For most people, there is a magical time of day when, under the right circumstances, they just get stuff done. Some call it a state of flow when they get absorbed by a challenging task, achieve real focus, and things just "click". Others call it being in the zone when they are able to do really deep work and knock out sticky and mentally taxing stuff.
I like to call this time MPT, your Most Productive Time. For me, this time is in the early morning, the quiet first hour after getting ready and before meetings start and messages begin pouring in. That's when my brain is the freshest and able to focus. This is the time when I'm best able to do deep work such as writing, coding, or diving into data analysis. When I use this precious mental clarity, I can leverage it to boost my productivity and get challenging things done in a way that cannot be replicated during the remainder of the day.
(For those interested in learning more about how rhythms and timing influence all of us and our lives, check out Daniel H. Pink's insightful book "When - The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing".)
If you're now wondering if you have an MPT because you haven't experienced it lately, you're not alone. It's easy to miss out on the opportunity of MPT and not even realize it exists for you. Here are things you might inadvertently do that result in squandering this great time:
So how can you find and utilize your MPT? Try this:
Finding the right time is only one part of the equation. Creating the right environment, so you can get the most out of that time, is the other part. Try this:
Once you're on a roll and know what really works for you, stick with it and make it a habit! If you can, use your MPT at least a few times a week or even every day to do your most important and meaningful work, the stuff that moves you closer to your personal or professional goals. Doing this can really make a difference in your life. (For more tips on creating habits, check out my Cheat Sheet.)
There are some interesting variations you can apply to MPT. For example, Gretchen Rubin recommends what she calls Power Hour, i.e., setting aside a specific time to tackle nagging chores and knock them out.
You might also have heard of the "eat a frog in the morning" technique, which recommends using the morning hours and still unblemished resolve to complete an otherwise unpleasant task.
MPT has a lot of potential. Find yours, fine-tune it, and turn it into your own personal superpower that can boost your productivity and make a tangible impact on your life.