How to Protect your Most Productive Time
Reclaiming your time can entail a lot of things — yet one of them should be finding ways to make the most of your time; a straightforward way to do this is to create one focus hour throughout the day.
Every day, I take my first two hours to prioritise movement, journaling and goal setting, meditation, and food. Yes, before that, I always have a coffee, something you may not be too surprised about.
Since we’ve been home every day, I got back to this practice, and I am lucky my team works around my timings (just like I work around theirs). If you are a night owl, do not shoot the messenger just yet.
The proper routine may look entirely different for you depending on your commitments, the nature of your work and your priorities. Either way, getting up and getting dressed sets you up with the right frame of mind for the day.
In my book, Reclaim your Time Off, I talk extensively about focus hours and why having one hour of uninterrupted time can be very powerful for us.
The power of focus hours can be linked to our chronotypes: these are affected by our circadian rhythms (sleep and wake cycles).
We all have one energy peak (or even two) throughout the day. These energy peaks are the times when we can do our most analytical and focused work.
The first step is figuring out where your energy peaks.
In his book, The Power of When, sleep doctor Michael Breus studied a group of patients and divided them into 4 chronotypes: “bears” “lions” “wolves” and “dolphins”. Yet, for the sake of this exercise, I am simplifying the distinction to focus on three common patterns:
- AM-Shifted (or early birds)
- PM-shifted (or night owls)
- Biphasic — two peaks throughout the day
Is it in the morning is in the evening? If you can find that time and make sure that you have one hour to 90 minutes of uninterrupted work, that could be the best way for you to tackle the most significant projects you’re working on, on a given day.
What to do during a focus hour
First and foremost, eliminate any distractions.
Sixty minutes of uninterrupted work may feel a lot for you right now — here’s why starting to create boundaries and better communication is critical.
My top suggestion would be to enlist others to help you, whether it’s making sacred space for the hour or asking your partner to watch over the kids.
In his book Get Smart!, author Brian Tracy introduces the Law of Three.
The Law of Three is one excellent method. The Law of Three argues that just three of your tasks will represent 90 per cent of your results. The key, therefore, is to identify and focus your work on one of these three things.
We all know what a goal is; yet, each goal can be broken down into a series of objectives, which will be the core building blocks. The strategies are a collection of tasks that you’ll need to prioritise to complete an objective (yet, it’s much more complex than you may have thought at first).
Identify the most effective tasks that will make your strategy a success to achieve a particular goal, then highlight the top one task you can focus on every day to get closer to that goal.
Which strategies do I need to set in place to achieve this goal? What tasks does each strategy require?