Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Golden Hour

I love early mornings. I love the hour or so before the rest of the world stirs. It is peaceful.

Some of the things I use the golden hour for (and of course if I did them all, it would take more than an hour - perhaps I need 3 golden hours):

1 - Organizing my day. If I start the day organized, I tend to get more done but more importantly, I just feel good.

2 - Working out. I have found that working out first thing is the best time for me to do it. It starts the day off right.

3 - Journaling. OK so this is not for everyone and might be a bit out there. I do not do a diary - it is not about my feelings, it is about how I am doing on my goals. I like to spend 20 minutes writing 3 pages free hand. I modified the journalling that "The Artist Way" by Julia Cameron talks about to make it more "business and goal" focussed.

4 - Meditation and yoga. This is more one of those like to do but rarely do things. It would be a good thing to do though.

5 - Walk. Sometimes I walk to work. But even without a walk to work, a walk is a great way to start the day.

6 - Actually digging in and getting lots done. I find I can be highly productive without the usual interruptions that happen during the day.

7 - Reviewing my goals. I find days I spend time reviewing my goals that I am more fucused and more productive on getting done what I want to get done.

I am off for a productive day now.


At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read this in the early morning, I relate to the message. I'd just add that it would be okay to journal about feelings on occasion too, Jim. Those soft, squishy things we would rather ignore oftentimes ignite our behavior at work and home: The more we're on top of our feelings the less likely they'll be to bring us down.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Dean Fuhrman said...

Jim - I like that early hour too. There is nothing like it for some reason. Must be something innate. In any event, I presume you do these things somewhat in the order you have them listed. A couple of things I have tried and an intent I set for myself in working through some of the kinds of things you do.

First, I set up a routine that I can check off to measure what I might want to get some focus on. As an example, I may want to review my goals and outcomes a couple of times a week say Mondays and Wednesday. If I have a checklist of those activities and capture some of my performance metrics, I can easily review this later to see if I am doing what I set out to do and see how that is working for me. Let's say that I am not hitting tasks and activities like I want to, I can review my routine metrics and maybe see that I haven't reviewed my goals like I want to. I can then make this more a point of emphasis chiefly because I can see what I have or haven't completed in my routine and how that might be affecting me.

Second, I have found that an hour and 1/2 is better than an hour and I don't feel the time pressure as much. Here again the routine helps because I can see how things really are going since I have the metrics and can look at my acvities a bit more objectively.

The routine doesn't of necessity get locked in stone and really allows for lots of flexibility depending on what is going on at the time. The metrics just help in doing what I want to do and seeing how it works or doesn't.

If I set an overall intent for what I am doing (kind of like segment intending for the next set of tasks) this helps immensely. I learned from my yoga practice: do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Each day is going to be different and doing what I can keeps it all in perspective.

The other thing I like to do is sort of move into the early morning tasks like I was warming up for exercise. Like in yoga for example where I don't dive in with the really strenuous poses without a bit of breathing and easy movements to warm up, I don't start out with the more strenuous thinking tasks without getting my brain started off well. As a result, I start with the yoga and mediation which helps me set a better foundation for the other things I might want to do. Then I'd move into something like the journaling to clear my mind further. Then I'd hit the other more intense thinking tasks as time allows. Again, I might only spend 5 - 10 minutes in mediation if that is all the time I had, but just that much seems to take the edge off of just diving into things.

Great post. Thanks for the summary of your activities. It is always interesting and illuminating to see how others work through these kinds of things.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Tom Magness said...


As a fellow CEO, blogger, and father of two, I totally concur with the value you place on the "golden hour." I have my best ideas early in the morning. But you missed one. I have got to have that cup of Joe to get the juices flowing. Then...look out world! Hooah!

At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any advice for us non-morning people? I agree - when I do get up early I seem to be so much more productive all day, but getting my butt out of bed and being at 'full energy' right from the get go is my real challenge.

At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also like the early mornings. I consider it as the peak of my day.
I also want to do almost everything during that time but it's definitely not enough for a lot of tasks.

At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no better time for me than the early mornings. If given enough time, I will certainly do it during that time.


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