The 7 Rules of the Power Hour Technique and plans to use it based on your writing habits
I don’t know about you, but I always search for new techniques to increase my writing productivity. I diversify and alternate many of them, and I love to hunt for new ones. It gives me a boost of creativity and psychological well-being that I cannot find anywhere else.
A couple of weeks ago, I was brainstorming some ideas, and I decided to try and write one article per hour, like many of my peers. I planned four, and I wrote three of them in three hours, more or less.
In the following days, I tried again. But this time, I couldn’t do it, so I tried to analyze what I had done that night that allowed me to write that fast. So I came up with the rules of the power hour technique.
The 7 Rules of The Power Hour Technique
The power hour technique allows you to explain one idea in only 60 minutes. If you want to use it, here are its seven rules.
1. Choose an idea.
The first thing to do is to choose an idea you want to talk about. Independently of the content, there must be a ground idea that caught your attention that you want to develop. It may be something you heard on a podcast, something you read about, a curiosity your friend told you, or even small talk you sneaked in a casual conversation on the street.
Choose one idea from your idea bucket, and focus on it for a couple of seconds.
2. Write a working headline.
Once you choose the idea, write a working headline. You need to focus on the one thing you would like to tell your readers, but do not worry about making it charming yet.
This will be a working headline, so it doesn’t need to respect every rule of SEO titles, catch attention, or anything like that. It just needs to contain the thesis you will be discussing in your piece.
3. Isolate yourself from any kind of interruption.
Presenting a concept for 60 minutes requires attention, and you cannot allow anyone to interfere with your stream of thoughts. So you should isolate yourself from any kind of interruptions that could break your flow.
For example, I silence my phone and any other types of notification that could distract me. Also, when there is someone at my place, I clarify that I am doing something important and I need 60 minutes of break from everyone.
4. Put background music (optional).
Something I enjoy when writing my articles is putting some epic music in the background. Usually, I listen to songs by Two Steps from Hell because they are purely instrumental, and they charge me up to perform at my best.
But epic music is not necessary. All kinds of instrumental music can work, even classical music. However, I discourage you from listening to anything that contains many words because they could distract you.
In this case, if you cannot listen to anything else but that put the same song on repeat. This way, the words will vanish, and it would be like you are listening to instrumental music again.
5. Set a timer of 60 minutes.
Once you set up your environment, set a timer of 60 minutes.
Our society is very well trained to think about time in terms of hours. We use those periods to organize our entire reality, so fitting 60 minutes into your routine should not be that demanding. Also, too much time makes you lose focus on the core of the idea, while less time could become too extreme to talk about something properly.
6. Write your point of view on the argument.
Once the timer starts, write.
There are no rules here. You can write an outline first to fix your ideas or follow your flow and keep writing from start to finish without interruptions. The only thing that matters is that you write.
In the beginning, you will find it challenging to develop an idea under the pressure of the timer. Maybe because you think that 60 minutes are not enough to write everything, or the idea wasn’t as interesting as you thought. Whatever the case, do not quit.
If you keep writing, your brain will be challenged to develop some kind of idea, and those ideas could come in handy in the future.
Also, do not lose time researching the arguments you are writing about. Your idea should already start from a firm base, and you can always integrate it with more specific information later. But there is no time for research in this type of challenge.
7. After 60 minutes, no more writing is allowed.
Once the 60 minutes are finished, stop writing.
This rule might seem extreme, but it has its benefits. For example, if you focus on the time limit, you learn to work and develop your ideas faster. So, in the long run, your writing skills will improve overall.
Also, you give more structure to your writing, and you learn to manage your time better.
5 reasons why you only need 60 minutes
1 — If you need more to convince people, your content is not that interesting.
Have you ever wondered why marketing rules want spots to be under 30 seconds? Because if you need more than 30 seconds to explain why your product is exciting, you are finding excuses.
The same goes for long-form content. The first of the 5 reasons why you only need 60 minutes to produce great content is because an idea doesn’t need more. If you need more than 60 minutes to explain why your idea is worth reading, maybe it is not that interesting after all.
This is why you only need 60 minutes to develop great content. If it takes you more, most of the time, it is not great content.
2 — If your idea needs research, it was not well studied.
If your point of view needs research to sustain itself, you rushed the idea too much, and probably you should write more of a creative article.
So every time you choose an idea, make sure to analyze if you researched it enough first. This will teach you to study your ideas before losing time writing about them.
If you don’t have enough research, you could write false sentences that cannot be supported. And this can lead to many unpleasant consequences, like changing the article or even eliminating it.
3 — The 60 minutes limit makes you more productive
As I said before, having such a limited amount of time to write will pressure you at first. You will feel like there is no way you can write an entire article in only 60 minutes. However, after the first try, your productivity starts calibrating with the new environment, and you become more productive than before.
