Why you should use the core hours of your day with care

Life is short. And we only get 24 hours per day. As I wrote here, what we do with our time really matters.

But what’s even more important, is what we do with the core hours of the day.

The core hours of the day

Of the 24-hour day, they are the hours during which you are at work. Let’s say you have a core hours window between 7:00-9:00 and 16:00-18:00.

There are approximately 3 main periods :

  • The focus and creative hours (3-4 first hours): you have the maximum level of cognitive load. You are able to create the best work in a deep state of focus, and make the best decisions ;
  • Time for the lunch break: time where you refill your energy and relax. You may even consider a nap ;
  • The second part of the day: time best used for a second smaller creative period or rather a non-creative / administrative work (emails, meetings, collaboration, personal organization).

What you do with the core hours matters most

Whether you are on a corporate ladder trying to produce the best work to create a name for yourself in a large corporation, you’re a freelancer, or an entrepreneur, what you do with the core hours of your day is what matters most.

During this time, and especially the first phase, this is where your best work will be produced.

You will make an analysis that dit not exist.

You will create something that has never been done before.

You will advance your career by making top class work.

And you will make decisions that will have a strong impact on your future.

The nature of your core activities creates your future

Your future is the sum of all the activities, production and decisions made during the core hours.

If you do not produce excellent work, if you do not take decisions, before you know, the future will have taken control over you.

You will have lost the opportunity to be in the driver seat, and actually achieve the ambitious goals you’ve set out for yourself.

Do not waste the core hours

Now, if you just operate like an autopilot, you produce average work, and let yourself carry by the wind, I’m afraid you will just end up in a place you most probably aren’t happy with.

If you’re unhappy with work, if you believe there is no future where you are, if you dream of working outside your current job, it is time to gain control over these core hours.

And sometimes, we let days, months and unfortunately years wasting time selling our core hours to one employer instead of building our future.

Get clear goals, then execute

Now, the question is, have you defined what is important for you, and what you want to achieve?

How can you make the best use of your core hours if you don’t even know what you’re trying to achieve.

If you haven’t done so, get started by listing the things you’d like to do, have or be in your life, within 6 months or more.

Once you have done that, look at your past months, and count how many hours have been dedicated to achieving them.

If the total amounts to a number close to 0, then it is time to get started and chase those objectives.

I’m not saying you should reach your personal objectives during working hours. I’m saying that if advancing your career starts with making awesome work, it is time to define what that work entails, and complete it as soon as possible during the core hours.

If you have a boss and she can’t tell you what to do in order to achieve greatness and progress, I suppose you don’t need to lose more time in that job. If she doesn’t know what you need to do to get a promotion, who will?

Are your goals clear? Are you making the best use of your time? Have you had an experience wasting your time on activities that are not advancing your career? Please drop a few lines and share your feedback in the comments section.

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