Magic Hours, Is It Real or Is It Just a Productivity Myth?
You always hear about ‘magic hours’ from some entrepreneur page or themselves rambling about it and how their success is tied to the fact that they always wake up at their designated ‘magic hours’. So, what exactly is magic hour? If a lot of rich people’s anecdotal experiences and their peddling on it is to be believed, then it’s the hour where you woke up from your bed (always at 6 AM or even earlier) and gets all worked up and ready to work, as productive as you can. The ‘magical hour’ that brings you boundless energy and is the source of all the rich people out there for success.
Now while every single rich businessman and entrepreneur would love to tell you how this is all true and you can find your own rhythm and ‘magic hours’, try to think about the things they said about how to achieve magic hours. Sometimes they’ll say like “You have to wake up at 6 AM to be more productive and still be energetic!” and then they give out ways to achieve your ‘magic hour’ like:
- Wake up at 4/5/6 AM (the most important!!!)
- Take a cold shower
- Exercise a few hours
- Meditate a few hours
- Write your journals and brainstorm
- Review and set goals for the day
- Read news and industry sites
- Consume content that inspires you and not just fun content
- Have a healthy, no-meat breakfast
You know, some of these things. “You have to do these things if you want to be very productive and achieve that magic hour of productivity!” “If you wake up at this magic hour, you’ll gain increased productivity!” or any of that stuff. Well, suffice it to say that in my research, while the fact is true that there is a certain ‘magic hour’ that allows us to be more productive, it’s not from the fact that we have to do certain things like doing a religious ritual or something, or it’s like some super-secret billionaire tips in conquering the world or whatever. It’s just…biology. Wait, biology? What’s that about?
When we’re talking about ‘magic hour’, your mind will go “Oh yeah duh, I know! Circadian rhythm is the one affecting this, me smart.” Yes, that much is true. They’re the ones that affect our sleep-wake schedule (always trumped by the “WAKE UP AT 4 or 6 AM PEOPLE! crowd), body temperature, hormones and all that jazz.
Thing is, though, at the end of the day, your performance at work matters, and sometimes, even if you try to do the rich people tips of waking up really early, you just get lazy in the middle of worktime. You just want to check Instagram, you just prefer to watch or even make a TikTok video.
That feeling there, it happens because of your ultradian rhythm, a recurrent period or cycle that repeats throughout a 24-hour day, running through a 90–120-minute cycle. They’re the reason why you start a task determined and ready, and then a few hours later get all distracted doing things because you need to take a break.
Mind you, that’s not something you can fight. Do you really want to force yourself to work if you’re not enjoying it? No one wants that. Everyone wants to do their work in their ideal mood, or environment, or the wanting to work.
So how does that relate to ‘magic hour’? Well, this is where you can make your own ‘magic hour’ without relying on some ritual that works on some people who told you about it, because everyone is different, and sometimes those methods just can’t work for you. You don’t have to try to force a method that you can’t work with!
How to find your Magic Hour!
1. One of the things you can do to find your ‘magic hour’ is to try mapping out how your activity went, as suggested by author Yulia Yaganova, where you can try rating your energy, focus, and motivation hourly, scaled from 1 to 10.
Sounds tedious? Well yeah it totally does. But this is where you’ll then see patterns, when you feel like working and ready to do stuff, and when do you just want to take a break and check your phone to see news of celebrities you love passing away in 2020 (truly a cursed year for us all).
2. Find a morning, afternoon or even night routine that works for you. If a productivity guru suggests you should start eating salads every breakfast and it ends up making you so unmotivated, don’t do it! (Unless for health reasons. Then yes, perhaps keep eating that salad first). Just keep eating the breakfast you love and do the rest of the morning routine you regularly do to get yourself motivated.
3. Please, take some downtimes for yourself. Let’s be honest, do you really want to work all day all year long without any breaks or stops? Just slaving away without any relaxation? No, don’t you? You need some time for yourself, your family, your friends, or whoever! Take vacations, laze around on a couch watching Netflix, whatever it is in your version to relax. Relaxing promotes creative thinking, and makes your mind able to wander freely, which in return creates daydream and non-linear thought process, so who knows, maybe binge-watching Money Heist or going to Holycow to have a tenderloin feast gives you an inspiration related to your job. Savor that downtime.
4. Know your prime time and keep it. If you have two-hour worth of peak productivity, make sure to always use every second of it. Don’t get sucked up and disrupted by things not related to work. So, maybe try to not play PUBG while you’re on your peak hours, check spam emails, your Twitter timeline. Give yourself more control over your precious time, because you’re the master of your own schedule. After all, your peak productivity hours are yours to keep. Use them wisely.
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Written by: Callasyah Erwinanda (Copywriter of Apiary Coworking Space)