One of the helpful strategies to improve your productivity and reduce procrastination is to effectively use your “power hour”. The power hour is the time of day (which could actually be multiple hours) that you feel the most energy, the most focus, and can be the most productive. The idea of using your power hour is to identify when it is and plan to work on the most difficult tasks of the day during that time. This works out the best when your power hour is at the beginning of your day so that you can ride the wave of productivity the rest of your workday. But what is one to do when their power hour is at the end of their workday? Or even worse, what if it is during off-work hours?
If you find yourself “missing” your power hour because it happens to occur when you are not at work (early in the morning, when you are with your family, late in the evening when the lights are out at the office, etc.), here are some suggestions to try. The first suggestion is to evaluate which, if any, of these might work for your work schedule and personal life. Don’t try to use a technique that might solve one problem (being able to use your power hour) by creating another problem (taking much needed leisure time away).
- If your work schedule is flexible, try adjusting your work hours to overlap with your power hour.
- If your power hour is at the end of your work day, when accomplishing a difficult task is not practical, try using your power hour to plan, prep, and make initial steps toward completing the difficult task that you can then continue the next workday.
- If your power hour is during a time that work is not possible, or desired (for instance when you are spending time with your family/friends in the evenings), just enjoy the activities you are engaged in. Then, during your workday, identify the time when you are second-most productive and energized and use that time to be the most productive that you can at work.
Shawn Healy, PhD