“That first hour for yourself, it’s terribly inspiring.” Angela is on the phone. She works at a library. A typical day fills up on its own, but she never gets around to the things she really wants to do. New assignments come in via email, a colleague stops by, and then she has to attend a meeting. Everything is going fine, but something gnawed at her. She has various ideas about how things could be better and different, but she rarely finds the time to develop her ideas. However, there is a need for innovation in the library.
The last time I spoke to her, I gave her a golden tip. A tip I once received myself. It has helped me many times. And I often hear from people that it helps them too.
The golden tip is to spend the first hour of the day on something you really consider important. The first hour of the workday is often when your concentration is at its highest. In that first hour, you can get a lot done. Often, that hour is spent on settling in, organizing your work, and reading emails. It’s okay to do that, but not the best way to use your fresh energy.
To make your golden first hour of the day truly effective, plan the night before what you will do during that hour. Make sure it’s a manageable task that you can start immediately. This way, you don’t have to think in the morning, and you can start right away.
You might be thinking that this is not possible for you. Esther thought the same. She leads a team of secretaries, and they ask her many questions throughout the day. “It will be very difficult to keep the first hour for myself,” she said. After our conversation, she talked to the secretaries. They now start the day with a 10-minute coffee break where they can ask important questions. After that, Esther begins her golden hour, and the agreement is not to disturb her.
Michel is a teacher, and on days when he has to teach, he often can’t apply the tip. “No problem, then you don’t do it on those days,” I told him. On other days, however, it works fine. Ellen used to find an hour too long. Now she has reduced it to half an hour.
To make the tip work for you, you can adapt it to your circumstances. Is an hour too long? Then choose half an hour. Can’t do it every day? Choose a few days when you can. Is the environment too busy? Perhaps you can work from home during your first hour. In short, you can tailor your golden hour to work well for you.
Completing a task gives people a satisfying feeling about their workday. Making use of the golden hour ensures that you have already completed a task at the beginning of the day. How would it be if you could also pay attention to something you really consider important? It works very well for Angela. After applying the tip for a week, she is enthusiastic. She has been able to do quite a bit of research on the internet and now has a list of ideas. Next week, she will further develop one of these ideas so that she can present it to her colleagues after her vacation.