The 2-hour fight for your life
“It’s been said that the first hour is the rudder of the day. If I’m lazy or haphazard in my actions during the first hour after I wake up, I tend to have a fairly lazy and unfocused day. But if I strive to make that first hour optimally productive, the rest of the day tends to follow suit.” – Hal Elrod
“For too many people, the extraordinary, fulfilling abundant life that they really want—a Level 10 life—eludes them because they’re so overwhelmed and overrun with their day-to-day life situation.” – Hal Elrod
“Mediocrity has nothing to do with how you compare to other people; it’s simply a result of not making the commitment to continuously learn, grow, and improve yourself.” – Hal Elrod
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus” – Bruce Lee
“Knowing what to leave out is just as important as knowing what to focus on” – Warren Buffett
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment” –Buddha
“These three things lead to positive non-linear results: clarity, focus, and time. Simple but not easy” Shane Parrish
“To produce at your peak level, you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distraction” – Cal Newport
“Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. Rather than always focusing on what’s urgent, learn to focus on what is really important” – Stephen R. Covey
Quotes courtesy of:
Focus and how we utilize our time is a vital and key input to the outcomes in our lives. There are special hours in everyone’s lives where the magic happens. We have moments where we are at flow and produce works that inspire us.
The best do not wait for inspiration or motivation. They get cracking and produce without fail each and every day. They systemize their lives. They know that if they do this consistently it will pay dividends for them in the long run.
The inverse is wasted lives. If we do not control how we spend our time, we by default ensure we kill our dreams indirectly and the dreams of those who depend on us. Look at time as a precious resource like Gold that has immense value if used wisely.
The 2-hour fight for your life
We all wake up, and have 24 hrs. to utilize in the day but the effective time period we are awake and active, is 12 hours in a day. In this 12-hour period we also have many other activities that demand our attention from the moment we wake up to the time we sleep.
The crux in life is to get a block of time where you produce your most effective work. The 80/20 rule works in life. 80% of our results are determined by 20% of our input. This is a magic formula that works in any circumstance or situation.
This means that 4.8 hours of our time each day produces the real results in our lives. We can narrow that down to 2 hours as been the most effective part of our days where we are not bothered by myriad distractions and other tasks
If you prioritize and devote this time period for priority and important work consistently, the results will be evident. The only way to eat an Elephant is one small sized bite at a time. Once we are cognizant of this fact we will protect our time carefully and not allow it to be wasted in fruitless activities.
We attribute genius to many individuals but the real genius is how they allocate and use their time. Real performers, especially sportsmen who have little chance of cheating, ‘DO THE WORK’. They leave nothing to chance and ensure their training regime takes priority above all other activities demanding their attention
We all have our optimal hours but the most optimal hours on record for most individuals is early morning dawn. There is a book aptly named the ‘Miracle Morning’ that illustrates how we can make best use of this time slot in our lives.
Whatever your optimal period of time designate this period as the ‘FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE’ Treat it as an or all nothing block of time. You should picture yourself drowning and gasping for air. Each minute in this block of time is that vital.
Attention Management - What blossoms is where you focus your attention on
Focus and time management are two closely intertwined concepts. What and where we focus our attention, is what gets the results in our lives. Let me use human relationships as an example. In relationships it’s very rare to get long distance relationships working. Even a 12-mile distance among partners can do harm to a relationship.
The simple reason is that we tend to give our total attention to the immediate objects in our periphery or visual range, we pay fleeting or less attention to distant objects. You tend to find close neighbors, work mates, association or club mates marry each other and form better bonds with one another.
Attention management is thus the key battle in our lives. Ensuring that we pay attention to the most critical tasks and priorities in our lives is the key that unlocks and enriches our lives. Develop focus as a virtue that can work wonders in your life.
Examples of Focus and Attention
The cat family- Lions, Leopards, Jaguars, Panthers, Cheetahs and even domestic cats choose specific times of the day to hunt. You will rarely find a lion or leopard hunting at 12 pm midday when the sun is at its zenith.
This particular time of day is not optimal for the cat. It’s too hot and their body temperature regulation does not function well in high temperature ranges. They would rather laze around settling under the tree shades. This all changes once the sun sets at 6.30 pm.
Dark nights, are where you find the cats at their element. They can stalk prey easily under the cover of darkness. They ambush prey at watering holes and can catch them easily without been spotted. Day time kills are rare for the cat family.
The only cat that is suited for day time kills is the Cheetah but it would also rather hunt when temperatures are cooler at dawn and dusk. This illustrates how time ranges are also important to animals
The hunt itself is a wonder to behold. Nothing distracts a cat when it has set it’s target on its prey. It can wait in patience for over two hours waiting for the right opportunity to strike at its prey gets closer. It can sit quietly with hardly any body movement, blending into its surrounding and catching the victim by surprise.
That is attention to detail at its highest and peak form. This boils down to survival of the fittest
Outdoor gardening is also regulated by time ranges. The best time to water plants is either in the early morning or later afternoon when the sun is setting. These hours are the golden hours for plants. They can retain moisture during this period especially in the tropic ranges where I live.
