Originally featured on allbrightcollective.com by:
Photography by Inside Weather
Because it really is possible to tweak your morning routine and use that first 60 minutes of the day to work towards your goals...
We all know the feeling of never having enough time or energy to achieve our career goals, whether it’s overhauling our social media channels or taking those first steps towards a business launch. But what if you roped off the first hour of your day, straight after you woke up, to make those things actually happen? What if, instead of hitting snooze, scrolling through Instagram, or emptying the dishwasher, you worked instead on creating your dream career?
That’s the premise behind Adrienne Herbert’s hugely successful podcast – which has over 1.4 million downloads and counting – and new book, Power Hour. Here, the wellness professional, who has delivered talks to the likes of Apple and L’Oreal, shares what she knows about creating a productive first hour of the day.
1. Promote yourself to the top of your to-do list
First of all, reframe the way that you think about your time and your schedule. This is about reclaiming that first hour as your own before you start giving away your energy, your focus and your attention to everything and everyone else later in the day. Try not to think of it as a punishment to get up an hour earlier - you owe it to yourself to carve out time to work on your ambitions, whether it’s finetuning your personal brand or building a business. Starting with yourself isn’t selfish or self-indulgent. If anything, it’s essential.
There’s an exercise I really like doing before my power hour, which is called ‘six questions to answer before six’. The questions are:
What energy do you want to have today?
Who can you learn from today?
Who can help you today?
What one thing can you do today to take you closer to where you want to be a year from now?
What are you most looking forward to today?
What are you most grateful for today?
For me, it’s a great way to focus and you can change the questions to suit yourself. Sometimes, if you don’t know where to start, finding the answers to these questions can give your power hour some direction.
3. Make those 60 minutes non-negotiable
This is not time to get other stuff ticked off on your to-do list. Make the slot non-negotiable and think of it like this: if you had a work meeting you wouldn’t try to get other stuff done during that time.
I pretty much have a power hour every day, except for weekends. Honestly, I don’t know how I ever lived without one.
In order to form the habit of launching your day with a power hour, you need to understand yourself. Are you very all or nothing? Or are you someone who prefers to take micro-steps to gradually build up over time? Some people might do a power hour once a week to build the habit slowly, whereas others might do it every day. Once you know that, accept it and don’t berate yourself if you miss out one morning because you’re knackered and hit snooze. We’re all human.
5. Acknowledge that you can do hard things
If you’re not an early bird and find it difficult to get up in the morning, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. You can do hard things.
We often want things to be easy. We think, "If I do this for a week or a month, when am I going to get better at it?" But sometimes, you have to accept that certain things aren’t easy but they’re still worth doing.
The power hour isn’t about forgoing sleep. If you’re going to get up an hour earlier you really need to go to bed an hour earlier. It’s not always easy but it’s about prioritisation. If you have big ambitions then you need to create your own rules – do it your own way. That’s what worked for me.
7. Bag an accountability buddy
Willpower isn’t something you either have or don’t have. It’s a skill you can learn, like a muscle you can flex and grow. Why not get yourself an accountability buddy – a friend you can count on to motivate you and keep you on track with your goals?
If you like the idea, you could even switch it around: maybe you can be the accountability buddy for someone else? Often, we only look ahead and think about who can help us to get better. But actually, if you reverse the idea and ask who you can help, then the process can be just as useful and rewarding.
8. Streamline your set-up
Whatever you have planned for your power hour, get your environment ready the night before so that you don’t waste time in the morning. This gives you the best chance of succeeding. If you know that you’ll get distracted by your phone, keep it out of reach. While I certainly don’t demonise technology, notifications constantly pinging can steal our attention. When I was writing my book I’d leave my phone upstairs and go downstairs to write.
9. Productivity doesn't come from staring at a screen
Your power hour doesn’t necessarily have to involve sitting at your laptop. Give yourself the freedom to come up with ideas and concepts in other settings.
For instance, you might want to use your 60 minutes to go for a walk or do a guided meditation – you might surprise yourself with how many ideas you have during this time. You can jot them down afterwards and return to them later.
If you’re using your power hour to get a certain task done relating to your career, be specific with your deadline, otherwise there can be a tendency to stretch the project out, even if it’s something that can be done relatively quickly. Avoid being vague – pick a date, circle it on your calendar and work towards that.