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Golden Hour Series Part 2: Allocate an Hour at Work to Make it Golden!

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Are you able to work at your best? The answer may not appear in your mind at first glance, but it has personal and professional implications. 

Your best performance as an employee comes through a journey of balancing how you work through the day, balancing work and life, having a distraction-free environment, and a content mind. According to a recent study, 66% of US workers don’t have a work-life balance and 77% of full-time US employees experience burnout at their present job.  

Giving your best at work under time pressure can induce stress at your work that will spill over to personal time. The key to mindfulness at work with the best performance is unlocking the power of the Golden Hour. As we discussed in our previous blog Golden Hour: Take Charge of Your LIFE (link to the blog), the Golden Hour is the duration when you are most focused and distraction-free. Rightly allocating the hour, optimizing it over time is what will make it golden. In his book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” Daniel Pink examines the science of timing and how it shapes our behavior. He distills the latest research — from economics and social psychology to linguistics and molecular biology — to offer key takeaways on how to rework your day to be more successful. In a single day we go through three stages, Pink explains. This is what it looks like for most people:

  • Peak: our mood rises in the morning
  • Trough: our mood declines in the early to mid-afternoon
  • Recovery: our mood boosts back up in the early evening
  • Other people experience their day in the reverse set of stages: recovery, trough and peak.

The order in which you experience these stages depends on your chronotype, or your personal pattern of circadian rhythms, which determines if you’re a “lark” (morning person), an “owl” (evening person), or a “third bird” (somewhere in the middle), explained Pink.

Now is the time to identify and allocate the golden hour for yourself and your team. Go ahead, look at your work patters, and if you are an Owl, a Lark or Third Bird, be it 08:00 AM to 09:00 AM or may be right after lunch, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM or may be later in the evening 11:00 PM to 12:00 AM.

Take frequent breaks 

While it may sound counterintuitive, author Travis Bradberry writes in Quartz – the ideal work rhythm was 52 minutes of work time followed by a 17-minute break. He explains, “For roughly an hour at a time, they were 100% dedicated to the task they needed to accomplish. They didn’t check Facebook ‘real quick’ or get distracted by emails. When they felt fatigued (again, after about an hour), they took short breaks, during which they completely separated themselves from their work. This helped them to dive back in refreshed for another productive hour of work.” 

Things that would help you make the identification and allocation work: 

Keep your breaks short and awareness high and see how quickly you can return to the task at hand with full focus and interest. Your breaks however will quickly turn into guilt trips if you stay away from your time and do not devote your 100% to your work schedule. The nature of your work may not allow frequent breaks, but you can always rejuvenate at intervals by making a conscious attempt. 

Get smart about your phones

Smartphones can be a boon or a bane depending on how you use them. As per a recent survey on digital distraction and workplace safety, employees are spending 2.5 hours of their time during each workday for reasons not related to their job. 

Your phone may lure you into shopping, entertainment, and social media apps, or you may use it for self-monitoring apps that can help you track your phone usage and urge you to use your time wisely. Enterprises are urging their employees to set ‘do not disturb’ periods for phone notifications so that they can focus on their work.

Keep multitasking at minimum if not at bay

As empowering as it may sound, multitasking slows us down. Explains neuroscientist Earl Miller, “(By) Switching from task to task, you think you’re paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you’re not. You’re not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them rapidly.”

Instead of multi-tasking, divide your time into blocks reserved for specific tasks and mark them in your calendar.

Stay connected through regular communication

Employees may feel ignored or neglected, especially if they are working from home. The onus is on organizations and managers to ensure they connect with employees often. Set incremental deadlines to motivate employees to complete their work on time. This would make them feel supported and would also make them more accountable. For instance, rather than having a deadline of 15 days for a project, it is easier to break it down into smaller tasks and ask them to complete them on specific days.

In the next blog, we will discuss how to make the golden hour a part of your routine, a sustainable mantra and how using a tool can help you understand your work habits, revitalization time, give you insights into how focused you are and where are you spending most of your time and importantly provide a mirror for self-realization, self-actuation and self-motivation. The greatest power of such a tool is to allocate the ‘Golden Hour’ by visually seeing how you are spending your time. You can trace the workdays with the above parameters to optimize the golden hour with a SaaS workforce productivity analytics tool that is easy to deploy, enterprise ready and available globally.

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