My #1 Work Hack

My #1 Work Hack
The last four years have been some of my most productive

Some Things I Accomplished
Published two academic papers
Wrote three books
Launched and ran one new business
Started and finished my PhD
Was president of CFA Society Thailand
Spent two months of each year working from my Mom and Dad’s home

Ever hear this saying?
“We each only have the same 24 hours in a day”

Subtract 8 hours for sleep or sleep time
So let’s change that to…
“We each only have the same 16 hours in a day”

Subtract 8 hours for relaxation, family, hygiene, eating, exercise
So let’s change that to…
“We each only have the same 8 hours in a day”

Let me ask you a question
On average, how many hours a day do you spend at work?
Most people will answer: Eight to ten hours

Source: “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime” written by Ferris Jabr on October 15, 2013 for Scientific American Magazine. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-downtime/
An excellent article by Ferris Jabr looked at the brain, here’s what Jabr says:
Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson of The Florida State University has spent more than 30 years studying how people achieve the highest levels of expertise

Ericsson has concluded that most people can engage in deliberate practice—which means pushing oneself beyond current limits—for only an hour without rest;

That extremely talented people in many different disciplines—music, sports, writing—rarely practice more than four hours each day on average; and

That many experts prefer to begin training early in the morning when mental and physical energy is readily available

So let me ask you that question again in a slightly different way
On average, how many concentrated hours a day do you spend working?
Most people will answer: Three to five hours
Let’s say four hours

So let’s change that to…
“We each only have the same 4 hours in a day”
Yikes!

OK, so here is my #1 Work Hack
I cherish those four hours, I guard them, protect them, love them, I build rituals around them

I am a natural early riser, waking at between 3:30am and 4:30am (with no alarm clock)
So I start working at my home office at about 4am or 5am

I set my top three priorities for that day and spend my first four hours on those three tasks
By 8am or 9am I finish my four hours
Then I exercise, go to meetings, make phone calls, go to appointments, etc
But rarely do I go back to my computer for the rest of the day

My #1 Work Hack
To summarize
You only have about 4 hours of concentrated work time each day
What are you doing with it? Do you cherish it?
Set your optimum time for those four hours and shut everything out except your top three tasks



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