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 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 heck does this have to do with me?
So glad you asked. Let me explain.
Your energy levels change throughout the day. They can sometimes be controlled with well-timed snacks, exercise, naps and breaks.
But mostly, your energy levels are predetermined by your body’s natural cycle – your circadian rhythm.
You may have heard about the circadian rhythm (aka your body clock), when it comes to sleep. But did you know that 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 how much energy you have while you’re working. Which means that knowing how your energy naturally ebbs and flows throughout the day works to your advantage.
And here’s the thing, it’s different for everyone.
Figuring out your energy ebbs and flows is the key to finding your own personal golden hour.
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.
Here’s how to find (and take advantage of) your own golden hour.
Step 1: Notice Your Natural Energy Bursts
Pay special attention this week to when you get those bursts of energy throughout the day, and record them. You’ll likely discover they happen in predictable windows of time.
Step 2: Take Advantage of Them
When you uncover the pattern of your own energy bursts you can plan ahead to take advantage of them, just as photographers do with the golden hour.
Plan to do your most detail-oriented, intensely creative, focused work during your golden hour.
Step 3: Notice When Your Energy Wanes
Take note of when you feel most depleted and sluggish during your day. Beware of the notorious 3pm energy slump zone. This is a great time for a break to have a healthy snack or take 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.