Spend the First Hour of the Day on Activities That Add Value to Your Life


The first hour of the day is precious and should be treated accordingly. It’s when our minds are like sponges and as Benjamin P. Hardy mentioned, we’re most creative. The first hour can determine what your entire day will be like. You can turn things off and start it on a high note. Or you can start it in an anxiety ridden, distractive driven frenzy.

If you want to derive more meaning, satisfaction, and value from your life, spend the first hour of your day on activities that actually add value to it.

Low-Value activities

Some of us have formed neural connections that drive us to carry our phones in our hands at all times, often looking down and hitting refresh a few times, even though nothing has come in. Give me dopamine…. It is said the if you wake up in the morning and the first thing you crave is a drink you might be an alcoholic. If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is check your phone to read your email or scan through your social media before you event get out of bed, you might be an addict- Simon Sinek

If you begin your day by turning on a thousand things: television sets, cell phones, microwaves, stoves, dishwashers, and faucets, it should come as no surprise to you that you’re anxiety-ridden and find it difficult to focus. Not only that, there’s no way you can think clearly enough to do creative work with so much noise.

As I’ve said before don’t turn your devices on first thing in the morning. There’s not much to say about all of these activities other than that they are low-value days to start your day. And if you start your day with these kinds of activities, you’ll probably spend your entire day on them.

High Value Activities

Anything that falls into the category of deep work is, in my opinion, a high-value activity.

  • As an author, the two highest value activities that I can spend my time on each day are reading books and writing.
  • If you’re a visual artist that could be mean you spend time in a studio drawing, sketching or painting.
  • If you’re a computer programmer or web designer, that could mean writing some code for the app or web site you’re building.

High-value activities don’t just have to be work related.

Exercise is an incredibly high-value activity that has an impact on your energy and creativity throughout the day. Some of my best writing days have been the ones on which I’ve spent 4 hours surfing.

Spend time talking with your friends, family, members or loved ones. (minus technology). Chat with your kids. Meet an old friend for breakfast or give a friend a call.

On the TV show One Tree Hill, one of the main characters jokingly said “Can you imagine if texting had been invented before voice? People would be amazed by the fact that you can hear the other person’s voice on the phone.” We’re so in the habit of not picking up the phone and texting back a response, that we’re often missing the subtle connections that can only take place when hearing the sound of another person’s voice.

If you spend the first hour of your day on high-value activities, eventually you’ll find yourself wanting to spend the second, third, and fourth hour of the day on such activities. You’ll get more done in less time. And eventually, you’ll find yourself spending the entire day on such activities.

As my friend AJ Leon said in The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit, “how you start will dictate how you finish.”

Before You Go…

If doing the best work of your life is important to you, you’ll love my free guide: “Optimizing Productivity & Creativity.

The tactics I’ve packed into this guide allowed me to write over 1 million words in the last 2 years. What could it do for your life’s work? Don’t miss it.

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