“There’s just not enough hours in the day.” Raise your hand if you’ve ever said that. Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever heard anyone say that. I’m pretty sure most everyone reading this has wished there was more time to do what they wanted, or needed to do. You can put your hands down now. What if I told you there was a way to reclaim time? Interested? Let me first explain why I started thinking this way and ultimately wrote this post. Most people, including myself have a very in-the-box in notion when it comes to schedules, especially if a commute for work is involved. Let me know if this sounds familiar: wake up a few minutes before you have to leave, hop in the shower then rush out the door. That was pretty much my routine and I always felt rushed. The driving force behind this lifestyle change was my three hour daily commute to work, 1 & ½ hours each way, so I needed a way to find some more time to myself. With this easy method, you could be saving over an hour of personal time, in no time. Set your morning alarm to go off just 5 minutes earlier than the previous week. Simple right? Let’s say you wake up at 6am every day. Set your alarm for 5:55am this week. This won’t be a drastic shock to your system and will give you plenty of time to acclimate. The following week, set it back another five minutes. Wake up now at 5:50am. The second week you commit to this you’re saving ten minutes a day, that’s 50 minutes a week! I have been using this method for the past eight weeks and here is a breakdown of the positive impact this small change in my routine has affected my life:
Week 1: 5 minutes a day / 25 minutes extra a week. Waking up five minutes earlier was no big deal. It didn’t allow much freedom to get everything done that I needed to but I knew this and was prepared for this to be a long term commitment so I didn’t expect overnight success. This allowed me some more breathing room and I didn’t feel as rushed in the morning.
Week 2: 10 minutes a day / 50 minutes extra a week. Waking up ten minutes earlier made me start to realize that I was on to something. The extra ten minutes allowed me to read some emails, check social media and most importantly, not feel rushed. Week 3: 15 minutes a day / 1 hour, 15 minutes extra a week. I can now add eating something to my list of achievements before leaving to catch the train. Anxious about pushing the envelope and setting the clock back further but committed to seeing this through one week at a time.
Week 4: 20 minutes a day / 1 hour, 40 minutes extra a week. Really enjoying the extra time I have to read some articles and start even caught an earlier train a few times.
Week 5: 25 minutes a day / 2 hours, 5 minutes extra a week. Really starting to enjoy the benefits of reclaiming my time. I’m no longer rushed or groggy in the morning and have me time; consistently making that earlier train.
Week 6: 30 minutes a day / 2 ½ hours extra per week. This is where I’m currently at at the time of this writing. I feel great. Easing into this routine was not difficult because it was only 5 minutes less of sleep, one week at a time. I am now reading emails, news, social media, taking my time, eating something before I leave for work and catching an earlier train. The extra ½ hour each morning allows a lot of freedom to plan my day out.
I’m comfortable at the 30 minute extra mark and will hold it here for a while before I push on. Though I’m not entirely sure how far I’ll push myself; I can’t imagine what I’d do with an extra hour a day!
Shortly after writing this post (three weeks after) I started waking up an additional 15 minutes early and maintained that regime the entire summer. Towards the end of August I found myself waking up at 5am, an entire hour earlier than I was just a few months prior. I am now getting to work much earlier and getting a lot more accomplished. I can’t say for certain if this will be my new routine but I am happy with what I am accomplishing and plan to continue down this path.