over the course of the day.
Try loading your calendar with future time slots during which you would like to be in front of potential clients, even though you don’t know who those clients will be.
ASK FOR HELP
Despite being consistently portrayed as a broody loner, even Batman has to rely on others for help. Whether it was Lucius Fox developing extraordinary gadgets for him, Commissioner Gordon making life easier on a political level or his trusty butler Alfred who does the dishes and is his chief confidant, he always has someone to help him out.
If Batman can ask for help, so can you. Too often we feel like we have to do things on our own, or are afraid to ask our managers or colleagues for help and in many cases, those in leadership positions can feel especially isolated or lonely.
Try and find a mentor or confidant to talk to. Find someone with more experience than you and invite them to have coffee monthly. Most people will be flattered and will be happy to act as a mentor.
Originally published at: https://theinstitute.com.au/members-centre/articles/2014/05/what-batman-taught-me-about-productivity