If you were to take a typical day, you have about 16 hours of which you are awake. OK, let’s face it, most of us probably aren’t getting 8 hours of sleep, but let’s imagine a perfect world here.
So, you have 16 hours and of those, I believe there are three hours that are the most important because they will determine how the rest of the day goes.
These three hours are: the hour you wake up, the hour after work, and the hour before bed.When these happen for every person will of course vary considerably. Maybe you’re an early riser or a night owl. Maybe you don’t have a conventional 9-5 work day. No matter your personal schedule, the ideas here are still relevant.
Each hour acts as a primer to prepare you for what’s next. The first hour is for the initial work morning. The second hour is for your after work lull. The final hour is to prepare you for a good nights rest. Each one is vital for having a successful day.
Let’s take a closer look at why.
The Hour You Wake Up
The most important hour might just be the first one. The one where you wake up and begin the day. It can greatly impact the trajectory of the rest of your work.
After all, this first hour will determine your approach for the rest of your day. If you rise well rested, in a good mood, and hit the ground running, you’ll be much more likely to continue that momentum throughout the next sprint.
The Hour After Work
You will all recognize this hour very easily. Imagine you’ve just come home from a long day at the office. You’re tired and your mind is mush. Many of us, myself included, would just give in to this sluggishness and give up on the evening.
You turn on your favorite show or game or movie, plop down on the couch, and indulge in mindless entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with taking a short break to recover after a day at the office, but you have to be careful because it’s a slippery slope. Before you know it, the rest of your evening is lost.
Instead, you could do something productive: workout or meditate or cook. Anything to reinvigorate your mind and body and get you into a mindset that captures your second wind. This is where a good set of habits can be a life saver.
Before my ankle exploded (long story), I used to come home from work and workout straightaway, like clock work. It was the best habit I’d formed in awhile and kept my evenings moving forward thereafter.
Similarly, finding a good habit that can jump start you through that evening lull is essential.
The Hour Before Bed
The last hour is of course the hour before bed. We all know how important sleep is to our quality of life. From resting your mind to refueling your body, sleep is an opportunity to recharge your batteries, so that tomorrow can be just as productive as today.
Getting that rest can benefit greatly from a bedtime routine that allows you to decompress and prepare for the coming day. Simple things like turning off screens and reading fiction before bed are great ways to prime your mind to unwind and ready for bed.
Most importantly, try to get enough sleep. At minimum 7 hours. Sleep debt is a real thing, so if you can, try to stay out of the red.
We’re all given the same number of hours in a day, some people just use them better.
I believe these three hours of the day are incredibly powerful when it comes to how your day turns out.
If you want to win the day consistently, find a way to maximize the value of these three hours. Create habits and routines that keep you on track. Be self aware of how you spend this time and try to make the most of it.
Doing so will allow you to build momentum that carries you through long, yet productive days.