If you want to be productive, guard two hours of your day.
For me, that’s 6AM to 8AM. And in some days when I need to do heavy lifting at work, that extends to 4AM to 8AM. Not a morning person? Try 11PM to 1AM. But the premise is simple – these are the two hours you get important work done.
A few rules to maximize these two hours:
- This time is for Important work, not Urgent Work. Do things like dreaming for the future, planning & strategizing your next move, creating THAT presentation or pitch deck, learning something new, thinking about what you can do differently, problem-solving, praying, exercising, or figuring out how to communicate with someone.
- Do it consistently. Sunny days, rainy days, workdays, vacation days, weekdays, weekends – EVERY DAY. What you do during that time will change (i.e. on vacation days you can use it to think about your family or faith) – but you keep doing it.
As with all things in life, it’s not the big steps that are of importance, but the small steps that you consistently take that will really move you forward.
- The night before, already write down what you will do in those two hours. So when you wake up, you won’t use up your grey cells just choosing what to do. If you list your goals for those two hours beforehand, you free yourself up to work on them as soon as you wake up.
- Do not put too much on your task list. If you are just starting this habit, go for only ONE thing per day. You can build it up to 3-4 at most. But that’s it. The fewer (but bigger) tasks, the better.
- It is also OK to choose ‘REST’ as a ‘task’ during those two hours. Just not every day! We have to listen to our bodies and sometimes, extra REST is the most important thing we can do at the start of the day.
As you build this simple habit, you will see that the rest of your day you will feel more energized because you already have momentum. You will also see that you are less stressed – because you know you’ve done the important things already. And finally, you will be more patient with issues and interruptions – because anyway, everything you accomplish after those first two hours, is just a bonus.