The Most Important Hour of the Day

I am mostly offline, attending a business conference. I have asked several bloggers to post in my absence. This is a guest post by Kimanzi Constable. He blogs about finding your passion in your work and practical helps for everyday work issues. You can follow him on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar. You hear the alarm clock go off in the morning. You just need a couple more minutes of sleep, so you hit the snooze button.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/alvarez

Ten minutes later, the alarm clock goes off, but you’re already sound asleep. Thirty minutes later, you wake up in a panic. You just overslept and are going to be late.

You rush out of bed, throw on whatever you can find and head to the bathroom. You look at your toothbrush and tell yourself there’s no time. You gargle, grab whatever is in the fridge for lunch and you’re off.

As you’re heading to the door, you see your Bible on the table, but you don’t have time. You get in your car, praying there will be no traffic. You get on the highway, and it’s bumper-to-bumper.

Whatever shot you had of having a good day is gone. The whole way to work, you’re thinking up excuses of why you’re late.

The rest of your day, you’re dropping things and running into people. It becomes one of those days you completely want to forget.

You get home, and you’re already worked up. Any little thing sets you off. You can’t wait for bed!

Now, your day may not have gone exactly like this, but you’ve had days that were close, right? How you spend the first hour of your day will determine how well the rest of it goes.

You can have a bad first hour and turn it around, but nine times out of ten, if you have a bad first hour, the rest of your day is ruined. Here are four tips for having a great first hour of the day:

  1.  Get things prepared the night before. Right before you go to bed, set yourself up for the next day. Get your clothes ready, and put them in a spot where you can grab them in the morning. If you have to iron, do it that night.

    Grab everything you’ll need in the morning and put it in one spot, so you can wake up and have it ready to go. If you make your own lunch, have it ready in the fridge. Do as much prep work as you can to eliminate the hectic morning routine.

  2.  Get enough sleep. You have to get a good amount of rest. What that amount is—that’s up to you. For the last ten years, I have delivered bread, waking up as early as nine p.m. to three a.m. at the latest.

    For the longest time I would get between two to four hours of sleep. Do I need to tell you how rough the first hour of the day was for me?

    When I got home I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t take a nap. The problem was the nap would cut into whatever time I wanted to write, do activities with my family, or any projects I wanted to do. Your body needs enough sleep for you to function properly all day. It’s just not natural to not get enough sleep.

  3. Get up a little early and have devotions. That quite time you spend in the morning, reading God’s Word and praying, will calm you and prepare you for the day.

    The verses you read as a part of that first hour of the morning will be your shield. Even if you can only spare twenty minutes, it can go a long way to ensure a positive, stress-free day.

  4. Use every minute of that first hour wisely. When I started the bread route, I would do devotions for twenty minutes, then my morning workout for another twenty minutes, then shower and head to work.

    During that workout time, I would listen to some soothing music or a podcast that inspired me. Using every minute of that first hour helped keep me focused throughout the day. I was intentional with my time, which led to amazing results.

Are you in a “funk” lately and wonder why? You might feel like that those few minutes of sleep is just what your body needs, but that’s not true.

When that alarm clock goes off, wake up and hit the ground running. Make sure you give yourself the proper amount of rest the night before.

Spend that time with the Lord and prepare yourself for all the stresses life will throw at you. And get encouraged with some of the amazing content we all have available to us.

Question: How do you normally spend your first hour? How does the rest of your day turn out? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    The steps you outline are so very crucial, and I am great about following them about 90% of the time. But it’s the days when I have a break in my routine – the kids are home, weekend events, early AM apt., etc. – when I don’t follow these steps. The first day it happens usually goes okay, but too many too close together, and my days get increasingly harder. I especially love what you said about the Bible verse you read being the shield. Boy can I tell when I forgot my shield for the day.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Thank you for the great points Kari and it good you see that the days “get harder” when you get off your routine, stay on top of it. Thanks for commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/TrentWhalon Trent Whalon

    Kimanzi, great post!  I’m notorious for dragging myself out of bed in the morning, and rushing to get to work.  I wasn’t always like that.  You’ve inspired me to get back on track with the first hour of the day.  Thanks!

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      I’m glad the post can help. You will feel alot better and more productive starting your days off this ways!

  • Ryan Clements2010

    Let’s just hope you don’t read Mt 6:33-34 during your morning devotion that you were able to get to because you prepared your things the night before.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Thanks for commenting Ryan

  • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

    Really great post, Kimanzi!  I also checked out your website and love it!  You have a great message to share with people.  And you are acting upon it.   Looking forward to reading your blog in the future.  Blessings, my friend, and thanks again for sharing!

