Life Hacks

These Micro-Habits Gave Me 1 Hour per Day Back

Tim Denning Life Hacks

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

I wake up feeling like a zombie most days.

The casual stroll to the bathroom feels like the walk of shame in the morning after a hangover that leaves you with a partner in your bedroom you can’t remember bringing home.

So my idea of micro-habits is anything but scientific. It’s a series of experiments that have helped me find an extra hour per day (probably more).

Why find an extra 1 hour per day?

You’re not sure what the point of having an extra hour per day is. I get it. An hour goes by so quick. Can you really change your life with an extra hour per day. Simple answer: yes.

An extra hour per day gives you blank space you can use however you choose. I recommend using the extra hour per day to create.

Too many of us sleepwalk through life and rarely create anything. We consume, yes — but create, hardly ever. There’s a more important tv show that requires our attention. “Once I finish the tv show I will do something creative,” you say to yourself. But there’s always an endless supply of tv shows to waste your life.

The extra hour of time per day is a disguise for an appointment you can set with yourself to create something. Here’s how to get the extra hour without any fuss or navy seal training strategies.


Create Auto-Pilot Decisions

I love auto-pilot as an operating mode for humans. You can implement auto-pilot for useless stuff that wastes your time. Here is the list of decisions I have on auto-pilot:

  • The time I wake up and go to bed.
  • The food I consume.
  • The friends I spend most of my time with.
  • The types of work I choose to do.
  • The social media platforms I spend time on.

If everything is on auto-pilot, though, your life will be pretty boring. You need the yin and the yang. That’s why I have flex decisions. Here are some examples:

  • Places I go to holiday.
  • What I write.
  • The books I read.
  • Who I talk to online.
  • The ways I earn a living.

There are repetitive decisions you make on a daily basis that you don’t have to make. Write down all the decisions you make and work out which ones you can place on auto-pilot.

Time Goes Slowly When You Hate Your Life

I used to hate my life. My mind was dark and I believed that I had zero potential. I’d go to work each day and get yelled at by a pain-in-the-ass boss who thought I was useless.

Doing work you actually enjoy is massively underrated. It may not be the type of work that makes you a millionaire, but damn it’s worth finding.

If you hate your life for reasons other than work then you can always change it. You can simply get professional help. You can have a psychologist extinguish the darkness and help you see the light again.

All it takes is having the courage to make the appointment and speak the truth. Anybody can do it — even you.

Living a shitty life goes really slow. One hour can feel like an entire day when you don’t know what the heck you’re doing on this planet. You don’t have to live like that anymore. Speed up your life with fulfillment.

Predictable Social Activities

When you become a thirty-something grandpa like me, you start to dumb down your social activities. Deciding what social activities you like to do wastes a lot of your mental bandwidth.

I like going to the movies, eating at restaurants, and staying home and reading a book. Outside of these predictable activities I like taking two holidays a year to remind me how little I know about Earth and the cultures that inhabit it.

If you know what social activities you like doing then why not free up some time and use those as your default options?

I’m tired of doing social activities I hate like going to a bar and getting drunk. Perhaps you are too.

Flow States Speed up the Time It Takes to Do Work

What if you control the Matrix you live in?

Well, you do. Flow states are a way for you to fuck with the concept of time. You can manipulate time in your favor. Do this:

Wake up. Drink two teaspoons of instant coffee. Do some exercise (mine is bouncing on a trampoline). Relax a bit. Read some blog posts to get your mind thinking. Do a meaningless task like checking your social media and leaving a few comments, as a warm-up for the real work. Whack on your noise-canceling headphones and pump movie soundtracks or high energy music like Mors Principium Est’s “Pure.”

Once you find flow you’ll easily find an extra hour per day of time.

Pre-Determined Partner Approvals

If you haven’t got the message yet then it’s this: making too many decisions ruins your life and drains your energy.

That’s why I have pre-determined approvals with my girlfriend. There are decisions she can make without ever needing to speak with me. If a purchase is under $100 then she has auto-approval to buy it without telling me. What we decide eat for dinner each day is entirely up to her because I don’t care. My favorite line is “surprise me.”

You can go a long way in life when you decide to trust your partner.

Waste Time in the Shower

Pour money down the drain in water bills.

Waste time in the shower. The shower is where you can do the real thinking. It’s where you can contemplate your life and keep checking in with yourself about the path you’re on.

The shower is a place to relax. And when you can relax, you can find the right state of mind to do your work in a productive matter. Work completed under extreme stress is rarely good. Lean in to activities that relax you.

Place Your Alarm on the Other Side of Your Bedroom

I used to sleep in for hours in the morning. When I was in my own business I was supposed to be at work by 9 AM. I’d set my alarm clock for 6 AM, and eventually wake up and get out of bed around 8 AM. That was two hours every day that I’d waste. It was too comfortable to get out of bed.

The problem was my alarm clock (also known as my phone). I remember hearing somewhere that you could cheat on yourself and your dreams of sleeping in by simply placing your phone on the other side of your bedroom.

So I tried it about four or five years ago. I haven’t slept through my alarm since. You can find a lot of extra time in the morning when you jump out of bed and don’t return. Once I’m out of bed I don’t feel like going back.

Sleeping with your phone next to you is like cheating on the love of your life — don’t do it.

Make Appointments with Yourself

If you saw my calendar you’d see I’m in love with myself. A lot of the appointments in my Outlook Calendar are intimate dates with myself.

Your calendar is how you hold yourself accountable.

If you lie to your calendar, then who else do you lie to?

If you want to create a micro-habit in your life then schedule it in your calendar now. I gave up meditation about six months ago. I was pissed with myself daily. Recently, I had enough; I scheduled ten minutes of meditation with myself every morning. Now I’m feeling the benefits of meditation again.

Make decisions with your calendar.

You Can Magically Predict Your Future

How? Look at your micro-habits. What you do consistently will determine where you’re going. I can tell you my future right now by telling you one habit I’m willing to die for: writing.

I’ve been writing for six years and never missed a week. If you could predict my future, what would that habit tell you?

The same is true for you. If you really are passionate about something then find an extra hour in your day through the use of micro-habits. Use the extra hour to create.

If you spend one hour per day creating then your future can be anything you want, because you’ll be building it.

Build your future with an extra hour per day.

Tim Denning
Tim is a thought leader in the personal development, entrepreneur and startup fields.Outside of blogging, Tim works for a large organisation helping fast moving technology companies come to Australia as well as helping Australian tech companies go to the world.

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