When is your golden time for attacking hard things?

I try not to force myself to do things these days.

I think I’ve hit upon something that helps me, at least. I’m sharing this insight with you here in case it inspires you. But, as always, feel free to adopt, adapt or discard what I’m sharing.

This is because how you choose to coach yourself should be authentic, comfortable, safe and freely chosen. I just put my ideas out there, and you can do with them whatever you will, or simply scroll on by.

Instead, I try to think about when I have the most natural energy, interest, time and least distractions, and do things then – starting often with the least appealing.

I call this finding my golden time.

Thumbnail style image with the question: when's your golden time on it. In the middle, there is a golden clock face. To the top right, there is the multi-coloured quirky brain coach logo. To the right, Becci is smiling and wearing light up blue gaming headphones for coaching. She has lots of freckles.

I’m knackered at 5pm. I can’t even make a sandwich, let alone do invoicing or research – so I don’t try.

This is sensible conservation of resources for me, and prevents me feeling crap about trying and failing to do something that was almost certainly never in my capacity anyway.

5am-7am is my golden time for much stuff (I am NOT telling you to join some toxic 5am club – no way).

As the days get longer, I wake earlier anyway because of the light and birds, so I’m already naturally waking at this time.

As my brain is always sharpest in the morning and I’m one of those annoying people who are “bright eyed and busy tailed” first thing, I need to make use of my sharper brain while I have it. Also, no one wants coaching or training at 5am and I’d only be bored if I did not fill my time.

Therefore, if I don’t use my 5am-7am natural slot, I lose the executive function and motivation that is naturally there.

Because I am better resourced and energised, I find I can more easily do stuff I don’t enjoy as much at this time.

This is the time when I attack one thing I’ve been procrastinating on before I then work on research or coaching materials as a reward.

One of the most compelling reasons why I do stuff so early is because no one can steal that time from me or put demands on me. I can be monotropic and fully autonomous and it feels, at times, really, really good.

I have used golden time to get invoicing done, to do other admin, to sort out tax – all the things I dislike and struggle with, and would usually not be able to do at another time.

I think this connects to why some of us have “revenge bedtime procrastination” – sometimes we choose to do lovely stuff that’s deeply interesting very late at night because we haven’t been able to meet that desire in the day. Plus, late at night is often when some of us have no demands or distractions from others.

Anyway, I spend a large chunk of my coaching work helping people who can’t act when they want find authentic and self-chosen ways to act when they’d prefer to.

One of the things I always ask about is when their golden time is.

When are they sharpest and freshest?

When do they have the most energy?

When do they have the least distractions?

When do they notice it’s easiest to do something they don’t like?

Once we know these things, we look at if it’s possible to start putting in some gentle “opportunity pockets” for certain things, in line with the golden time.

It’s not a failsafe method but I am never looking for failsafe. I don’t think it exists. What we want is something that will generally work more often than it doesn’t. I think the golden time is probably one of those things, if you decide it might help you.

If there’s a short task that you’ve procrastinated on for a while, the golden time exercise may help. At the very least, you’ll discover the least likely time to try to do hard things.

Before you think about golden time, a suggestion: see if you can get very clear on what the task is and how long you think it might take (if you’re able), as clarity is also important for motivation.

But consider asking yourself:

When is your golden time and when is it definitely not to get that thing done?

If you’re procrastinating and your old “friends” anxiety and overwhelm are coming knocking more often than you like at the moment, I can help.

Privately funded and Access to Work funded options are available. You can have a free, no obligation consult with free insight on how I would help you with getting things done in order to feel calmer and more on top of things. Contact me here.

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