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Thank you SO much for the kind words John. It was a TRUE honor to have this post featured here. Thank you for visiting my site, and I’m grateful for you reading my work! People do need to see that they can follow their passion and find work that they love, all they need is a plan! You have to be “intentional” about it.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Thank you, Kimanzi, for your great tips on how to start the day off right.

    Like you, I believe spending time in God’s Word is essential.

    There is a brand new Christian Daily Devotional site that I would like to share with you and the rest of the good folks on this site. For cross-centered devotionals, go to:

    http://www.lightofthemaster.com/apps/blog

    Check in each day and be edified by a cross-centered, gospel Word.

    I know of no better way to start the day off right.

    Thanks, very much!

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Thank you so much for reading Steve and thank you for sharing your site. The Word is so important to our life!

  • http://timewithtracy.com/ Time With Tracy

    Thank you for these great strategies! This is an area where I fail miserably. I’ve always been a night owl. I’ve also struggled with insomnia. I get a second wind around 10 pm and my most productive hours are 10:00 pm – 1:00 am. Then I’m frazzled the next morning. It’s really a matter of disciplining myself. Your post has encouraged me to take intentional steps to fix this.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Amen Tracy! My mother in law is the same way. I’ll pray for your progress, it won’t be easy. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://www.workyouenjoy.com Adam Rico

    These are some great tips Kimanzi. It’s also fantastic to see you featured on this blog. Best wishes.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Thank for reading Adam! Nice to see you hear as well!

  • Elizabethgreco

    Early Bird catches the worm
    What I am saying thru experience I would go one step further
    than you on your

    Very good advice about morning planning.

     

    When I worked in the City of London.  I saw that :

     

    To
    Get the EdgeTo
    have advantage over everyone elseTo
    get promotionTo
    be the firstTo
    look and be zinging with energyTo
    be in the momentTo
    be ready proactiveTo
    be ready to jump in take controlTo a
    mile ahead of everyone you will have that hour of waking up unfolding that
    others are at for the first hour in the office so actually you are two
    hours ahead..

     

    This is what you do:

     

    You get to the office an hour before the rest of the world

     

    Its so surprising to see a dead
    asleep office with no buzz.

    That will soon be heaving with
    business.

     

    You have the opportunity to:

     

     

    1.     
    To tie up silly irritating tasks that may look like nothing
    but will blow up in your face

     

    2.     
    Chance to see any incoming emails and prepare.

     

    3.     
    Your mind will be global, in the universe so will be visionary

     

    4.     
    Statements will come to mind as its clear.

     

    5.     
    You can snoop around everyone’s in trays see whats happening

     

    6.     
    Most importantly you have a chance to read the files,
    background be like

    A detective.  You can look other’s around desks and see
    their owners character attitude.

     

    Experience when I was temping in
    big company we never saw the big boss up stairs.  But I stayed late one night and saw that when every one had gone
    home he came down and went snooping around all the offices and desks.  The two bosses I worked for female were
    quite ditzy and their offices were absolutely full of papers everywhere they
    were artistic directors dirty messy offices. 
    They were both sacked .They thought that all the busy ness would
    impress, it did not.

     

    Those that come in early get the
    promotion.  Other wise you are are
    catching up all day if you do  not come
    in that hour earlier than the others,

     

    They say an hour before midnight
    is worth 2 afterwards.  Meaning you go
    to bed before midnight and you have that advantage. 

     Also scientists are saying that you should get up from your desk and walk around every 20minutes for good health.

     

     

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Agatha

    Thanks for the reminder. I find that the time spent in the morning level-sets me for the day.
    I’m up at 5:30 for 15 minutes of devotions, another 15 minutes of Bible reading. I send a text message or email to one friend thanking them for being in my life and its off to morning church from 7-7:30. Not much can distract me from Christ for the rest of the day. I’m an evening exerciser, so that waits till I get home.
    I’ve just started emailing or texting each morning. Takes about 60 seconds, but affirming others is well worth the habit!

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Way to be intentional with your time Agatha, it truly is inspiring for the rest of us! Sounds like an awesome routine, thanks for sharing and adding value.

  • http://twitter.com/nochnoch Noch Noch

    i just sent this to my fiance. every morning he rushes in and out getting ready for work. it makes the day starts stressful!

