Updated: Sep 5
Often our days start like the two-minute drill in a football game. The clock is running. There is no huddle. It is one play after another. We’re under the gun and our only hope is to push through and somehow pull out a victory in the final seconds of the day. There is more to do than we can possibly accomplish. We’re stressed. We feel like we are running behind before the day every begins. Our day is jacked right from the start. Sometimes the two minute drill is necessary and can be effective. And we all know it’s a one-off tactic and not a strategy.
The end of the day can also be the same way. The hours of the day are waning and we didn’t accomplish anything close to what we had hoped. And we’ve all heard the tired cliche that “hope is not a strategy.” We didn’t even touch that important priority we wanted to finish. We were derailed by the “urgent.” Those “have you got a minute” impromptus consumed the better part of the afternoon. Once home, the thought of a little quiet time quickly gets squashed by texts, emails and urgencies on the homefront.
Often, without realizing it and certainly beyond our intention, we become driven by crisis mode and our leadership style can morph into one never ending two-minute drill on a slow clock.
Enter “The Most Important Hour of the Day.” It’s not a morning routine nor an evening routine. Although I am a big fan of routines. Rather it is an intentional reservation of 30 minutes each morning and 30 minutes each evening to intentionally take control of the day and to assess your performance at the end of the day.
The Morning 30
Let’s start the day with intention. Before looking at the emails, checking texts or listening to the news, set up your day.
5 Minutes Practice some mindfulness, express a little gratitude, practice your spirituality and exercise a mind dump. The idea is to build in a energy buffer and wind your mind down before it ever begins.
10 minutes Inspirational reading or audio. Check into some positive thought or motivation for the day. Could be a podcast, could be a book of quotes. The idea is to set the tone for your day. One of forward movement and accomplishment.
5 Minutes Check your values and goals. Pick one to give a little extra focus toward today. This keeps your most important mission front and center on your radar.
10 minutes Set your intentions for the day and block out the time for what is most important. This is your game plan to eliminate the need for a two-minute drill. Then summon the discipline during the day to get what’s most important done.
The Evening 30
The day is over. It’s time for the post game review. Did you control the day or did it control you?
5 Minutes Destress. Take five and simply chill out for a few. End with the same way you started. Practice a little mindfulness, spirituality, gratitude and a mind dump to spill out those thoughts and undone tasks in your head. You are intentionally winding down.
10 minutes Recap the day: Journal your wins and challenges. It’s important to keep score. Peter Drucker said it best “what gets measured, gets done.” We are looking for small wins and consistent incremental progress toward what is most important to you.
5 minutes Check the home front. What is most important here. Practice the 7/7 Rule. No business texts, emails or phone calls between 7 pm and 7 am the next morning.
10 minutes Review your values and goals. Were your actions today consistent with the person you want to be, the company you want to build and the life you want to live.
It’s not a fool-proof system. What is? However, those 30 minutes can comprise the most important hour of your day because it puts you in control and increases your awareness to the many distractions and urgencies that can and will pull you off your game.