10 am to 5 pm has the highest ranges of temperature in the tropics. When gardening during dry spells or periods, it’s a waste of water irrigating plants during this time period. This is where attention to detail matters
Tradition and norms will dictate that any irrigation of plants is carried out at dawn or dusk. This simple illustration shows the importance of knowing optimal times to carry out planting. Which brings out the best seasons to plant different crops.
All over the world there are seasons that provide the best opportunities to plant crops. These planting calendars are there for a reason. Over time you get to know the optimal calendar for every plant species.
Farmers who obey these rules usually reap the rewards of their efforts and prudence.
Sales - Prospecting for new clients and following up on leads
Even in our day to day jobs there are optimal hours to make calls and follow up on leads. The best Sales men and women understand this and get to know the optimal time to make calls to their prospective clients and leads.
The best sales individuals understand the importance of understanding their prospective client routines and when they are most receptive to pitches. The best sales individuals will make calls at odd hours when their competition has laid down their tools.
They will make the necessary calls on a Saturday morning. Join clubs or associations where their particular target or clients fraternize. They understand the importance of time and it’s effect on the receptivity of their proposals and pitches.
Hospitals are very particular in the scheduling of the work hours of their staff. Doctors have demanding schedules especially the top specialists and consultants in the different fields. Doctors also have their optimal hours where they perform at their best.
Demanding surgeries are aligned to the most optimal hours of the lead surgeons. Hospital administrations recognize this fact and will ensure that the entire team of medical staff in an operating theatre are subordinate to the lead surgeon’s schedule.
In addition, hospitals will limit the number of surgeries that can be carried out in a day for some particular specialties. The nature of the surgery and its complexity will tax the mental and cognitive demands of the surgeons.
They will not allow surgeons who have gone through lengthy and demanding surgeries to carry out back-to-back operations as the risk of errors in subsequent operations rise. This is why rest and recuperation are vital to all human beings
Pilots have some of the strictest demands in relation to their jobs. They have frequent sobriety tests to ensure they are alcohol and drug free. This is vital as they carry out their duty. A plane is a complex mechanical object that requires top notch concentration when manual maneuvering is taking place.
There are two phases in any flight that are critical. The lift-off and landing phases are the riskiest phases in any flight. Pilots have to have their highest concentration in these phases. They have to perform many pre-flight and pre-landing checks that require total focus to ensure flight safety for the passengers.
The protocol and operating routines imposed on pilots and flight engineers ensure that flying remains one of the safest means of transportation worldwide. If land transport was subjected to the same protocols and routines I am sure the rate of accidents would fall dramatically worldwide.
Any trader worth their weight will tell you that the most optimal trading opportunities are limited to certain hours of the day and also tied to certain economic reporting calendar events in the year. These particular times have to be monitored closely.
Trading like most other events in our human existence is a cyclical event. There are business cycles and seasons that repeat themselves constantly over the year. The great traders watch these events like hawks to ensure that they capture their highest profits in these windows of opportunity.
The best traders ensure that they are at their most optimal state psychologically and are not distracted by any personal issues when they face their monitors and execute their trades. They are zoned in at this particular moment and focus on the task at hand.
Business Organization- Attention at Scale
The best businesses are structured according to specialties. They have the core business areas and supporting departments. The core business can either be manufacturing, retail or a service business.
Departments exist to ensure important tasks get taken care of they know the importance of attention management and focus on tasks. A business literally leverages the time of their employees and gives it an exponential factor as they understand we cannot be jacks of all trades.
Risk Management, Human Resources, Facilities Management, Information Technology, Finance, Legal support the core business areas perform to their highest capability. If individuals, communities and countries were to structure their routines and protocols like the best run organizations we would have a better functioning society in many areas.
Key Mention- Tim Ferriss – Tools of Titans
Timothy Ferris the highly acclaimed author, blogger and podcaster wrote a book titled the ‘Tools of Titans’. He noted a fact that more than 80% of the interviewees had some form of daily mindfulness or meditation practice.
The best performers rely on personal systems. They do not depend on motivation or will power to achieve their goals or dreams. They know that this can be exhausted so they protect their dreams and goals by ensuring they have personal systems and routines in place.
What can we do to boost attention and focus?
Ref Source: Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done by Josh Davis
Systemize your life. Fight each day for the 2 hr block to move things.
- Be deliberate how you will spend your time in the day: Conscious decision making. Create blocks of time for key tasks, be intentional on use of time. Decision points in the day- To Do Lists with strict deadlines.
- Be aware of your energy levels. Tackle the most important stuff and high priority stuff when you have high energy.
- Avoid distractions switch off phones and other devices to stay focused, switch off the TV. Remove predictable distractions. Practice meditation. Mind based stress reduction
- Stay sharp and healthy. Don’t overeat before a task. Exercise regularly even Catholic doctrine dictates not to eat one hour before mass. This is to assist concentrate your focus and mind for the mass.
- Pay attention to your workplace and reduce clutter.
Accountability for time spent is what matters at the end of the day. We need to be accountable to ourselves. Get a sacred hour where you make things happen in your life.
Call these the hours where you sweat, cry and perform. This is where you feel the stretch out of your daily comfort zone. This is where the miracles happen. Honor these two hours.
The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life – Hal Elrod
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – Cal Newport
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers- Tim Ferriss
Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done – Josh Davis