Since about three years now, I have been devouring books voraciously – often toggling between two at a time. Averaging a book every 15 days or so, I have probably completed over a hundred titles quite easily not including the ones that I re-read. These books range from: stupid fiction (that I now regret), interesting fiction, non-fiction including Booker Prizer winners/shortlists, Pulitzer Prize winners/shortlists, Financial Times bestsellers and books that are on selfdevelopment, leadership, sales and marketing, money and religion. Oh, I should also mention – a sizeable chunk of these books are audio books and the rest of e-books or paperbacks. Average reading time per day has been close to 45mins (with, of course, weekends and holidays doing in excess of 2 hours per day). Long back, I used to read mainly at bedtime when I got started but I realised that it was hard to stay awake and my attention would drift off. I then switched to reading (or listening) at other times of the day: for example: an audio book while I’m driving/running or working out; a paperback or e-book while on a plane (phone on flight mode, hence very limited distraction) or at a coffee shop or during any clear waking hours of the day. This brings me to the topic of the blog. In my case, what worked best for me was the first hour of the day after I woke up. I call this the The Magic Hour. Why? Usually, in my first hour of the morning, I would make my customary tea and lace up for a run or a workout. After a (hopefully) good night’s sleep I am fully rested and therefore, fully switched on. I also know that during these 60 minutes I am not going to be disturbed by a family member or a phone call or the doorbell. I don’t read e-mails or texts until long after my Magic Hour. In short, I am focused on what I’m doing which reading my book. As an aside, I don’t check my phone notifications or whatsapp messages until 60-90 minutes after I wake up. Of course, there are minor exceptions, but they only enforce the rule. You might ask, “That’s all very well, Vishnu – but what’s think got to do with me?”. The point I’m trying to make here is that we ALL have our Magic Hour when we function the best. That’s when we are the most productive, receptive, creative and efficient. And it varies from person to person. While for me – my mornings are sacred, it might be late afternoons for you or even the last hour when your family has gone to bed and you are free to pursue your ideas or goals. Indeed, a variety of research done on people living around the world and from different walks of life (student, office – goer, home maker, retired) all have their productive (read magic) hour. Irony is that most of us don’t realise it and therefore don’t schedule our tasks in such that we achieve maximum productivity and yield. For example: ZapierData shows that 18% knowledge workers (I assume readers of this blog) spend less than an hour per day on core job functions; 81% spend less than three hours a day on creative work and a whopping 90% spend upto five hours a day checking checking messenger apps per day. Yet another research done on 2000 respondents in the UK states that employees are productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes per day. Shocking, right? However, when you consider all the distractions of a modern workplace, it starts to make sense. 47% of employees say they check social media when they should be working, and 45% read news websites. Moreover, research by Trello found that people working 8-hour days complete the same or less amount of work than people working a 6-hour day. Now, I’m not offering to change your habits. I’m as guilty as anyone else. But what I’m suggesting is that each one of us has a period of time each day when we, biomechanical and physiological reasons, are primed to deliver peak performance. Not only this, we have been doing so for years on end – just without ever realising it. It’s time to wake up to this realisation. But be careful though: your magic hour could be different from your spouse, colleague or best friend’s. How do I find out when is my Magic Hour? Try and recall your last week at work or school or at home depending on what you do. Think of those days when you were satisfied with your work/output. Now narrow it down to the time of the day when that event happened. Maybe just an hour or so before lunch or the last hour before the end of the day or when the kids had gone to sleep. Do you see any pattern? If not, try to take a longer duration – maybe a fortnight or even a month. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t remember each day when you accomplished something meaningful. But for each day try and jot down what did you accomplish and around what time of the day. For those who can’t remember at all what they have been upto, I would recommend that start keeping a daily journal for next 30 days where you write down your activities, your results (satisfied or unsatisfied) and the time of engagement. You will find that there are blocks of time where your percentage of satisfaction are higher than those at other times. Just two rules about maintaining this journal. Rule # 1: be honest and consistent. Rule # 2: Don’t break rule # 1. So, folks, without having to sign out of your social media accounts, without disengaging with your friends and families on whatsapp – you can still improve your productivity significantly just by knowing when you function the best in a day and scheduling your most important tasks during that period – “Your Magic Hour”.