In my experience, I observed how, as soon as the 30 minutes threshold passes, my productivity duplicates. I don’t have that much time anymore, so I need to write as much as possible. Because under pressure, our brain finds the best solutions to our problems, and you will notice it too.
4 — The 60 minutes limit decreases distractions.
Even if you cannot isolate yourself well enough, the strict time limit has another side effect on your productivity — it decreases distractions.
When you are focused on a subject and strive to finish fast, you are less responsive to external stimuli, so you get distracted harder.
This also happens when you reach a deep-work state of mind, which will happen most of the time with the power hour technique. You shut yourself down from external stimuli, and you also have less time to think about other things and get distracted.
5 — The alternation of tranquillity and rushing power enhances creativity.
One of the 5 reasons why you only need 60 minutes to produce great content is that the time limit improves your creativity.
Nowadays, we all know that variability enhances creativity. But most of the time, we strive to introduce it into our daily routines.
However, with the power hour technique, your brain will experience variability from the alternation of tranquility and rushing power. When you don’t write, your creative streams will work slowly and naturally. But when you start writing, you will force them into finding fast solutions to unexpected necessities. And that triggers creativity rushes.
How to plan your power hours based on your writing habits
Many people love to write in the morning, others in the afternoon, and others only on weekends. But no matter your writing style, the power hour technique will always work for you because you can fit it wherever you want.
I consider myself a flexible writer, and I have tried many writing styles in the past. So here are a couple of plans you could adopt, based on your habits.
Early Morning Writer
This is my current writing style because it suits my lifestyle as an 8-hours employee. Since I don’t have much time during the day, I prefer writing in the morning, when I am well-rested.
However, to do that, I need to prepare my articles the evening before. If they require research, I make sure to have it already. Also, I read my ideas a couple of times to imagine what I could write. And if there are some intriguing points of view, I note them on some post-its and stick them on my desk.
In the morning, I love taking two power hours before breakfast. The hunger makes finishing an article even more urgent, so I raise my productivity to the maximum. Also, rushing into productivity helps me wake up faster, which is a pleasant side effect.
Late Night Writer
When I was studying, I loved writing in the evening, and sometimes I still do it when I feel particularly inspired and well-rested.
The evening brings the great advantage of having increased inspiring power. But it can have the painful disadvantage of making you write when exhausted by the challenges of the day. For this reason, your preparation should be flawless. Do your research and study your ideas during the morning so, in the evening, you can focus on writing.
If you have some great ideas during the day, this habit will boost your motivation before writing, and you will find it less complicated. Also, if possible, set your power hours right before dinner so you can feel the same urge as morning writers.
However, there are different ways you can manage your writing hours here. If you have problems falling asleep, for example, you can set them right before bedtime, so you exhaust your body and transition faster into writing.
In a recent article, I talked about the technique I use to write articles on the weekend when I don’t have time during the other days of the week. Usually, this happens if my job gets too demanding and I feel too exhausted in the mornings and evenings.
This writing habit gives you all kinds of advantages because you dedicate yourself fully to writing articles. So with the power hour technique, you can improve your output, take some time for editing, or even brainstorm some new ideas.
Using the two intensive work sessions on Saturday, you have five hours. So considering a 15-minutes break between sessions, you can set four power hours.
Also, following the same technique, you can introduce another two power hours on Sundays or keep those three hours of moderate work for editing and brainstorming.
Lunch Break Writer
Lately, I have experimented with lunch break writing. And even if it seems too extreme, it could be a great way to start adapting to the 60 minutes time limit.
For people with jobs, the one-hour lunch break is ideal for introducing the power hour technique. First of all, because you won’t need a timer. And second, the power hour technique fits the break exactly.
The only problem is that you need to eat while writing, but was that ever a problem?
The power hour technique is a convenient way of finding time to pursue a passion even when you don’t have that much time for it. No matter how busy you may be, you can always find at least 60 minutes a week to write an article, and that is all you need.
But of course, writing an article doesn’t mean your piece is ready for publication. You still need editing, reviews, and promotion to make it successful. The power hour technique helps you with writing, but an article needs more work to be ready.
If you want to try it, remember the seven rules.
Write an idea and choose a working headline. Isolate yourself from interruptions and put on some background music, if you want. Then, set a timer of 60 minutes, and start writing until it goes off.
You do not need more than 60 minutes to produce great content. If you need more, your content is not that interesting. Also, researching is time-consuming, so skip it while writing. If you restrain your time, you will be more productive, and you will get less distracted. And a time limit will increase your creative power. These are 5 reasons why you only need 60 minutes to produce great content with the power hour technique.
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