The First 2 Hours Book Summary - The First 2 Hours Book explained in key points
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The First 2 Hours summary

Donna McGeorge

Make Better Use of Your Most Valuable Time

4.3 (184 ratings)
14 mins
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    The First 2 Hours
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    You need energy to get your work done.

    Maybe you’ve already got your inbox color-coded and organized, you’ve got to-do lists sketched out in order of importance. But all of this doesn’t matter if you’re too tired to do the work or too wired on coffee to sit still.


    First, you should know that you’re most alert and energetic in the morning. We’ll talk later about how to get the most out of that morning energy. But you can also do a lot to control and maintain your energy levels for the rest of the day.

    The key message here is: You need energy to get your work done.

    Let’s start with the basics. Food is the fuel that runs your body and has a direct influence on cognition. Healthy foods break down slowly and supply energy over time. On the other hand, unhealthy foods give a quick energy boost, but leave you in a slump afterward. So when you’re tired and cranky, it’s easy to reach for a burger and fries. Don’t do it! You’ll just end up tired and craving more snacks.

    With food, when is even more important than what. By eating a healthy breakfast, you’re setting yourself up for success during the most important part of your day. Lunch matters, too. The US Institute of Medicine found that a light, 300-calorie lunch can help lighten the after-lunch slump. So pack a healthy lunch and plan what you’re going to eat before you get hungry.

    Exercise is another important factor in maintaining energy levels. A Bristol University study found that people’s concentration and motivation were significantly higher on days they exercised. That’s because exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, which increases focus. Regular exercise will even make you happier. And just 150 minutes of yoga or walking per week should be enough to do the trick.

    Lastly, you need rest. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can impair you as much as being drunk. Leonardo da Vinci may have run on less than three hours of sleep, but most people need seven and a half hours. In one study, people who were poor sleepers also had the worst productivity losses and motivation problems.

    So watch what you eat, build good sleep habits, and try adding a midday walk to your routine. And keep in mind that the best time for exercise is in the late afternoon, so a little body movement could be the best way to power down your day.

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    What is The First 2 Hours about?

    The First 2 Hours (2019) is a must-read design guide for learning how to rethink and optimize your working day. While we’re all overloaded with emails and event invites, all this bustle doesn’t equate to productivity. The First 2 Hours combines both scientific research and an understanding of the body’s rhythms to help you redesign the structure of your work life.

    Who should read The First 2 Hours?

    • Productivity and efficiency nerds looking for an extra edge
    • Managers interested in helping their employees up their impact
    • Anyone struggling to meet all of their responsibilities

    About the Author

    Donna McGeorge is an author, speaker, and workplace mentor who has spent her career helping people enhance the value of their time spent at work. Over the past 20 years, she’s worked with everyone from Nissan Motors to Jetstar, and written articles for the Age and Smart Company, all with the goal of helping companies and employees improve workplace productivity and effectiveness.

    © Donna McGeorge: The First 2 Hours copyright 2019, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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