Most of the time you slog through the day, working your way down your never-ending to-do list. As your energy wanes, procrastination kicks into high gear and it gets more and more difficult to get things done.
What if there was a way to harness your energy and make it work for you?
Enter, your Golden Hour.
You may be familiar with what photographers refer to as the golden hour – an hour during the day where the natural light is just right for capturing beautiful photographs. This hour (there are two in each day) is so magical that photographers plan their work around it, using calculation tools for their region to predict when the most beautiful natural light will be available. Light is the most important tool for a photographer and so they plan their work to optimize it.
So, what the hell does this have to do with me? You might ask.
Let me explain.
Your energy levels change throughout the day. It can sometimes be controlled with well-timed snacks, exercise, naps and breaks (please, for crying out loud, take your lunch break!). But much of it is tied to your body’s natural cycle – your circadian rhythm.
You may have heard about the circadian rhythm (aka your body clock), in relation to sleep. But your circadian rhythm affects much more than your sleep. It has a profound influence on your changing energy levels during the day.
The quality and amount of work you accomplish, is completely dependent on your energy stores. So, knowing how your energy naturally ebbs and flows throughout the day works to your advantage.
It’s possible you’re already aware of your golden hour – that time of day when you have energy and are at your most creative and productive. Sometimes it’s more than an hour and may even span several. Or you may have multiple short bursts at different times during the day.
Over the next week, notice and record when these natural bursts of energy happen. You’ll likely discover they happen in predictable windows of time. And when that’s the case, you can plan to take advantage of them just as photographers do with the golden hour. (See how I brought that back around?)
Plan to do your most detail-oriented, intensely creative, focused work during your golden hour.
Also, take note of when you feel most depleted and sluggish during your day. Beware of the notorious 3pm wall-hitting, energy slump zone – a great time for a healthy snack or a quick nap (15 to 20 minutes is the sweet-spot).
If you must get something done, save your most automated tasks for these windows of time.
Once you’ve figured out when your golden hour hits, you can adjust to working with your natural energy cycles rather than forcing yourself to push through and get things done at sub-optimal times. And you’ll find its not only much more pleasant, you’ll also get a lot more done.