I don’t know how you feel, but I really could do with an extra couple of hours every day. This goes hand in hand with the proviso that they should be ‘nice quality creative hours’, not ‘cleaning the bathroom’ or ‘dealing with fractious teenagers hours’. I could achieve so much if I just had two more hours more.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while and dreaming of how cool it would be to have one of those Harry Potter time turner things…
No luck there, so the obvious answer was initially to ‘get up earlier’ or ‘go to bed later’. Realistically though I don’t think I can manage either of these. I already feel like a zombie when I get up at 6am to chivvie the children out of bed. 5am would be ugly, really really ugly. Staying up later would work as I can happily pootle around late at night till the cows come home. But then I would be dealing with more sleep deprivation in the morning….nope, strike that one.
I think the only way to go is to cut out wasted time. I’ve just started reading Leo Babauta’s book The Power of Less. I think Leo is probably someone to listen to. If you haven’t heard of him, he writes the phenomenally successful blog Zen Habits (see link on the right). He has turned his own life right around and he can count on a MILLION readers a week on his blog (yes, you read that right!), so I figure that he must have something worthwhile to say.
I’ve read Zen habits for a good while and really do think that, to a limited extent, the simplicity Leo writes about is the direction I’d like to go in. Achieving simplicity couldn’t be simpler:
1. Identify the essential
2. Eliminate the rest.
Now I confess that I’m not about to get rid of my creature comforts and start throwing away the furniture, but I do think that this is something that can be applied to life – or to my life anyway.
Leo advocates setting limits on areas of life and dealing with changing only one area at a time. That makes a lot of sense to me. I think I could handle that way of doing things, rather than trying to radically transform everything all at once – which would probably be successful for about half an afternoon if I know myself as well as I think I do.
So I’ve applied the approach recommended and thought about which area of my life takes up too much time. I would have loved to have said here that it’s cleaning the house, but that would really be a blatant lie and I know that living in more mess than I have now would probably make me very unhappy.
The true answer is a no-brainer: the internet. How many zillion times a day do I check emails, facebook, how many people have read my blog, the BBC website yet again just to see if anything has happened in the world? I don’t know exactly, but those minutes have got to add up to a good old chunk of time. I’m basically a phenomenally nosy person and I am forever popping back to check what’s going on. I wouldn’t say that I’m addicted exactly, but lets just say that the internet has a significant role in my life.
Changing that pattern could potentially give me the extra hour or two I’m looking for.
So, over the next week I’m going to have a little experiment. I’m going to check emails only 4 times a day – early in the morning, at lunchtime, late afternoon and before I go to bed. As I work from home and all communication with my clients is by email I think I do need to have a realistic response time, so can’t just drop down to once a day (well I could, but then I probably wouldn’t have any work at all…..mmm…..more hours a day…..but no money to play with….)
I’m going to limit blog writing time and non-work related emailing to a total of an hour a day. And I may even go so far as to switch the computer off to remove temptation.
I’m quite excited to see if I have the self-discipline to do this and also to see what difference if any it makes to my life. It has to make a difference, right?
I’ll keep you posted – and I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to reply to your comments!