    Noch Noch

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Thank you for sharing it with him, hoepfully it helps! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Wendysunjie

    I have a very bad routine every day and i wanna change it from now on. Your advice is very useful for me. And BTW, i explored your website and blog severeal days ago just bcz i want to create a life plan for me to helo me live a better and health life. so i downloaded the E-book in your website hoping i can get rid of some bad habits. So thank you for sharing so many good articles. I will insist on reading it and try to share with you my commets.  

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      I’m glad you could find value from this post Wendy and yes, Michael has an amazing blog that has alot of useful tools to help you be “intentional” with your time and life!

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    My first hour is actually my second hour.  But it works for me…

    I don’t hit the snooze.  Not an issue for me.  I get up, shower and dress, and spend about 20 minutes with my family before leaving for the church where I work.

    Once there, I spend the next hour reading the Bible and praying.  After that, I peruse my RSS feeds in Google Reader, check my email, and am ready to get busy about the time the rest of the staff shows up at 9:00.

    My day off is a bit different, but only in the fact that I don’t go to the church, or check RSS and email.  That can wait till the next day. My day off is protected.

    I have my off days, but most of the time, my first hour(s) makes my day great!

    Great post!  Thanks for sharing!

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Sounds like you’re on top of things Jeff, you’re making me jealous! Thanks for sharing and commenting. Thank you for the kind words!

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        It’s true, I’m in a better place spiritually now than I have been for a while.  Thanks for the encouragement!

        • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

          Thank you Jeff for all the great insight you leave on Michael’s blog everyday. I read your comments and learn from them!

  • http://twitter.com/_ThomasMason Thomas Mason

    Well-written post. You give good advice, Kimanzi. I need to do better with my morning devotions, but my problem is not having the motivation to get things ready the night before when I have a job that makes me absolutely miserable. I barely want to get out of the bed in the morning. However, if I make reading Scripture and praying in the morning, I know it would make a huge difference in my attitude and in my relationship with Christ.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      As you know from my blog and books Thomas, I truly believe life is too short to stay at a job that makes you miserable, it will affect other area’s of your life. I know you are but formulate a step by step by to follow your passions (easier said then done, right?). I’ll be praying for you brother, I’m in the same situation with my work but God is good and he answers prayer! Thanks for sharing and commenting Thomas.

  • Cindiet

    When I take the time to first spend tim with the Lord my day runs so much better. I believe that the verse “His mercies are new every morning,” is meant for us to spend time with Him first. It does set the tome foe my day.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Amen to that! We need His word in the morning as protection from the fiery darts of the devil all day! Thanks for getting involved Cindiet!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Thanks for the wonderful post Kimanzi! Often, the manner in which I spend first hour of the day determines the course/ mood of the entire day. Ideally, I begin the day by jogging. Then I prioritize on reading Bible and praying. When I deviate from this routine, I find the entire day distrubed.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      You’re on it Uma and keep up the good work. That jogging in the morning really gives you energy for the day, add that time with the Lord and nothing can get in your way! Stay on it Uma, thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    More often than
    not, I just jump into work… something I realize doesn’t make me productive.
    My best days begin with a short prayer and Bible reading time. It’s amazing how
    that centers me. And… it makes me wonder why I don’t start every day that
    way.

    Nice post, Kimanzi. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      It’s good you see that Erin and I’ll pray for strength for you! Thanks for the kind words and for commenting!

  • http://www.amazon.com/Daily-Deposits-Soul-Christians-ebook/dp/B007BQNQ3O/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1330887193&sr=1-1 Henry Matlock

    I am a proponent of starting the day with prayer and Bible reading/study.  I like how you included that, as well as other practical pointers for starting the day well.  Enjoyed the post, Kimanzi!

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      As always I appreciate your support Henry, it’s awesome to see so many friends from 48days.net, I owe you guys big time! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    Great tips for that first hour, which really does set the tone for the day. Thanks for the reminder.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Thank you for reading and commenting Skip, I like your site!

  • Fdarweesh

    thought my self alone in this loop…

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Thanks for reading, you’re not alone!

  • http://twitter.com/cliffsidemedia Cliff Side Media

    Completely agree: the battle to wake up a the first sound of the alarm and to make your prayer life a non-negiotable in your morning routine is tatamount in our pursuit of genuine holiness.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Amen, Michael. Thank you for adding value to the post!

  • http://www.poetryinmotion.co.nz/ David Andrews

    Good strategies.  I use my commute as my first hour to listen and read the bible.  It’s a great way to start the day.

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      That’s a good use of that hour David, it gives you an awesome start to your day! Keep up the good work, thanks for sharing.

