The hack of the moment? Enter “scary hour”, the productivity concept coined by San Francisco-based copywriter Laur Wheeler, which has since gone viral on TikTok.

Facing the fear

So, what does “scary hour” involve?

According to Wheeler, all you have to do is set a timer for 60 minutes and in that time, only work on the tasks you’ve been avoiding or putting off because they make you feel more stressed or anxious. Then when the 60 minutes are up, move on to something else.

While Wheeler performs her scary hour at various times during the day, others advocate that incorporating it into your morning routine and prioritising it within the first hour of work is most effective and efficient.

Why it works

This idea of focusing your attention during a specific timeframe isn’t new. The Pomodoro Technique, a time management method developed in the 1980s, advises 25 minute intervals of work followed by five minutes of rest.

“Power hour” involves getting up one hour earlier than normal, ideally at sunrise, to focus on something that make you feel happy, fulfilled or mentally charged for the day ahead.

The concept of putting things off because they stress you out isn’t new either. In fact, there’s scientific evidence that proves the human brain is hardwired to prioritise activities that we find more enjoyable, and avoid tasks that feel difficult.

And scary hour’s current appeal highlights just how prevalent stress at work is for so many Brits.

According to recent YouGov data, just over half (52%) of British workers say they feel stressed at work, and 88% say they spend time thinking about work outside of working hours. Only 10% of workers say they don’t feel stressed by work at all.

If your current role is making work-life balance impossible, adding to your anxiety or draining your motivation away, one Zoom meeting at a time, a career refresh is another great option.

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