The Magic Hour

sunrise-riverToo many people spend their day reacting instead of being in control and spending time on the most important things. As a result, they work a lot but accomplish only a little, and the mountain of things to do never seems to dwindle.

This occurs because most people do not stop to first plan their day. The whims and fires of each day control them, as opposed to them ensuring their time is spent on the highest value tasks.

A common myth Hyrum Smith writes about in The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management is that people just don’t have time to plan each day, but that, of course, is ridiculous and a self-fulfilling prophecy. True, you have to give up some time to plan, but that time spent will save you oodles of time later and give you a true sense of accomplishment when you are in control and working on what is most important.

That is where the Magic Hour comes in.

As Smith explains, the Magic Hour is a block of time that is generally uninterrupted when you can focus on the things beyond the normal urgencies and activities of the day. My Magic Hour is before my family wakes up, but yours could be between 9 and 10 p.m. or whenever you’d like. It doesn’t matter when; just establish it at some point throughout the day.

Then use 10 to 15 minutes of that Magic Hour planning the upcoming day with the following six guidelines outlined by Smith:

  1. Find a place that is free of distractions.
  2. Review long-range objectives. It is easy to get caught up in the short-term, but always consider when planning what can be done each day to bring you closer to your goals.
  3. Ensure the number of tasks and the amount of time required by each is realistic. Over-planning can be de-motivating because we focus on what we didn’t do as opposed to what we did do. Anticipate interruptions and cut your planned tasks in half—the worst-case scenario is you accomplish everything, have extra time and feel great about yourself!
  4. Set specific daily goals for tasks, and reduce complex tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
  5. Anticipate obstacles. Life does not go as planned; try to identify things that could keep you from accomplishing your tasks and consider how you might handle them.
  6. Prioritize. Perhaps the most important step of all, take some time to really determine the order of what you need to accomplish each day. And as tempting as it may be, don’t jump to #2 until #1 is finished, even if it takes the entire day.

Investing 15 minutes a day will pay huge dividends. Be disciplined to stick with it for a few weeks and once you develop the habit, enjoy watching the magic happen.

If you want to save even more time this year, email me at cwills@studentpaths.com with the secret password MAGIC in the subject line and I’ll send you a free copy of the book The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management that contains more details on the Magic Hour and other time management tips.

Chris Wills About Chris Wills

Father Time, or Chris Wills, is passionate about helping other leaders learn and grow and free up time they didn’t think they had. He is the Founder of Student Paths, an organization that better prepares students for their future in college, career and life readiness. You can reach Chris at: cwills@studentpaths.com

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