By August 17, 2010 Read More →

Day 17 – Add Power Hours to Your Week

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“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” — Aristotle

Your Outcome: Add Power Hours to your week and use your best energy for your best results.  By guarding your peak hours throughout the day, and applying them where you need it most, you dramatically improve your ability to achieve faster, better, and easier results.

Welcome to day 17 of 30 Days of Getting Results based on my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.  In day 16, we learned how to use metaphors to find our motivation.  Today, we learn how to increase the number of power hours we have throughout the week.  By adding Power Hours, we keep our energy strong and we achieve more than would normally be possible.

Out of your week, how many hours are hours where you actually feel like you are on top of your game and getting your work done or making your ideas happen?  Many people I know get the bulk of their work done in a short period of time.  They have to.   They only have a few uninterrupted hours where they can fully focus and produce their results.  They’ve mastered their Power Hours.

The beauty of the Power Hour is that It’s a small block of time.  It’s YOUR peak hour and it’s YOUR force multiplier.  You can deliberately turn more of your hours, into your peak hours to multiply your results.

If you’re already working on the right things, the right way, I can’t think of any stronger multiplier to your day than using your best energy to amplify your results.

3 Keys to Results
Here is a simple mental model for thinking about how you can impact your results:
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Basically, you can throw more time at something, or you can change your approach or your technique, or you can change the energy or effort you apply.    The key is to spend the right time, on the right things, the right way, with the right energy.  That’s the true secret of  faster, simpler, easier results.

Power Hours are Your Peak Hours
A Power Hour is simply an hour where you are “in the zone” and at your best.  It’s a term I heard often while growing up, whether it was somebody having a “power hour” when they worked out, or having a “power hour” on the job.  On the job, a “power hour” meant that you are firing on all cylinders, clearing hurdles with ease, and plowing through your work in an unstoppable way, with energy and zest.

Why Power Hours
Not all hours are created equal.   Some hours are better than others throughout the week.  There are many reasons to add more Power Hours to your week, but here are a few:

  1. Power Hours are the key to exponential results They are your force multiplier.  I’d rather have four Power Hours, than forty non-peak hours.
  2. Power Hours are exclusively yours.  They are your peak hours.  Your batteries are charged and you are ready to go.
  3. Power Hours refuel you.  They help you renew, refuel, and build momentum throughout your day and throughout your week.
  4. Power Hours help you conquer your mountains.  They help you blast through your work or better deal with your worst hurdles or challenges in work and life.
  5. Power Hours are the secret to working less.    They are the key to working less, while achieving more.

The main reason to add Power Hours to your week is to get leverage from the time and energy you already spend.   If you’ve ever thrown time at your problems, or had your work feel like it stretches on and on, or you’ve gone through the motions but didn’t feel like you were getting anywhere, then you know exactly why you need to add more Power Hours to your week.

3 Steps to Adding Power Hours to Your Week
Here are three ways  you can add Power Hours to your week:

  • Step 1.  Find the Power Hours you already have.  We all have them.  Some of our hours are   way more effective than others or we feel way more alert and alive.   Simply identify throughout the week, which hours are the hours where you feel you are at your best, and you could do your best work.  Don’t confuse this with when do you actually do your work.  This is like knowing when you feel hungry versus when do you actually eat.  In this case, simply identify your best hours of energy in the week.
  • Step 2.  Guard your Power Hours.  Find ways to block of your Power Hours as if your life depended on it.  In fact, your livelihood might depend on it.    Now that you’ve actually identified when your Power Hours are, protect them so that you can spend them where you need it most.  What some people do is they create appointments with themselves.  They stop setting up meetings with other people during those times.  They push back on meeting requests for those times. Simply by protecting the Power Hours that you already have is the fastest way to add Power Hours to your week (or, to put it another way, it’s how not to ruin the your peak hours.)
  • Step 3.  Spend More Time in Your Strengths.    You can add Power Hours by shuffling your schedule around to spend more time in your strengths.  For example, I deliberately added activities like brainstorming or having lunch with my mentors as weekly routines to add more Power Hours to my day.  For ideas on finding and applying your strengths, see Day 10 – Feel Strong All Week Long.

