This entire week, I have been entering work at 8am, one of the consequences of the ‘wake up before 6am’ challenge. The early hour is nothing short of magical – the floor is still empty, my colleagues from halfway across the world have stopped sending emails and the ones here are yet to begin. I start by opening my notebook, creating my endless to-do list and slowly crawling my way through it, checking one box at a time. Three-quarters way down the list, I glance to look at the time and am pleasantly surprised. The clock inevitably hovers between 9:00 to 9:15am. The bliss and sense of achievement that follows carries through the day and more often than not, I leave work having checked all but one or maybe two things off my list.
A few key aspects, apart from the early hour, that likely contribute to this high productivity run are the lack of distractions, my phone placed at a distance, warm tea, scented candles (yes, weird!) and silence. Lo and behold, I enter a state of flow (you have heard of this before). This particular combination of tea, silence and candles may not be for everyone but the sacred hour is.
There is a point of time in a day when productivity spikes. This is either the first thing in the morning, late evening or mid-noon. The key to success is finding this sacred hour/s and guarding it with your life. Try to observe which time of the day you find yourself doing more and comparatively easily. What are the environmental factors that impact this spike in productivity? Once you have zero’ed in on the hour, protect it. Block that time for yourself alone. Keep your phone away. Turn off all the chats, maybe even the internet and just work.
Spend time investigating what could enhance the hour. What are the elements that you have noticed throughout the day that that puts you in the mood to work. For me, warm tea and lighting a candle signals that my sacred hour has begun. The crazy person in me ensures that the space around me is arranged in a specific order to put me in the right frame of mind. Once I finish a set of rituals (pouring tea, candle, to-do list and keeping aside phone), I type – read –type- check the list.
Here is the challenge: Over the next 31 days, identify the time of the day and the set of rituals that will put you in a state of flow. For 31 days, protect this hour from distractions and for 31 days experiment with how you can enhance the environment. I am 6 days into the challenge and I can feel the magic! You should too.