The Best Hours

January 8, 2015

The thing you must know if you want to know how to accomplish anything is that you are allowed one thing at the top of your priority list and that thing is only going to happen if you can give it your best hours.

What do I mean when I say the best hours? What I mean is focus and mental energy is a limited resource. At some point, you run out of mental energy to think clearly and do things.

The period of the day where you are at your "peak" mental and physical energy are your best hours. For most people, this is the daytime.

The Deal We All Make

When you want to be great at something, you need to be able to devote your best hours to it, and most of us end up devoting our best hours to our jobs. However, if we ask ourselves honestly what we would like to spend our best hours on, work is probably not our number one thing.

For a lot of people, our first priority in an ideal world would be our family, maybe our church, maybe a hobby or passion like music, art, rebuilding cars, or whatever else lights your fire. Work for many people is just something that you do to get paid and to survive, not always something we do to really thrive.

The deal most people make is they trade 40 hours a week, usually 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday every week in exchange for some amount of money. Perhaps you have health benefits or retirement fund as well, but either way, we're talking about a 2,000 hour per year exchange for some dollar amount.

You probably don't get to pick which hours of the day you spend at work.

What that often means is you are going to put your best hours in at work, not on your true passion in life. When you think about the deal you've made in those terms, is it still a good deal?

Negotiating A Better Deal

What you might not know is that there are jobs out there where you can negotiate how many days a week, how many hours you work, and even when those hours are going to happen. It's all in how you negotiate and what your priorities are.

What do you think would be a better deal, getting paid an extra $2,000 a year, or getting an extra two weeks vacation every year? A lot of people would take the money, but the vacation would probably make you happier, assuming you take the time off.

Would you trade $10,000 a year to work 30 hours a week instead of 40? I guess it depends on how much money you make, but in many cases that would be a better deal, even if it is money neutral.

What could you do with an extra day and a half off each week? Or, what if you worked a 3x10 schedule? Now all of a sudden you are working 3 days a week instead of 5. Does that change your life?

If you value your best hours, these are the kinds of negotiations you should think about having.

The Long Game

In the long term, if you don't want to give away your best hours, you need to make a deal where you aren't trading hours for dollars. Fundamentally, that means you need to sell something to someone else where your time isn't required to make each incremental extra dollar.

The things that stand out the most to me to help get you there are creating products where you help people solve a problem. Think ebooks and online courses. A lot of people have problems they will spend money to solve, you just have to help them solve their problems.

That can be as simple as writing an ebook and self publishing on Amazon Kindle. Some people make good money doing that. Another option would be doing a video or screencast series and selling that as a course. There are a lot of good platforms out there for that, or you can just use WordPress with a couple plugins and you'll be off to the races. Even something as simple as blogging can be a lucrative and mostly passive income that builds over time.

The point is, to truly unlock your best hours, you need to go beyond trading dollars for hours. If your best hours are important to you, you'll figure out how to get there.

About The Author

Brian Knapp is one half of the dynamic duo that runs Retro Mocha. You can follow his hilarious puns on Twitter.