In today’s hum-drum of life even 24 hours seem like either 24 years or 24 minutes, really depends on your perspective. Time either runs too fast or too slow. Time Management has become very critical for us today and very few of us know how to make the best of it. So I came up with a simple habit where I could take some time out of my life to get out of the daily rut and systematically use limited time. I call it the power of an HOUR.
I have a very hectic schedule that involves a lot of overseas travel. During these travels there is very little time to either work out or concentrate on a diet or read; all things I wish to be doing. But the most frustrating thing for me was I never had the time to learn anything new. It was just work and home for me for quite a few years. I would always take gym membership, go for a couple of days and feel all liberated from the dogma. But soon I would have to fly on a trip for 20 days and my gym stint gets nipped in the bud. I have always wanted to learn new languages; I have all the new apps to make learning easy on the go, fancy reading and audio material but what I never have is time. When I am home my work hours are almost 12 hours and on trips, it can be anything between 12-16 hours. Crazy right?
So I started feeling like my life was wasting away in front of me I had to do something about it. My job was one of the best anybody could ask for, who gets to travel and gets paid for it? I couldn’t quit it. I was the youngest in one of the most senior positions so I couldn’t cut my long hours. So I decided to do the best I could in the remaining hours. It requires a little shift in your lifestyle but increases your productivity like crazy. At least it did for me. I started taking an HOUR from this hum-drum life to do whatever I wanted to pursue and it has been amazing for me.
So on a routine day where I would wake up at 7 am, I started waking up at 6 am. It’s not that difficult to try it. With that extra hour, I would reach my work pumped to start something creative or new. So I realized this is like a precious thing for me so I had to plan better. I broke my aspirations into days and made a simple schedule for me to follow. So a couple of things I had on my mind were – Start reading, start blogging, start learning Italian, take up an MBA course, and of course the aspirational – exercise. These are a lot of things to fit in a day so I broke them up into tiny manageable goals and all within 1 hour.
I kept to a 5-day week system and kept each day for one activity. I shifted and shuffled until I got the right mix that worked for me but I kept at it! I kept one day of exercise in the middle of the week or around Thursday and Saturday & Sunday was for me to decide(hey, I went from absolutely no exercise to at least once and then thrice a week!). You need to realize this is nothing but the act of forming habits and once these schedules sink into your mind there is no activity that you cannot incorporate and indulge in. For me strictly once a week I was reading, strictly once a week I was learning Italian, strictly once a week I was blogging out a post, strictly once a week I was focusing on my MBA course. Eventually, I removed a couple of things or reduced a couple things to give more focus on another activity but the point being I STARTED!
The reason it worked best for me was that I chose my environment right. My office is completely and totally empty an hour before the office timings. This gave me a quiet place sans of any kind of distractions to learning, think and progress with all that I wished to do. I kept my Saturdays and Sundays free to repeat any of the activities as per the importance level. Since then I started this 3 months ago and since then I have read at least 15 books, I have written a lot of blogs that I now can fine-tune and start posting, I have made a little headway in my Italian(Buongiorno!!) and I have given my first semester exams of Retail Management, the exercise bit…erm..still working on it.
In case somebody loves cooking but has no time for it, why not use this hour to experiment with a delicious breakfast or lunch for yourself. If you always wanted to learn yoga or meditation, why not? Mornings are the best time for it. The sky is the limit to what you would like to do in that one hour – jog, do crafts, take an online course, research about the stock market, work on an educational deliverable, make your own youtube channel and video. All it takes is consistent effort and determination. You will be amazed at the results at the end of how you managed to do so much in so little time.
The reason I insist that this hour be taken from your morning is for various reasons, but most importantly so that you cannot procrastinate. When you are done with that one-hour first thing in the morning you get a sense of achievement that helps you drive your entire day. Also, the mind generally is more perceptive and alert in the mornings and gives you the best results of your efforts. Your productivity generally is very high in the morning. The reason I am saying generally so much is that I am aware that a whole bunch of people out there are not morning people. This exercise can be done at any time of the day you feel comfortable with but it is important to stick with it.
So guys, try this easy technique to maximize your capacity and to maximize your day. It takes a little bit of lifestyle change like sleeping an hour early probably, partying a little less, most importantly waking up a little earlier than your body is used to. But like I said, it’s nothing but making a habit and as we know habits take only 21 days of follow-through and then they are a part of your system. If you have a busy schedule like mine this is the best way to at least get started on all the things you wish you had been doing or learned to do. Do let me know if it worked for you!