When I first counted up my Power Hours for the week several years back, I found I had around four.  I was pretty upset until I checked with other people and found out they were lucky if they had that.  I can happily say that by deliberately focusing on adding Power Hours to my week, I have a minimum of four Power Hours per day.  This helps me achieve a lot more with less time, and spend my best energy where I need it most.   This was my key for exponential results.

Today’s Assignment

  1. Identify your current Power Hours for the week.  Find the recurring rhythms and patterns.  It might be just before breakfast or right after, or maybe it’s after lunch.  Look to where you feel your best during the day.
  2. Guard your power hours.  Find a way to free those Power Hours back up so that you can use them either for getting your work done or making your ideas happen or blasting through barriers.

My Related Posts

Photo by StuSeeger.

9 Comments on "Day 17 – Add Power Hours to Your Week"

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  1. J.D. –

    I’m trying to reschedule my time to get the most from it and Power Hours make perfect sense. I use my “unpower hours” for other things -exercise, meditation, reading – which recharge my batteries. Great stuff – keep it up.

    Phil

  2. JD says:

    @ Phil — Thank you. I’m sure you can see the synergy of strengths + power hours … it truly is the exponential factor.

  3. I don’t do a good enough job of guarding my power hours. I notice myself doing busy work too often. When I’m doing my most important work I’m going to make sure that I keep this time blocked off. I knew I was doing this, but it wasn’t until I read this article that I really realized that I was making this mistake. Thanks J.D.!

  4. JD says:

    @ Karl — I caught myself letting the wrong things spill into my power hours, and I only have so many each day, so I quickly guarded them again. I want to make sure I use my best energy for my best results.

  5. alik levin says:

    I think “guard your power hours” is super insightful.
    I now understand i am so easily get pissed off when disturbed during my power hours. It’s like somebody tries to steal something very precious from me.
    All i need to do is just better guard it…

  6. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. I like your words: The key is to spend the right time, on the right things, the right way, with the right energy. That’s the true secret of faster, simpler, easier results.

    A very strong thought – and I definitely function better in the mornings .. so once I move and get settled I’ll remember this post and get myself into the Power Hours mode.

    Thanks – once again for an excellent idea .. Hilary

  7. JD says:

    @ Alik — One way to guard them is to change where you spend them. Otherwise, you might get caught in the scenario where you hope you won’t get disturbed, but then you can’t fully focus.

  8. yumi says:

    I had to check “strong hours” first before I can test when my power/creative hours are. My strong hours are 5AM-3PM. Then I had to see where/when I don’t get interrupted… 5AM-8AM!

    A long story short, I am most creative when I just wake up. Then my brain goes on “processing” mode where I get things done as I plan for myself or as the priority calls it.

    It is hard to protect the creative hours because I tend to use that hours (5-8AM) to get things done. By the way, I like that you are not worried about my worry list. Lightness is golden, when it comes to joke and how we take care of our heart.

    I have two quotes of the day for today:
    “Let not the enjoyment of pleasures now within your grasp, be carried to such excess as to incapacitate you from future repetition” Seneca
    “Happiness is the longing for repetition.” Milan Kundera

    Creating a successful iteration is really a matter of knowing how much we can handle in a day, any given day, and also on a super productive day. Mind and time really do expand with the amount of work we put into it…

    • JD says:

      Today, I was reflecting again on how much our energy level is what changes what’s possible.

      In between my non-negotiables (meetings, commitments, etc.) I had very little time slices to get things done.

      But, my energy was strong. Probably because of my P90X3 routines.

      So within those thin slices of time, I moved mountains, where normally I would move mole-hills.

      It’s really hard to trade productive time for creative time, especially, if you have a lot to do, or you are a high-achiever.

      It can be such a trap to think, “Oh, if I just get these things done fast during this time, then I’ll have more time to be creative.” It’s a slippery slope.

      What I remind myself is that my creative time is precious, and I have to really use those times when I’m at my creative best, to produce my creative work.