Toni and I meet up every Friday and plan, discuss and generally work on our business for about 4 hours solid. We break this up into separate hours across the time spent together with a walk, lunch and often some coffee and cake. On Friday last it got me thinking how, very often, an hour is more productive in business than a whole day. I often get up well before 6.00 AM and will spend my first waking hour enjoying the day break through my office window. To me it’s always a renewed chance to do something different. It’s a new clean day to make an impact, to try something to make things better or tackle something in a new way.
Equally I know we all feel that on most days we need to sit in front of our computers, at our desks and focus solidly on our business and what it does rather than dream up ideas or make improvements. Being there in body doesn’t mean you are productive and often deciding that today you will spend just one or two hours on your business to improve things and do nothing else in terms of the real business you offer to clients will have a massive impact on our thoughts.
Stuff you can do in that lovely alone time
I am a self-confessed planner and short action list maker (1-3 things to do today and that’s it)and over the years I have been able to use simple tools to great effect. Setting a timer or online app to ping at the end of an hour set aside for one task is liberating. It could be grunt work like invoicing or admin, if you do this yourself, or creative work like sales copy or blogging. The main thing is whatever you decide to do is done in one hour, so it could be a massive task broken down into a manageable hour’s worth like say 10 invoices to chase or send or 2 x 350 word blogs or scheduling Social Media for 5 days or more.
It’s a successful habit which adds up. Just one hour devoted to your business improvements for example will spark off ideas to get you more business, save time or work less on some of the more routine aspects of your business processes. This morning, my ‘Golden Hour’ was spent reading through my VA’s notes on various projects and providing feedback and ideas so when he starts work across the world in a different time zone he is not waiting for me. This practice has made both of us a lot more efficient but we did not get there immediately when we started working together. It’s grown and developed and it’s time well spent as he is a very fast worker who requires minimal comments to give brilliant results, but he does need input and I have to make sure I am fully focused so he gets the best instructions and I get the best results.
This also got me thinking about how I use an hour. When I am consulting I know exactly what I can do in an hour for a client and equally understand how tiring an hour of solid focus is. It’s much harder when I calculate what someone else does with their hour. I might tell my VA that a complex form is about an hour’s work and it could actually take 3 and I might take a day to set up a WordPress Site and install all I need on it and he will take half that time. I have learned to ask them what time it might take them as the answer often surprises me!
How do you use your time?
I also sometimes struggle when things are very busy and I cannot see where the hour can be found. Normally this means getting help in other places, watching less TV or getting up earlier before the noise of the day. That first hour of the new day for me is the most energising start. Whatever else the day has to offer if I can keep that first hour to myself I know I have achieved what I need and it puts into perspective any time spent later where I have less control over how it is spent.
So, big question now is when and what for are you going to take your Golden Hour today? Let us know in the box below, or get in touch on Social Media using the buttons on this page. We would love to hear from you.