There are some time management courses that claim to be able to give you an extra one whole hour per day, every day. I remember seeing an outline for such a course. To be honest, it might even have been the outline for the course I teach, after all, it’s the marketing guys who produce that material. Anyway, it set me thinking: if you were really able to do that, how would you spend the extra time?
Just imagine that prospect for a moment. Supposing I were able to wave a magic wand and, from now on, you would have twenty five hours in your day instead of everyone else’s twenty four. Would it put you at an advantage or not? Would you just spend that extra time relaxing or enjoying yourself in some way; or would you invest that extra one hour in yourself?
If you had just one extra hour per day, you might be able to do that exercising you always wanted to do or perhaps do the reading you can’t get finished at present or get the DIY project finished. Over the course of just one year, you would have an extra fifteen whole days; that’s just over two weeks more than anyone else. If you invested two weeks per year on your own self development, you would certainly be making some excellent progress.
Actually, one hour per day is exactly what Stephen Covey recommends that we dedicate to the process of self improvement in this discussion of Habit #7 – sharpen the saw. With just a little more than one hour per day, he suggests, you could get really good. You could become an expert in your chosen field by just putting in that little bit extra every day, consistently.
Now, I am sure you are already convinced that you could easily use an extra one hour per day very productively, but we now come to the practicalities of the idea. Time is indeed relative, but to slow it down so that you could get that extra hour, you would need to be travelling at quite a speed relative to the local environment. Even if we could build a spacecraft capable of approaching this speed and thereby generating the extra time, it is not a practical solution.
So I am going to give you another solution and before I do, I want to ask you in advance not to throw the suggestion away without proper consideration. Is that a deal? I hope you are thinking, yes, that’s a deal, because there is a very good chance you will want to dismiss it without proper thought. That said, here we go: to get one extra hour per day, every day, what you need to do is get up one hour earlier. Now, I am really glad you are still reading. Not everybody is. Some people went right up there and clicked that ‘back button’ and others are looking for a better article to read right now.
But you, my friend, are still reading, so you are perhaps more open to the idea. So let’s look at it in a bit more detail. Firstly, how do you decide what time to get up at present? Many people work backward from the time they are required to be at work. So, if that’s 9.00 am, perhaps they will get up at 7.30 am. That just gives them enough time to wash, dress, eat breakfast and get into work on time. Now what’s stopping that person from getting up at 6.30 am or even 6.00 am? Nothing!
What will you be giving up? A bit of sleep. What will you be gaining? That depends upon how you use the time. As an example, for the past six years, I have spent two hours per day working on my website every morning before going to the day job; and then another two hours when I come home in the evening. The result is having my own web business that is gradually replacing my day job as my main source of income.
Will you miss that one hour of sleep? Perhaps you will, at first. But, before you know it, you will have reprogrammed your habits to a new, much more productive, routine. You can transform your life by making this time available. Time for you; not for anything else. So will you commit yourself to becoming an early riser? Use the extra time wisely and you will be able to watch your life gradually change for the better.