Finding the 25th Hour
Why is there only 24 hours in a day? How can any normal person live an organized life in that amount of time? The new school year has just started and I’m already feeling completely overwhelmed. Days are getting shorter and the hours seem to be slipping away. Summer meant more freedom; to go to bed a little later, wake up a little later, cancel summer camp for the day and do something completely unexpected. Now it’s time to get organized and, it hurts to say it, stick to a schedule.
Ugh…kill me now!
If we are going to survive as parents, we need some time in the day for ourselves, even if it just means some alone time with a pile of laundry. And with 24 hours in the day, that shouldn’t be a problem, right?
Then why, at the end of the day, am I left wondering, where did the time go, when will I have time for me…to write, to read, work out, cook meals worthy of Bob Appetit and save the world?
I just need a 25th hour!
I’m definitely more of a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’ kinda gal so I won’t lie, the thought of a defined schedule makes me want to crawl into the fetal position. So, I’ve been trying life without a real schedule & just winging it. Has it been fun? Yes! But now that I’m 47 years into this trial period, 9 years into parenthood, I’m finding it a tad stressful. I never have less than 100 items on my mental “to-do” list and find it exhausting to start anything. If you could look inside my head, it’s like a hamster spinning inside a wheel. But, I’ve found a way to cope. I’ll just pour myself a glass of wine and wait for tomorrow to start a better routine.
Fast forward another 10 years!
Yikes! I can totally see that happening. When is the right time to stop the madness and start getting organized, finding time for all the truly important things in life, especially ourselves? We talk about living our lives “outside the zoo” of this crazy world, so why do I feel so caged?
Time to find my 25th hour!
I’ve consulted the world’s experts on this…aka…Pinterest and all my friends and blogging gurus, and I’ve discovered the most amazing thing. Other people out there feel exactly the same way! They are blogging about it, writing songs about it, creating entire yoga retreats around it. I guess it’s a “thing.” So, what now? Well, If you want real change in your life you have to do some things differently and actually make a plan. Below are the 3 new habits I’ve adopted to help buy myself that extra hour!
The 3 new habits that helped me find my 25th hour:
#1: Get Up Early! So, my inner voice immediately asks, “How about 6:00 am instead of 6:30?” It took me awhile to get my head wrapped around the idea of 5 o’clock. I’m not going to lie, this took some practice. I’d lie in bed for an hour having a dialogue with myself about the benefits of getting more sleep. But, if you’re logging at least 7 hours, chances are you’ll live. After one week of following this new routine, my body has actually conditioned itself to this new ‘time zone’ and I have to say, it feels pretty good having a little time in the day just for myself.
#2: Follow a Morning ‘To Do’ List. Tip! I recommend writing this the night before so you’re ready to start tackling it. I’ve realized that creating a few morning habits, that I actually write down, helps keep me focused and less likely to browse Facebook for an hour. Plus, it’s said that crossing things off a list actually increases the dopamine in your brain, the same chemical that releases after a good workout, and it helps increase productivity. No, this doesn’t mean you can stop working out & just check things off a list instead! I’ve checked!
Here is an example of my 5 Morning Habits to Stay Focused each morning.
#3: Control the Distractions! This is hands down the biggest challenge I face everyday so it deserves a bit more thought that just saying “don’t get distracted!” Some of the distractions come in the form of other people, but most come from inside my own head. And it’s those little distractions that completely undo all the progress I’ve made in my day. So I had to find a way to ignore those ideas swirling around inside my head.
- Write it Down: Anytime my mind throws me another idea, task to complete or problem to solve, I write it down and let it go! Most times I find when I go back to it later, it wasn’t all that mind-blowing or important and I simply cross it off the list. Oooh, more dopamine!
- Create a quiet zone: Between my son, husband and dog, the distractions are endless. The 5am wake up routine solves this most of the time, but there are other times in the day I need to focus without the constant background chatter. By the way, we live in an 880sf home, so finding some “alone time” is a challenge. So, I simply put myself in a TIME OUT. I close the door to my bedroom and ask (yes, ask!) for a little time alone. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it.
Did I find my 25th hour?
YES! I found my 25th hour (and then some) by following those new habits above. I now have more focus, more energy and yes, more time. My next step is learning to go to bed early, but that’s a whole other topic!
Good luck finding your 25th hour! Have tips and tricks of your own? I’d love it if you’d share them with me…after all, I’m always looking for another distraction…err…I mean idea!