By February 22, 2014 Read More →

Power Hours

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“Lose not yourself in a far off time, seize the moment that is thine.” — Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

One of the cornerstone concepts I introduced in Getting Results the Agile Way, is Power Hours.

Simply put, a Power Hour is a way to turn ordinary hours into extraordinary ones.

You can use Power Hours to set your productivity on fire.  A Power Hours is when you’re “in the zone.”  It’s when you’ve got your “groove on.”  You can use Power Hours to bring more zest into what you do, as well as find more “flow.”

Power Hours are the ultimate key to unleashing your greatness within.

I use Power Hours to get more done in less time, and to help me deal with everything from a lot of little tasks that have piled up, to dealing with big, heavy challenges, or to do my greater work.

It’s a fast way to chop a lot of work down to size, and it’s a way to use your best energy to get your best results.

Power Hour: A Great Way to Switch Gears

Power Hours are also a great way to switch gears.
Maybe you can’t “sprint” forever, but you can go faster for an hour.

Power Hours are also a great way to Batch and Focus.  For example, you can “batch” your work, by grouping a bunch of similar tasks and plow through them.  When you Batch and Focus on your work, you can apply concentrated effort.

This helps you zip through things faster and easier.

It builds momentum in your day and for your week.

We All Have Power Hours Throughout the Week

But there’s another aspect of Power Hours.

Throughout the day, we have are ups and downs.

These are the times in the day and in the week where you feel at your best.

If you work out, you know when some of your peak workout times are.

You have peak working times, too.

If you pay attention to this, you can both start to better leverage your existing Power Hours, as well as start to add more high-value work to your Power Hours.

Instead of going against the grain, or swimming up stream, you’ll find that you can very quickly unleash better and better results, and get more done in an hour than you can get done all week.

The Story of Power Hours

Several years ago, I was frustrated by the fact that it seemed like, even though I put in a lot of time at work, it seemed that I got most of my important work done in a few hours.

I was spending a lot of time, but it wasn’t paying off.
So much of my time was eroded by spending time on activities that drained me.
So much of my time was spent working in ways that worked against my strengths.
So much of my time was spent in meetings that wasted time.

I remember the day this insight hit me like a ton of bricks:
I was spending 40 hours, but only 4 of those hours felt highly productive.

4 out of 40!

I panicked.
I started to ask colleagues if they were experiencing the same thing.
I told them I felt like I only had 4 highly productive hours in a week.

In each case, they turned to me and said something along the lines of:
“Wow — You get 4 productive hours!  I only get 1 or 2!”

O.K.  So I wasn’t alone.  But I was determined to add more Power Hours to my week.

The problem is, even though I was getting 40 hours of work done in 4 hours, I wanted to really crank up what was possible each week.

So I set a simple goal: Achieve 4 Power Hours each day.

With that one little move, I forever took my personal productivity to a new level, that continues to serve me in work and life.

How To Add More Power Hours to Your Week

You can use add more Power Hours to your week in two ways:

  1. Create a deliberate Power Hour – Carve out an hour to be your Power Hour.  Assign an hour to Switch Gears, Batch and Focus, and apply yourself.  For example, I block an hour on Thursday afternoons to deal with all the administrative tasks that pile up.  Over time, you can become more effective and effective, like building any habit.
  2. Pay attention to the best hours in your day – Discover the Power Hours you already have by paying attention to your energy throughout the day.   Then use your Power Hours to apply your best thinking to better work (don’t let the small stuff wear you down.)   Use your Power Hours to work on higher-value things to radically amplify your impact.

Power Hours are the key to Strong Weeks (when you combine Power Hours with working your strengths).

They are also the key to doing 40 hours of work in 4 hours.

But, what if you could turn just 4 hours of your day into Power Hours?

Here’s what happened to me.  When I figured out ways to have 4 Power Hours each day, it was like producing a week’s worth of work in a single day.

Use your best times of the day to produce your best results.

And, deliberately find ways to create more Power Hours in your day, and in your week.

Calling something your Power Hour gives you the freedom and flexibility to experiment with getting intense and seeing what you are truly capable of.

In many ways, Power Hours are you in your element, you at your finest, and your chance to express what you are truly capable of.

Rise and shine.

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Image by AnveshPandra.

Posted in: Getting-Results

4 Comments on "Power Hours"

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  1. Vidya Sury says:

    There are so many take aways from your book, JD. But more than the book, I love your posts about specific points. In India, it is exam time for schools over this month and the next. After that some of them have summer vacation before they reopen in June for the next academic year.

    Each year, I make a small list of must-reads for my son. This year, I am adding “Getting results the Agile Way” to it, because he is now old enough to comprehend the concepts on his own. When I first “met” your book (yes it is my friend) I picked out concepts that would work for him (Rule of three).

    Thank you for such a valuable resource. I think it is generous of you to share what you’ve learned and benefited from with us.

    Love, Vidya

    • JD says:

      I was always stressed during exam time. Probably because I never actually prepared the way I could have.

      Your son is lucky to have you help him truly prepare for life.

      I especially like how you pick out concepts for your son to apply.

      When the student is ready, the teacher appears, and he’s in good hands.

  2. @Vidya is spot on–there’re so many takeaways, myriad actionable items there for the taking! When I learned about Power Hours, it resonated with me; I now jealously guard this time. The 10-to-1 ratio you describe seemed crazy to me at first; yet I was amazed when I paid attention at just how accurate it is! I’m learning to build more, especially in the evening, to enhance not only my productivity, but my general well-being. Doubling or trebling our Power Hours has significant implications.

    • JD says:

      I actually haven’t found a more effective way to gain time back, in my week, aside from “trimming the tree.”

      Power Hours + Strengths = Exponential Results

      I like how you phrased it as “build more.” It’s true. We can build more Power Hours into our schedule. In fact, you reminded me just how important it is to set the stage for Power Hours, by prepping things, so you can hit the ground running, and build momentum.

      I’ve ruined several otherwise Power Hours because I hit stumbling blocks that broke my momentum. I could have easily avoided these stumbling blocks simply with a little prep.