So today is going to be a very short one –
I’ve got to leave my house in probably around 30 minutes as I’m having laser eye surgery today.
Which is why today’s topic is a powerful one.
I’m going to attempt to have a ‘power 30 minutes’ – and see how much of this blogpost I can knock out within that timeframe.
I’ve got white noise playing via VLC media player (it’s one I ripped from YouTube that is 4 hours+ long), and I’m sat, comfortable – with no other distractions.
Apart from my laser eye surgery (oh the irony as I’m using glasses as I write this).
As it turns out I’ve got to leave in 15 minutes from now – so the 30 minutes I had planned has just turned into half of that.
However, this underlines the point of ultimately having power hours.
A power hour is ultimately an hour of extreme focus where you do nothing else but whatever it is you choose to focus upon.
I, I guess in some senses – try and do this every day in the morning with these blog posts that I write.
If you’ve read some of my other blogs you’ll see that generally speaking, I’m able to push out a decent amount of (hopefully) relevant content in a relatively short amount of time.
The way I make this happen to a large degree is using the process I’m actually in the middle of right now.
Albeit it doesn’t have such a significant and ‘real’ deadline as the one I’ve got today.
This is the literal ‘power’ of the power hour, however.
It creates an urgency within you that narrows the mind and forces you to focus upon getting whatever that ‘thing is’ done – in a short amount of time.
Most of us, most of the time – don’t really use the full power of our focus.
And this is the amazing thing about our ability to focus.
Under the right conditions – you can use ‘power hours’ to make more progress – or rather the same progress – someone else makes in 3-4 hours.
This is anecdotal evidence based upon what I’ve seen myself being able to do today with the power of focus Versus historically how I’d fritter away my time by simply not creating any urgency.
Consequently – I just used my time highly ineffectively.
So – as much as multi-tasking is critical to success today – if you ‘multi-task’ by doing different things throughout your day – you can still imbibe focus and extreme progress into it – by incorporating power hours.
They have the ability to narrow the mind and focus on the task at hand.
I’ll give you some personal examples of how you could apply this to your everyday life:
One ‘Power Hour’ Of Cold Calling
Jude, my head of outbound sales – spent the last 2-weeks of the last 3-months doing power hour dials on a daily basis.
He told me – that in those last 2-weeks he made more progress with his sales calls than he did in the last 10 weeks through being ‘busy’ without necessarily being productive.
One ‘Power Hour’ Of Client Reviews
Once a week I’ll do a power hour of spending one hour just literally ‘thinking’ about what’s happening with our clients – and thinking about whether we’re meeting goals – where we’re falling short and what can be done to improve their results
One ‘Power Hour’ Of Working On Your Business Not In Your Business
This is the time I’ll spend (currently ineffectively being honest) but implementing some things that will make the overall business more effective.
Examples include – improving our onboarding process because a client asks a question that we’ve never covered in our forms before.
Improving our FAQs for current clients – for the same reason as above.
Recording training videos for all of the team to watch so they’re clear on roles and expectations
One ‘Power Hour’ Of Tidying Up
Again the same principle as above – where you put some time into tidying up and not doing anything else.
I’m sure you’ve done this several times (I know I have) – where someone’s coming over and you need to get the house looking in shape – and so you do more cleaning in the hour before they arrive than you’ve done the rest of the week.
I could continue – but I think you get the idea.
Of course – I should add that this isn’t as easily done as it is said.
The challenge that all of us have is – how can you incorporate power-hours into your daily life.
And if you’re anything like me – how can you even focus for one hour straight on anything in general?
I’m pretty sure when it comes to learning how to focus for an hour solid – I’m not alone in this regard in struggling with it.
So here’s some advice on how to actually build power hour’s into your day and how to make it a successful habit in your life to really accelerate your progress:
How To Effectively Implement Power Hours
Focus on distraction reduction
What do you have in your environment that slows you down? Does that stop you from staying focussed? Broadly speaking – there are biologically several things that we’re hardwired to respond to, and two that matter
Sounds, especially those that are unexpected – are almost always interruptive. This can be someone shouting across your office, your house, the cafe – wherever it may be.
Try and work in an environment where you do have the opportunity to work in silence if you so choose. For a long time I used to love having ‘noise’ around me – but then I discovered that what I actually enjoyed was having people around me.
