I read Laura Vanderkam’s “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” last week and was inspired by it. Truth be told, I didn’t actually “read” it per se- but I did listen to the one hour audio book. It’s not necessarily a Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (which I really am reading this week), but it does have some good information.
The Pitch: We all wish we had more time in our days, especially to take care of ourselves. If we only had more hours in our day, we’d read more books or spend more time with our kids. We’d get in better shape, pray more, and relax. Vanderkam says we don’t need more hours in our day, we just need to change the way we organize our days. Check out a Cliffnote version of the article here.
So many mindless hours are spent sitting in front of the TV after dinner and rushing around with kids in the morning before school. The first few hours in the office are spent catching up with coworkers over our second cup of coffee, checking personal email, and scrolling through social media feeds. Before we know it we’re thrust into back to back meetings, lunch at our desk, and a race to the 5 PM finish line.
Like the popular financial advice, Vanderkam says to pay yourself first. We think we’ll go to the gym after work, play with the kids after school, and curl up with a book and bubble bath at the end of the night. But…
“If you wait till the end of the month to save what you have left, there will be nothing left. If you wait to the end of the day to do important –but not urgent– things, it probably won’t happen either.”
I’ve found myself in this place multiple times. Writing posts for my blog and reading books toward my 52 books in 52 weeks are prime examples. These are things I absolutely enjoy and look forward to doing, but are often postponed while I do laundry, stay late at work, or watch yet another episode of Big Bang Theory.
At the same time I was finishing this book, this tweet showed up in my feed:
I feel like I’m getting back on the fitness wagon again, so my goals are modest: Don’t hit he snooze button and take the dog for a walk or run every day. But that doesn’t take an hour AND I don’t mind walking the dog in the evenings. This got me thinking about how I could use an extra hour in the morning. What would I do with that extra 60-minutes of uninterrupted me-time? Morning pages. Reading. Walk the dog. Breakfast with family. Yoga. Prayer.
My brainstorming spiraled a little out of control at this point, but Vanderkam’s advice brought me back to reality:
Monitor your energy. Choose one new habit at a time to introduce: If you want to run, pray, and write in a journal, choose one of these and make it a habit before you try something else.
The key to choosing the right thing is to make it something you look forward to, something worth getting out of bed a little earlier for. Like a gratitude list or things you’re looking forward to. Send a thank you email or write a note. No matter what your morning ritual is, it’s setting you up for success the rest of the day: “Once your brain records a victory, it’s more likely to take the next step. And the next step. And the next.”
What would you do with an extra hour in your day?