If you don't set your own constraints, the world will set them for you.
You probably learned this the hard way during the last 18 months. Notifications, pings, screaming children, text messages, every one of these competing for (and intruding on) your precious time and attention. And they're the reason you're constantly distracted, trying (and failing) to multitask, and struggling to focus.
I know because I've been there.
But my creative struggles melted away when I discovered the life-changing concept of Sacred Hours.
What are Sacred Hours?
Sacred Hours are blocked off chunks of time that are -you guessed it- sacred.
No distractions, no responsibilities, nothing else to check up on.
Just you and your work for at least two hours.
But your Sacred Hours are not something you just stumble upon. They're planned in advanced, blocked on your calendar, and defended ruthlessly from anyone and anything that tries to interfere with them.
And once you start completing these work blocks day in and day out, the compounding results will shock you.
How to find your own Sacred Hours
So how do you find your own Sacred Hours?
There are two key questions you need answer:
- What time of day am I most productive?
- What time of day can I be least responsive?
Your Sacred Hours lay in the intersection between these two times.
Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong answer. This will be different for everyone in every circumstance. And finding the time that works best for you can require some thinking and experimentation. (Practicing interstitial journaling or keeping a Habit Scorecard for a few days can help.)
For example, my Sacred Hours differ by time of the week:
- 5 to 7 am on weekdays
- 6 to 11 am on weekends
- Noon to 5 pm on Fridays
Once you've found your optimal intersection, choose a two-hour chunk and block it out.
How to get the most out of your Sacred Hours
Remember: we call them Sacred Hours for a reason - they're sacred!
It's on you to defend them ruthlessly and to proactively avoid anything that could take you out of a deep state of flow.
A few tips to get the most out of your Sacred Hours:
- Clean and organize your workspace
- Use a website blocker or turn off the Wi-Fi
- Leave your phone on airplane mode in a different room
- Wear sound-cancelling headphones with your go-to flow playlist
A fun way to think about this: design your workplace like an airplane cabin. There's a reason people get their best writing done on airplanes! No distractions, no internet, and nothing else to do but work.
Scheduling your Sacred Hours is one thing. But you still have to do the work.
But this is not the time to do any kind of shallow, monotonous work. Your Sacred Hours are for doing the high-leverage, creative, deep work that truly moves the needle. The last thing you want to do is block off your Sacred Hours only to waste them.
Because here's the thing about time: you and Jeff Bezos have the same number of hours in the day.
And it's not 24. It's 2 or 3.
2 or 3 hours of focused work is about as much as anyone can handle.
So it's your choice: you can waste them day in and day out (which is what most people do).
Or you can invest them into doing the work that matters (and let the magic of compounding do the rest).