Do you feel like you never have enough time?
As I was reading The Power of an Hour by David Lakhani, he talks about how it’s not always a lack of time that’s the problem, but rather a lack of dedicated/focused time. The book discusses how setting aside one hour a week can enable monumental change.
This was similar to The 4% Fix (see blog post here), but written more for someone in business. It discussed both how one hour can create significant change, and then goes on to discuss in great detail things you can do within that hour.
- You need more focused time, not just more time.
- Plan your time! Outline exactly what you need to do within that hour.
- Outline what success looks like to you.
You need more focused time, not just more time.
A key message I got from this book was that despite everyone saying we’re too busy or have no time, we don’t need more time. What we really need is more focused time, meaning we need to be intentional with our time. Focused time is where you set aside a certain amount of time (suggestion from David is 1 hour), and you remove all distractions to focus on a specific activity/goal.
One hour can be powerful, or it can be filled with distractions causing you to not accomplish anything. You also have to deliberately remove ALL distractions. Put your phone away, turn off all notifications, close your email program, tell no one to contact you, etc. Just a friendly reminder that nothing is too urgent that it can’t wait 45 min.
David suggests that the first time you do this, it should be a full 60 min focused on outlining what you want to change/fix/improve in your life or business. Then going forward he suggests breaking the hour into 45 + 15 minutes, with the first 45 minutes completely focused on the activity and then use the remaining 15 min to do any admin type work or complete an initial first step/action towards your goal. For instance, if you’re working to improve your health, the first 45 min might be focused on coming up with a weekly workout plan and then the last 15 min could be scheduling a workout class or contacting a personal trainer. That way you can remove all distractions (including phones/internet) until the last 15 min, improving your focus in the first 45 min.
This focused hour can spark change and gives you the time to outline a clear strategy to achieve your goals.
Plan your time!
To make the most of this hour, it’s incredibly important to plan your time! This is quite similar advice to what was outlined in The 4% Fix (see blog post here). Be very intentional about how you spend this time and clearly outline what you want to accomplish in that hour, so that when you sit down to work you can jump right in.
Here are some really useful questions he outlined to help you plan your time:
- What do I want to accomplish in this hour? (Be specific!)
- What specifically am I going to do? (Plan the details!)
- Who else needs to be involved in this hour and what other resources do I need? (Come prepared!)
- How will success be defined? (Define the end goal!)
He suggests doing some of these actions during the hour:
- Write down all the steps for what you need to do to achieve your goal (What?/How?)
- Add deadlines for each step (When?)
- Outline who needs to be involved at each stage (Who?)
- Allocated time in your schedule (and others) to accomplish all of this (How?/When?)
- What action can you do right now? – Use your remaining 15 min for this. (Take action!)
Personally, I would add one more action to the list above, that would be to outline your why for the goal. Why are you doing this and why do you want to accomplish this? Having a clearly defined why can help maintain a sense of motivation throughout the journey.
Outline what success looks like to you.
I think this was one of the more powerful ideas in this book. He states that the key to any goal or target setting is to clearly outline what success will look like. That means, at what point do you feel like you’ve accomplished your goal?
The power of outlining success is that when you actually accomplish it, you get a huge feeling of accomplishment. Often times we work on vague goals (get better at this language/skill), and it becomes something you can always work on but never really accomplish. These vague goals remove any sense of accomplishment or success, so it feels like you’re never really getting anywhere. BUT if you outline key goals or accomplishments, you can see progress being made and it makes you feel more productive.
I know I’m often guilty of these vague goals, such as writing down “improve my Thai skills” every year, which feels repetitive and doesn’t give me a clear goal to work towards. You can always get better, so when have you really achieved “success”?
This is something I’m going to be much more intentional about when setting goals. I know this is why people always talk about using S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound) goals, but I’m not always good at setting those kind of goals and they can feel too constraining or cumbersome to create. But thinking about what success means, is a much easier way to frame it. It also gives me key milestones to celebrate, making it a bit more manageable and rewarding.
There were a handful of good concepts and ideas from this book that helped complement the ideas discussed in The 4% Fix. I feel like it helped me appreciate the value of getting different perspectives on the same thing. The two books were both discussing a very similar concept, but were very different in their approach.
I feel like if you’re not in business, then there’s quite a bit of this book that won’t apply to you. But if you either have your own business or are involved in the business/management world, there might be some really useful ideas in this book. To be fair, it’s also setup in a what where you can easily just read the sections that are relevant to your life.
Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!