Every day at 3 PM EDT, the business news station, CNBC announces that the upcoming hour is the most important hour of the business day because it is the last hour of trading on the nation’s stock exchanges. For sure, that last hour is important for investors, perhaps it is even the last minute that is important for investors, but the question for us…What is our most important hour?
I read a blog post from Michael Hyatt last week that discussed that the first hour of the day is the most important hour. That can be a time when you awaken, do some meditating/praying and preparing for your day by establishing a routine that gets your day off to a great start.
While I would not dispute the importance of that first hour to help you set your day, I would prefer to ask the question of which hour is most important to us based on how our body rhythms work.
Most of us know that the sleep patterns runs in 90 minute increments called the circadian rhythm. we also have a daytime rhythm call the ultradian rhythm that runs in (guess what) 90 minute cycles. This biological fact means that your energy levels will rise and dip on a regular basis and that by respecting how that works, we can probably be more efficient and effective in what we get done.
I remember when I discovered this fact and it was when I was in graduate school working on my dissertation. I would go to the library early in the day to write and found that I could be focused on writing drafts for about 30 minutes and would then have to take a 15 minute break. I’d walk around a bit and then get back to it to write for another 30 minutes or so. After that, I’d need to go do something different since my creative juices were expended. I could put together 3 or these a day but that was about it and I had to be done by 3 PM or so. Got that dissertation done that way and have paid attention to energy and focus since then.
A few things you can do to discover and use your most important hour of the day include:
- Experiment with trying out different tasks that you want to get done during the day and see what is most efficient for you
- Ask yourself when you are most productive, excited and satisfied about getting things done
- Consider the idea that your most important hour may have nothing to do with work but with something else that you value as being important (time with your kids, your workout, enjoying nature)
- You are in control of your environment. If you decide that you want to get up at 4 AM to work on an article is right for you, go for it and if you decide that you want to take a nap at 4 PM, go for that also!
- Don’t forget that there are 24 hours in the day. I know someone whose most important hour is when they get up and lay in bed for a bit. They find their most creative time is spent musing in bed.