Not all hours are created equal

If you ask most people, what hours they would consider their peak periods of alertness, they would say early morning hours. After a good night’s rest, they are fully rested and have the energy to dive into almost any task with greater enthusiasm. It also helps that at those hours, there are often fewer distractions. People are yet to have their first arguments for the day and as a result are often in a happier place.

Unfortunately, the early morning hours are the time that a lot of people waste on trivial tasks. Many people wake up at dawn, reach for their phones and start checking social media. Unless you are managing the social media profile of a company for a living or work in customer care, that is probably not the most productive use of your time. How much more could you get done if you learnt to harness an hour or two each morning?

Hourglass against a backdrop of dawn
What did you do this morning?

What would happen if instead of reaching for your phone and social media, you did some stretching exercises and worked on a task on your to-do list? The latest tweets from your friends will still be there when you are done. More importantly, you can read them without any guilt knowing you have completed at least one task that has added value to your life.

Brian Tracy wrote about something similar in his book “Eat that Frog.” The basic idea is this: If the first thing you had to do in the morning was eat a live frog, you can probably go through the rest of the day knowing it’s the worst thing you will have to face. If you took your most important task for the day and completed it during the early morning hours, even if you did not complete any other task, you can go through the day knowing you made progress towards achieving your goal.

People standing in front of clocks
Have you gotten your most important task for the day done?

I love waking up early and I love the peace and quiet before the streets get busy and the sounds of passing cars and horns becomes a nuisance. I use those hours to read a good novel, study coursework for exams and to write first draft of articles for my blog before leaving for work. I get a lot achieved that way and my mood gets a powerful boost from seeing crossed off tasks on my to-do list for the day before I step out of the door. Can you think of a few tasks you could get done first thing in the morning before you touch your phone? Not all hours offer the same return on work done. Start harnessing the powers of the morning hours.

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