This comes more from my need to be around other humans because I spent the majority of my time by myself.
However, when it comes to actually listen to anyone around me speak – I realised I don’t like it at all.
This became something of a conundrum until I start listening to white noise.
It’s actually what I’m listening to now – and it’s been a game-changer.
White noise is excellent at blocking out all other sounds around me.
If you combine white noise with noise-cancelling headphones – that is also specifically designed to block out sounds around you…
It means you’ll be left with nothing but the sounds of white noise.
And what’s fantastic about this sound of static pretty much – is that because it’s consistent – it too fades into the background – but takes any external sounds with it as it simply covers them up.
So – all you’re left with is your own thoughts.
This one’s a little more challenging as you may be in an environment where there’s regular movement.
And again, what this is ultimately about – is pattern recognition.
White noise is a pattern of noise that is 100% consistent – this means your conscious mind doesn’t need to spend much (if any) energy processing the sound itself – thus freeing your mind to focus upon other things.
The same applies to movement.
If you’re sat in a cafe by the window – in the main you may get accustomed to people walking past outside from left to right and right to left.
And to some degree – you may well be able to fade this out.
But again – none of this movement will be 100% consistent, so there’ll always be part of your conscious mind that will flit away to quickly process it and then come back to your work.
Each time it flits away – you lose focus and it steals away from your power hour.
The sensible thing to do here then is to have these power hours when no-one else is around and to do them alone.
Unless of course, you do these power hours in groups.
Extreme Changes In Temperature
Too hot, and you’ll begin to get groggy or sleepy. Too cold and it’ll pull away from your focus. Somewhere in the middle where the temperature slides into the background – is the best.
With this one tbh, I actually prefer it to be slightly colder as this helps ensure I stay alert and focussed.
The slightest cold has an ability to keep me awake and keep me focussed.
I find that ‘just right’ can easily slip into ‘too warm’
Use Pomodoro’s/Countdown Clock
This may well be common sense but it does help narrow your mind’s focus. Having a count-down clock by when something has to be done – is useful in absence of having a real deadline.
You can see that I’m using one now. There’s no ‘real deadline’ as such – but the associative effect of a clock ticking down is sometimes strong enough to incite urgency within me to get this blog post written
Which leads me to the next point:
Create ‘urgency’ for your power hour’s – even if it’s false
Naturally, there isn’t a ‘life or death’ reason for why you need to do ‘power hours’ – but if you can create a sense of urgency for why you do them and why at that moment…
I think it’s an excellent way to progress your time.
What ‘urgency’ can you create that will really give you a kick up the backside with getting in your power hour or hour of power.
The Best Time For Power Hours
I find the best times of day for your hours of power is early in the morning.
You can take this blog right now as an example. As you saw – I started this, damn late (and have continued a couple of days later – here’s the time/day now tell the truth):
It’s Sunday, Strawberry is still in bed and I have the living room to ourselves in our small flat – and I enjoy the mornings for being a time of focus.
I.e it’s the perfect time to conduct my ‘office power hour’.
My living room table is basically my office until we get a bigger place and it’s where I conduct my morning power hours.
I’m fresh, my mind is alert – and it’s when I can do my best ‘focussed work’ before from 1030am onwards – my day becomes about ‘busy work’ – i.e responding to messages and dealing with clients.
I think that ‘power hour’s are ultimately about increasing your ability to ‘Eat That Frog’ coupled with having more regular bouts of focus.
Power hours offer the opportunity to focus upon ONE THING for literally 60 minutes – and produce a mountain of output.
I hope you see – as I discussed above that this blog is proof of the effectiveness of power hours.
I write one of these pieces every morning – and it can take anything from 50 minutes up to 2 hours – never longer.
And this content will live with me even in 50 years from now when I’m in my 85th year of life – I’ll be able to look back upon this content that I GUESS is evergreen – and say ‘wow’ – this is what I did with my ‘hour of power’.
THIS activity is important to me – but there are many more that I don’t do that I know I’d benefit from if I implemented MORE power hours in my diary.
The next one I wish to begin implementing is working on Plantsumo as a primary focus for one hour per day every day:
I’ve just added it for the next week.
Fantastic – let’s see what I’m able to achieve for Plant Sumo with ONE hour of focus upon it 5-days per week.
I’ll let you know how I get on in a week from now 🙂
Here are my efforts for this blog: