The First 90 Minutes Rule to Peak Performance

You are most productive in the morning. You’re fresh and focused in the morning, even if you don’t feel it. Your best work happens within a short time span of the day. And you should be making the most of it. Your productive morning should be spent on outputs, not inputs. It pays to protect your morning. Don’t spend it distractions. Don’t even think about scheduling a meeting at a time when people want to get most work done. Don’t expect to generate enthusiasm at a morning meeting.

The basic principle of the first 90 minutes rule is to start your day by spending the first 90 minutes on your most important task.

The human body operates on cycles called “ultradian rhythms.” According to research, during each of these cycles, there is a peak when we are most energized and a period when we are exhausted. You are most active in the morning. Do your best work in whilst you have willpower and energy at its peak.

In a post on Zapier, Stephen Altrogge says:

“With the 90-minute focus technique, you take full advantage of the energy peaks and troughs that occur throughout your day: Work 90 minutes and then rest for 20–30 minutes. In discussing peak performance in a 1993 study, Anders Ericcson pointed out that those rest periods between intense work sessions is essential for improvement.”

What is the one most important thing you have to do every work day?

Once you identify that, preferably the night before, or better at the end of your day, write it down. And focus your energy on getting it accomplished the next morning once you are ready to begin your day.

There are hundreds of things you could choose to do in the morning. Completing your most important task not only moves it out of your way, but it gives you great energy because you get the feeling you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

Make no room for distractions. Disengage: zero push notifications. Make your phone calls in the afternoon. This help you focus. Instead of responding to requests which hijack your focus and put you in a reactive mode, where other people’s priorities take center stage, take control of your morning.

There’re a million different ways a morning could go but if you observe the first 90 minites rule, you can do a lot more than you can imagine on any given work day. It doesn’t have to be the first thing you do when you wake up or get to the office but the 90 minutes period of work should be done before midday.

While there’s probably not an ideal morning routine that fits everyone, you can learn a lot from the morning routines of successful people, research and inspiration behind starting your morning on the right foot.

A focused work rule is also important. So spend the rest of your day by working intensely for 60 to 90 minutes. Take a 10 minute break after that to refresh your mind. Listen to some music, have a walk if you can, have a quick chat, and in 10 minutes you’ll be ready to dive in again.

Establish a routine once you know your peak time

Peak performance is dependent on passion, grit, determination, and a willingness to do something poorly until you can do it well. — Zig Ziglar

Starting and maintaining a positive daily morning routine is an investment and a way to do your best work everyday. It also gives you structure, building forward-moving habits, and creating momentum for the rest of the day. It helps you establish priorities, limit procrastination, keep track of your goals.

In the words of Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.

“How you begin your morning often sets the tone and your attitude for the day. It can also derail or direct your focus. If you remain committed to good morning work habits, you won’t fall prey to feeling unproductive and distracted at the end of the day or week.”

Once you establish a routine, it ceases to be a struggle to get in productivity mode everyday because the habit becomes part of you. Tynan, the author of Superhuman by Habit, says, habits are “action[s] that you take on a repeated basis with little or no required effort or thought.”

Many people pay little attention to the natural rhythms of their body. But once you know what times in the morning you can work better, use it your advantage and your body can deliver at its peak.

Working in 90-minute bursts first thing in the morning allows you to correlate your maximum energy levels with your most important task, which then gives your productivity a major boost. It’s only when you come to appreciate and accept the ebbs and flows of your body that you can really start to deliver maximum results.

It’s important you have a morning routine that sets you up for success.

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