Sunday, 29 January 2012

The “Hour of Power” x 2, or 4 or 5

What if you took the productivity of the “Hour of Power” to the rest of your day… How much more could you accomplish?

One of the first selling techniques I was taught by my father when I joined the family business was the “Hour of Power”.  Essentially it is the practice of allocating a solid one hour block exclusively for the purpose of cold calling, and setting up appointments.

You planned for this “Hour of Power” by collating your prospect list, researching the businesses, and then developing a VBR (Valid Business Reason) for calling them.  Then you lock yourself in your office (or call room), and for one hour you did nothing but make calls. No distractions, no emails, (faxes at the time), and no incoming calls. 
At the time I did not know why the techniques had proven so effective, and it was not until much later when I started to read up on the inefficiency of multitasking, that I discovered where the true POWER of that hour came from.

Scour the internet for anything positive on the efficiency of multitasking and all you will get are articles rejecting the premise of your search criteria. Yet we are in the multitasking era, I myself am a three screens man, I watch television, while checking my emails or reading on my ipad, and tweeting from my phone.
Never before has it been so easy to multitask and ironically never before has it been so important NOT to multitask.

We all have so much to process. Between our personal, work and social lives, it has never been so important to be as efficient as possible in order to actually get everything we need done.

To do that, studies have shown that focusing on a singular task can improve the brains productivity by more than double that of when we try multitasking. The issue is When people attempt to complete many tasks at one time, “or [alternate] rapidly between them, errors go way up and it takes far longer—often double the time or more—to get the jobs done than if they were done sequentially,” states Meyer.[7] This is largely because “the brain is compelled to restart and refocus”  .[8] A study by Meyer and David Kieras found that in the interim between each exchange, the brain makes no progress whatsoever. Therefore, multitasking people not only perform each task less suitably, but lose time in the process.

This summary and further research is available through Wikipedia and I highly recommend you do some further reading on the topic to completely understand the neurological reason behind the inefficiency. 

So here’s my advice… start locking in multiple “Hours of Power”, priorities your work load and then allocate several one hour blocks throughout the day to individual tasks, block out as many of the distraction as possible and give yourself and your allocated task your most effective and efficient focus.

Next week I will extend on this with a blog on planning your ideal week, which will give you some tips on how to allocate your time throughout the day / week.  
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