in Life

There are(n’t) enough hours in the day

This post is part of a series detailing my experience with Damn Early Days (more on that here) and what I’ve learnt attempting to wake up really damn early every day.

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a long list of side projects that are currently sitting on the shelf collecting dust (either literally or figuratively). These almost-forgotten dreams that we want to realise but just can’t find the time to work on are a constant reminder of what was once important to us. We justify our apathy toward what once held us in rapture by chalking it down to the fact that we have a full-time job, maybe a couple kids, we’re already volunteering with local community organisations, and on and on. Whatever it may be, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

At least that’s how I justified my apathy toward this blog.

Writing brings me joy. I get a rush every time I hit that publish button, yet in the two years preceding my DEDs experiment, I had written fewer than 10 blog posts!?

In 24 months! That’s fewer than one post every 2.5 months…

Why did I find it so difficult to do something that I enjoy? While there was more than one reason, the most common excuse I’d tell myself was that I simply didn’t have enough time. I was working full time, I was a student, I was active in extra-curricular groups. After 10 hours on campus I had some time left for exercise, dinner, socialising, and maybe a bit of down time, but not blogging. Definitely not blogging.

To me, my days felt packed. There was no way I could eke out any more productivity after all of that. And I was right, I was never going to sit down and pump out a blog post after a full day of lab work, thesis writing, and student council meetings, but here’s the secret: I didn’t have to.

See, by waiting until the end of the day, when my willpower was at its lowest and any creative spark was long gone, I was setting myself up for failure. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s rare that I’m able to get in a focused, productive work session in after 7 pm. As the day wears on, my productivity drops exponentially.

Stop making excuses

So, what’s the solution?

Just get up earlier.

Chances are that your job doesn’t start until 8 or 9 am, so what if you woke up earlier and used that early-morning creative energy to work toward something that really matters to you? That book you’ve been meaning to write or that workout routine you’ve been dying to experiment with? By saving the most sacred time of day, those early morning hours before the city fully wakes, for our passion projects, we eliminate the tired excuse that “there just aren’t enough hours in the day.” At least that’s what I did, and I’ve now written more blog posts in the past month than in the previous 24 combined.

So stop making excuses.

Yes, you’ll have to go to sleep earlier than you’re used to. Yes, you’ll have to say no to some social events. Yes, you’ll have to make some sacrifices, but if that’s all that’s stopping you from getting more out of life, then the decision should be easy.

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