Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Want to Get an Extra Hour in Your Day? Here's How

by Gretchen Rubin, LinkedIn:

To clear time for a new morning habit, many people try waking up a bit earlier, but this can be tough.

One trick?

Use the autumn end to Daylight Saving Time as a painless way to add an extra hour to the morning (obviously this only works if you live in a place that follows DST).

Getting up earlier is a great way to make time for something important to you.

We all love to “fall back” and to get that extra hour of sleep. It’s a great boon to get a little extra sleep. In fact, car accidents and heart attacks are more common in the week after Daylight Saving Time starts, because losing that hour puts stress on people’s bodies.

But while you may love that extra hour of sleep, consider not sleeping in, but instead getting up at the former appointed time. But do it soon! Before your body re-adjusts to the change in the clock.

For a few days, your body will wake up as usual, but the clock will say that you’re up an hour early. And there’s a lot you can do with that hour - especially if the people around you are still sound asleep.

A reader commented: “A couple years ago I decided not to reset my clock at the end of daylight savings. I had thought of myself as a night owl, but suddenly had writing/exercise time.”

You could use that time to do something like exercise or work on a project - or maybe you want to use it for pure pleasure. I have a friend who wakes up early to read for fun.

The morning is a great time to form a regular habit, because self-control is high, there are no distractions, and it’s highly predictable.

Now, this system wouldn’t work for true “owls” who stay up late and sleep late. But for many people, it’s possible to make a very satisfying use of that hour.

NOTE: If you try this strategy, you must also go to sleep earlier! It’s so, so, so important to get enough sleep, and if you lose an hour in the morning, you need to gain that time in sleep (here are some tips for getting yourself to go to bed on time).

The question is: where would you rather have the hour? At the end of the day, or at the start of the day? Most people would use those slots in very different ways. Which hour would contribute the most to your happiness?

If you suddenly had an extra hour in your day, how would you use it? Have you ever used this method - or any other - to shift your waking time?

I write about how to find extra time in the day in Happier at Home, chapter on "time."

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(Photo: Heaven`s Gate (John), Flickr).

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