The First Hour

It’s almost 10:00 (a.m.) and I’ve yet to accomplish anything besides getting out of bed.  I feel lazy, uninspired, and unmotivated.  I’ve spent the whole day tweeting, emailing, and watching random Youtube videos.  Many people aren’t even awake yet, but I’m an early riser and on a typical day I’d have already completed 2-3 hours of work by now.

It’s tempting to give up on accomplishing anything productive today, but I know I can’t.  I can’t afford to sit here doing nothing.  I can’t afford to procrastinate any longer or I’ll end up wasting the whole day.  I got myself into this mess, and I’m going to have to be the one to get myself out.

One of the most interesting phenomenons I’ve noticed over the last few years is something I call the “First Hour”.  What I mean by the First Hour is that whatever you do for the first hour after waking up in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.

If I spend the First Hour of my day writing or exercising I tend to have a pretty productive day, but if I spend the First Hour on twitter or email I never seem to get much done.

It’s like Newton’s First Law of Motion, “An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it”.

Similarly, if I start the day “at rest” doing unproductive things, I’m going to spend the whole day being unproductive, unless an external force acts upon me.  I’m going to spend the whole day being unproductive unless I make a conscious effort to immediately begin working on an important task.

In this case my important task is writing, but your important task could be anything.  If you’re trying to lose weight, but are feeling unmotivated, put your running shoes on and run out the door as quickly as possible.  Don’t even think about it.

Consciously make the decision to begin working on your important task, but don’t think about the task itself or you’ll start to make justifications on why it can wait until tomorrow.

Although it can be  difficult to get going, once you get started staying in motion requires significantly less effort and you’ll often feel motivated to continue doing whatever needs to get done.  You’ll effectively shift the tone of the day from being unproductive to productive.

The first paragraph of this post was extremely difficult to write, but the last several have been effortless.  I can feel the tone of the day shifting, and although this whole mess could have been avoided if I hadn’t allowed myself to waste the First Hour, I refuse to allow myself to waste any more time.

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