The Golden Hour basics
Updated: Mar 17, 2021
The Golden Hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, when the Sun is close to the horizon and the light is warmer and more golden, also known as the magical hour.
Think of golden hours as those when you orient yourself towards your personal North Star and focus on your strategic work and priorities. This includes deep work, creative thinking, or inspiring conversations. At other times it might be about deep rest, meditation or other relaxation which reacquaints you with more soulful parts of yourself. Maybe it takes the form of outdoor time, exercise or another flow activity. You might feel the most ‘you’ during golden hour, or you might activate parts of your brain that are dormant the rest of the day. My daughter loves ‘golden time’ on Fridays at school because they can do whatever they want – this sounds too lovely to just be for kids!
The point is, not all hours are created equally, and we benefit from being intentional about creating golden time each day. If we do, we can make meaningful strides in our work and life, even when it feels hard or overwhelming.
During Spring and Summer 2020, my golden hours took place very early in the morning, no alarm clock required. But you won't catch me waking up early in January! All seasons bring different energies. Right now, you might have more golden hours than before, or not enough hours, but even if you can’t carve out a full hour, I believe we can all have some golden time each day.
This blog and my emails will be geared towards helping you create golden time, and use the golden time you have in the best way. The nice thing about January is that we can start from the basics - goals, planners, and of course, coffee rituals! Yes, we will get to the topics of work, tricky negotiations and taking big leaps for big goals (I’m an Executive Coach, after all!)
But as Steven Covey says: "First things, first!"
If you’re not sure how to embark on your first golden hour - this is it! Grab a hot drink, a sofa, and have a read below, and listen to some of the links, to get your goals, planner and golden ritual set up:
Coffee - Of course, this is not just a cup of coffee. The ritual of getting it ready is part of preparing yourself for your golden hour, though of course, its not the only warm up ritual. Currently, I’ve been pressing fennel seeds into my Aeropress ground coffee there as it gives a very subtle sweetness. If I’m freezing, I might press in ground ginger or cinnamon too. A tall mug of fragrant, coffee to accompany me as I (hopefully) sit down to my first golden hour of the day! Could this also be your golden ritual?
Goals. We probably have more certainty about how the first quarter is going to look now than we did on New Year’s Day. So it makes sense that I’m still getting asked a lot about goals. In some ways that is no different from any January, but of course, it is totally different this year. You might rightly ask, what is the point of plans and goals when we’ve spent much of last year seeing them ripped to shreds? I highly recommend these two 5 minute episodes addressing this topic from Laura Vanderkam: Plans will change, plan anyway and The new corner office
If you want to dig deeper and understand about different goal setting approaches listen to our episode from last year. You can listen directly on my website there are two episodes in relation to goals from The Your Plate Podcast. You can listen directly to E9 here or search Your Plate Podcast on iTunes / Apple Podcasts and listen to S2, E9 - Goals! Aside from the misplaced excitement about 2020, it's still relevant! This year, I’m keeping it super simple – I’ve listed the 5-10 projects or themes I care about most this year, I have them on my phone notes and at the front of my planner. Then I break these down into very small, doable steps in my planner. The smaller the step the better. These become the steps you can tackle during golden hours.
Planner. On that note - I didn’t find it easy to chose a planner this year. I use my planner both as a personal daily coaching tool to prioritise my time, and in a reflective way to capture thoughts and golden moments from the day. I want to both view the full week [think in 168 hours] and be able to plan out each day in detail.
I’ve gone with this weekly spread planner which has just arrived. It has what I need to timeblock, set weekly goals, prioritise - plus all the newness and excitement of a fresh start! It would have been nice if it had a hard cover, but at least its spiral bound so it stays open on said week. I hate having multiple different books so I will probably start using the back pages for work notes and switch planner when the front and back meet in the middle - and get myself another fresh start during the year ! A good planning system is essential for both planning and making the most of golden time. Have you chosen yours yet?
Lots of love,