  • Gilbert Montez

    Hey  Kimanzi, thanks for advice. I am not much of a morning person so getting things ready at night is crucial for my morning to go well. Mostly, I exist in the mornings. Also, I have to get my workout done first thing in the morning so it will help wake me up, then devotional, then get ready for work. Even at work, I do some of my most mundane tasks in the morning–those tasks that don’t require much thinking till I can fully engage to tackle the harder issues. If I can, I don’t plan early morning meetings; I’m useless. 

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      It’s good to know where you stand Gilbert and go with what works. It sounds like you’ve found a routine that works for you, so keep it the good work! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • http://twitter.com/MarianneClement Marianne Clements

    Kimanzi,

    Definitely — the first hour of the day is sooo important.  Everyone is pressed for time in the morning especially if they have to fight Atlanta traffic.  I recommend listening to sermons or inspirational music while getting ready for work.  I also recommend getting the Bible on CD or MP3 and listening to it while you commute. 

    Have a Victorious Day!
    Marianne Clements

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Awesome idea’s Marianne, and Amen! Thanks for adding value to the post!

  • Headleyl

    How timely, Kimanzi! I just started Dan Miller’s Rudder of the Day, in which he quotes Henry Ward Beech, who said “The first hour is the rudder of the day- the Golden Hour.” Thank you for practical suggestions in your blog post; such common sense! To aid in my “Battle of the Snooze Button,” I approach that Golden Hour as if it were a gift to myself instead of a “must-do”…mind over matter (or mattress, as it were).
    Be well and blessed- Laura Headley

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      I’m a huge Dan Miller fan, I actually guest posted on his blog a couple of weeks ago: http://www.48days.com/2012/02/23/stop/

      I’m glad this post can give you a little more affirmation of the path that you are already on! Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

       That is a great book Laura! I used it as one of the books I read for devotional time. So much insight and knowledge in that book.

  • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

    Love it, Kimanzi! We speak the same language. Check this out: http://www.liveitforward.com/6-bs-lead-your-life-from-quiet/

    Also, it’s been great getting to know you a bit on 48days.net – I look forward to a growing friendship!

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      Me too Kent, I appreciate how supportive everybody on 48days.net is, I appreciate the group that you started! Thanks for reading and sharing the awesome post on your blog!

      • http://www.liveitforward.com/ Kent Julian

        I look forward to meeting someday face-to-face. I’m sure it will happen since we are now running in the same circles. 

        Continue doing what you’re doing!

        • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

          My goal is to make it to a write to the bank event, maybe we all can meet there!

  • everdayjoy

    Ugh, for a stay at home mom who is not a morning person, this article is NOT good news! LOL

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      I understand joy and I was laughing when I saw your comment on Dan Black’s Facebook page! Maybe try it out and see how it goes? Thanks for reading!

  • http://ignitechange.net/ Craig Morton

    Hi Kimanzi–I liked this list a lot.  It’s about figuring out what is important in life and then working in support structures to make it happen.  Thanks

    • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

      You’re right Craig, thank you for adding value to the post and thanks for reading and sharing!

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  • Arpita Sharma

    hey.. i really like this post.Thanks for sharing Kimanzi. I enjoyed it. 

    • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    Thank you for this post Michael.
    Looking at my routine a bit closer now.  Those minutes of checking things add up quickly.

    K, bye

    • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

      Glad it helped, checking is what lead to me writing this :)

  • Ron Gorsuch

    I needed this today! You almost perfectly described my “routine”. I’ve missed that hour too many times. Thanks for the much needed direction!

    • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

      Glad it could help Ron!

  • http://twitter.com/MoneyWisePastor Money Wise Pastor

    #1 – getting things prepared the night before – is definitely important for me.  If I have to pull all my stuff together in the morning, it often takes me twice as much time. 

    • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

      That helped me too, glad this post helped!

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  • http://idasmithbooks.com Ida Smith

    As a kid I remember reading about a missionary or traveling pastor, I’m thinking it was John Wesley, but don’t quote me. Anyway, he said if he didn’t spend like three hours a day in prayer and Bible study he couldn’t get anything done. That’s always stuck with me. I’ve experienced that time with the Lord is the most important part of a good and productive day. Not that things don’t go wrong, but God fortifies us to handle them.
    Great reminder on the snooze alarm. Maybe one of man’s worst inventions.

  • Sonia Anand

    Way to go Michael. I am just not a morning person but this post surely encourages me. My Boss always Kulwinder, swears on this philosophy and even promotes it among our team. Hope to follow this one soon.
    Thanks for sharing.