How I Added An Extra Hour To Every Day, And How You Can Too

Wouldn’t it be great if you had an extra hour every day?

What would you do with that extra time?

A few years back I used to get up at 5.30am every morning (even weekends) to read business books for 90 minutes before I started to get ready for work.

I got through 1.5 books a week that way. Here are the summaries of my favourite 81 business books.

But then I had my first kid. And then another. And then another.

kids

And the best I could do was get up at 7am. And even then I was bleary eyed and grumpy.

I’ve only been able to get back into that pattern for brief periods of time. (That sweet spot when all the kids are not sick and none of them walk into our room in the middle of the night).

But I think I might have just cracked the recipe.

Even with 1 sick kid who wakes us up a few times every night this week, my eyes have popped open at 5.00am or 5.30am and I’m feeling good! I’ve been able to start reading business books again with consistency.

It’s been 6 mornings in a row now.

Want to know how I’ve been able to add an extra hour to every morning?

The secret is M&M’s.

m&ms

Yes, those delicious candy coated chocolate treats.

But I don’t mean adding them to my mouth. Removing them.

For about 3 months, every night I’d turn on a movie or a TV show and munch through half a bag.

Every night.

And then, one of those movies that I watched was called “That Sugar Film”.

that-sugar-film

I have a pretty good awareness of the high level of sugar in foods and I eat pretty healthy so I thought I deserved half a packet of M&M’s every night.

(In fact, I ate M&M’s all the way through the first half of the movie).

I didn’t think there was any harm.

But the movie made me wonder if I was actually addicted to M&M’s.

The way to test that is to break the habit, so the next night I didn’t eat any M&M’s.

It was hard! It was all I could think about!

And the next morning I woke happy at 5.30am and started reading a business book.

5.30am

The next day and night the cravings were intense, but I refused to give in to them.

And the next morning, I woke at 5.30am and read some more.

That’s when I started to wonder if abstaining from M&M’s in the evenings was related to me waking up so early and easily.

Now it’s been 6 mornings in a row and I’m convinced.

I think that either the food colouring, or the sugar in the shell or chocolate was sending me on a sugar high and sugar low while I slept!

As my body worked hard to pump insulin around my system all night, I woke up feeling tired still and not knowing why.

No sugar at night, and now my sleep is restoring and rejuvenating my body and mind.

And on 3 of those nights our sick middle child has woken us 2 – 4 times a night, and still I wake at 5.30am feeling good.

Hooray!

So if you’re as addicted to sugar as I am/was, try this experiment: Do without it for 7 days and try to be aware of how you feel.

Check-in with yourself on judging your energy levels in the morning, during the day, and at night.

100-percent-battery

And if breaking your habit works for you like it worked for me, what are you going to do with the extra hour you’ve now got every day?

Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier by Ari Meisel

Here are my notes on “Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier” by Ari Meisel.Screen-Shot-2015-04-18-at-3.15.28-PM-533x423

I thought I knew a lot about productivity and efficiency, so I haven’t picked up books like this lately.

I’m glad I did though, because even a few tips can make a big difference on your time management and impact.

The biggest lesson for me about this book was about email.

I’ve felt guilty about how addicted I am to email, but this book gave me tips about how I continue to use my email inbox as my to-do list, but with some cunning twists on how to improve the timing of what appears in there.

You’ll find out more about that shortly.

In the meantime, here’s a collection of my favourite bits from this book. Continue reading “Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier by Ari Meisel”

The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life by Leo Babauta

power-of-less-e1394503989145I’m no stranger to productivity books, this is about the 7th one I’ve read over the last 5 years.

It’s amazing how the little tips and changes you pick-up from books like this one, become so important and valuable, but just slip away over time, one by one.

So this was a fantastic refresher.

Here, I’ve recorded the parts of the book that were particularly useful to me.

I encourage you to read the book yourself in your entirety because you are bound to find different sections more relevant to you.

My notes on The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life by Leo Babauta Continue reading “The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life by Leo Babauta”

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future By Seth Godin

My notes on “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future” by Seth Godintélécharger (2)

The law of the Mechanical Turk

  • The law: “Any project, if broken down into sufficiently small, predictable parts, can be accomplished for awfully close to free.”
  • Eg Jimmy Wales led the tiny team at Wikipedia that destroyed the greatest reference book of all time. And almost all of them worked for free.
  • The Encyclopaedia Britannica was started in 1770 and is maintained by a staff of more than a hundred full-time editors. Over the last 250 years, it has probably cost more than a hundred million dollars to build and edit.

  • Wikipedia, on the other hand, is many times bigger, far more popular, and significantly more up-to-date, and it was built for almost free. No single person could have done this. No team of a thousand, in fact. But by breaking the development or articles into millions of one-sentence or one-paragraph projects, Wikipedia too advantage of the law of the Mechanical Turk. Instead of relying on a handful of well-paid people calling themselves professionals. Wikipedia thrives by using the loosely coordinated work of millions of knowledgeable people, each happy to contribute a tiny slice of the whole.
  • The internet has turned white-collar work into something akin to building a pyramid in Egypt. No one could build the entire thing, but anyone can haul one brick into place.

Continue reading “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future By Seth Godin”

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch

My Notes on “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More With Less” by Richard Koch:good read

  • Conventional wisdom is not to put all your eggs in one basket.  80/20 wisdom is to choose a basket carefully, load all your eggs into it, and then watch it like a hawk.
  • Celebrate exceptional productivity, rather than raise average efforts
  • Look for the short cut, rather than run the full course
  • Be selective, not exhaustive
  • Strive for excellence in few things, rather than good performance in many
  • Delegate or outsource as much as possible in our daily lives and be encouraged rather than penalised by tax systems to do this (use specialists to the maximum instead of doing the work ourselves)

  • Only do the thing we are best at doing and enjoy most
  • In every important sphere, work out where 20% of effort can lead to 80% of returns
  • Creative systems operate away from equilibrium. Cause and effect, input and output, operate in a non-linear way. You do not usually get back what you put in; you may sometimes get very much less and sometimes get very mush more.
  • If you can identify where your firm is getting back more than it is putting in, you can up the stakes and make a killing. Similarly, if you can work out where your firm is getting back much less than it is investing, you can cut your losses.

Continue reading “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch”

The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

My Notes on “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris:work week

Different is better when it is more effective or more fun.  If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and the results are sub-par, this is the time to ask, What if I did the opposite. Don’t follow a model that doesn’t work.

Most cold calls don’t get to the intended person for one reason: gatekeepers. Make all your calls from 8-8.30am and 6-6.30pm for a total of one hour to avoid secretaries and book twice as many meetings as senior sales executives who call from 9-5. Twice the results in 1/8 of the time.
Continue reading “The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris”