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When do YOU do YOUR Best Work?

We’re going to go off-book in the post. It has absolutely nothing to do with golf, and is really just a self-reflection, but it’s something that I have been thinking about and thought would be interesting to share. So without further ado, I will begin…

Sometime around my junior year of college, I figured out something very important about myself that I never would have imagined—I am at my most productive at what some would consider ridiculously early hours of the morning. If you would have told my parents that when I was 15 years old, barely waking before the clock changed to PM hours, they would have laughed at you. I always despised waking up early, and yet somehow I figured out that my best work got done before the sun was up.

It has been a few years since I last employed this technique, at the time when I was still putting the finishing touches on my Master’s Thesis, but I recently rediscovered how much enjoyment this habit I developed brings. In the midst of gearing up for the beginning of the golfing season, putting together financial planning for 2016, answering all of the phone calls and emails, along with the myriad of other daily duties I take on in my role, I felt like I was in a slump. It was at that point that I started thinking about some of the times when I was most productive, and I remembered how great it was to get up early and just get stuff done.

So, a couple of weeks ago, that is exactly what I did—woke up sometime in the 4:00 o’clock hour, went through my morning routine, and got into the office around 5:00. At first it was a little eerie being here alone that early, but after a few minutes of gaining my bearings, I found my groove. I haven’t felt that productive in a long time, so it got me thinking about exactly why I worked so well so early in the morning—especially given the fact that every sign of my youth pointed to the exact opposite.

For me, perhaps the biggest advantage to this strategy is the variable of having a clear mind. That early in the morning, I’m not thinking about all of the things that have come up so far during the day, and how I’m going to deal with them, and what I have to do in an hour, or what conference call or meeting I have later in the afternoon—all of these things distract the mind from fully focusing on the task at hand. On top of that, if you think about it, those wee hours of the morning are kind of like extra time tacked on to a normal day. Better yet, that extra time comes before anyone else even starts their day. So not only am I able to work at a time of day that is really before the day even starts, but I am able to have a clear mind and not worry about anything but the task at hand. Until I rediscovered this habit, I had forgotten how incredibly rewarding those days feel.

Take golf out of the equation and just think about your work, or life in general terms—have you ever considered time when you’ve felt most productive? That feeling is one that all of us strive for at some point or another and, at least for me, is one that has a huge impact on my feelings of how my day-to-day life is going. If you’re a morning person like I am, chances are this post sounds familiar to the reasons why you love the mornings so much. If you aren’t, you may think it’s a bit crazy.

Here’s the point—figure out under what circumstances you do your best work and use those strengths to your advantage. It might not be waking up at 4:00am like me, but whatever those circumstances are, figuring them out will only help to set you up for success, and who doesn’t want that?