With blogging, MyBook or FaceSpace social networks (my pet names for MySpace and Facebook), Twitter, FriendFeed, video comments with Seesmic, and all the myriad of other participative, internet-centric places to invest your time, where are you spending your Golden Hours? How many of them are there in a day when we’re always-on and always-connected, and how are you managing your communication interrupts when trying to get stuff done?
In emergency medicine, the Golden Hour is that 60 minute chunk of time after a heart attack, stroke or major trauma when medical procedures are of most benefit in limiting the scope of damage and for saving lives. In photography, it’s the first hour after dawn breaks and the last hour before dusk when the light is amazing and allows even an amateur hack like me to frequently snap stunning photos.
The Golden Hours in business — which varies depending on cultures, work ethics and geography — have historically been 9-11am and 2-4pm. Morning coffees or meetings, escaping for lunch at 11:15am, post-lunch tiredness over by 2pm and the day wind-down at roughly 4pm (along with the always welcomed caffeine boost), all have made those four hours in the day particularly compelling and productive in the past.
Today it’s different. Thinking about “Golden Hours” is like imagining that we left our computers, mobile phones and all the connecting-type applications on the ‘net behind when we left our workplace. In a day when it’s so easy to be connected, aren’t all hours in the day and evening in some way “golden”?
Often I quit twhirl, iChat and Skype for a couple of hours in the morning and the afternoon so I’m not “interrupt driven”. On occasion I’ll place ‘busy’ on my direct line so calls roll to voicemail or are switched to my staff. All in an effort to maximize my Golden Hours.
But if you’re like me, a participant in social media all over the ‘net, you rarely turn this stuff off or at least are compelled to check up several times per day.
Even though most of them are “communication traditionalists”, I’ve found that my client executives have Golden Hours that are significantly earlier and later than most people. Since I offer client executives (not their teams though) unlimited meetings and phone calls during the course of our engagement, we often talk at 6:30am or after 7pm since the productive Golden Hours are beginning to lengthen as our ability to be connected increases.
With person-specific ringtones, an unpublished SkypeIn phone number and acceptance of text messages to my unpublished mobile phone number (I use the Vonage Simulring® so my direct line also rings my mobile phone, so I don’t give the number out), I am in nearly complete control of my communication inputs. This management of the inputs allows me to be incredibly productive and easily maximize my Golden Hours which, frankly, are most of the time that I’m awake unless I shut it all down.