In my early 20’ I used to wake at 4am, work, go to uni, teach my students, go to Zumba (and later on run my own classes), prepare material for next English classes. And these were just my “constants” in a daily schedule. Not to mention being present with my loved ones or other things and hobbies I had to find time for. When you want to do so much, you have to find time for it. How do you do it? You probably cut your sleeping/rest time. Well, at least that’s what I used to do, which by the way, was a terrible idea. I would sleep approx. 4 hours a day and have at least one day a week when I hit more or less 7-8 hours. I can only assume that most of us have had a busy daily routine at some point in their lives.
Even though my lifestyle has changed a lot since my uni days, I still prefer to stay busy and (ideally) surrounded by people. What I try to protect more is the amount (and quality) of sleep I get. When last year made me slow down a lot (well, all of us, really), I picked a new routine to maintain some kind of a life balance. I would run in the morning, work and exercise in the evening. These were my 3 main aspects of a day during pandemic (oh yes, that word again) that helped me to establish some boundaries in my life-work-life.
Putting a label on it
At the beginning of this year, a colleague of mine recommended me a book by Adrienne Herbert called Power Hour. I usually don’t read this kind of self-help books, but this one was worth a shot.
Adrienne’s mission is to spread the notion of power hour to enable people to reclaim their day. First of all, power hour is not only about getting up earlier and doing things you normally don’t find time for, which you may think results in sleeping less. To the contrary, she highlights the importance of sleep. The first hour of your day should be for you only and on your terms. This is what will set you up for the rest of the day.
In my case, this book made me realise I’ve been doing my power hour for a long time, I just didn’t think about it in that way. On a work week day I will wake up shortly after 6am and run (rain or shine, snow or wind). Running clears my head and gives me a sense of accomplishment before 9am. I love that feeling! As I like to joke, nothing worse can happen to me on that day! On weekends I brew a fresh pot of coffee and enjoy a book or a workshop for the first hour (or two) before I start my day. A bit different approach on the weekends enables me to focus on things I usually don’t have time or headspace to think during the week.
Do you even sleep, girl?
I was never a snooze-your-alarm person (which I am quite pleased with!), so this whole concept of power hour works for me in the morning. As I mentioned before, this book made me think more about the quality and length of my sleep. My goal is 8 hours, but at the moment it’s quite challenging, so I start with 6 hours as a minimum and slowly increase it to meet my goal one day. It helps to keep my phone away and not to use it at least an hour before falling asleep.
Even if you are not a morning person, give it a go. Think about small steps, start with 10 minutes and then slowly increase it. And if that fails, maybe your power hour is in the middle or at the end of your day? Also, it doesn’t have to be a whole hour at once. You can split it throughout the day. You can also divide it into smaller sections (let’s say 20 minutes meditation, 20 minutes journaling and 20 minutes reading a newspaper). Endless possibilities!
What can you do during power hour? Literally everything you want to do. You can exercise, read a newspaper over your cup of coffee and look at the the world waking up, meditate, write a journal, clean the house, literally, it can be anything.
Do you feel interested in and want to give it a go or have you just realised you’ve been already doing this? Give it a go and see if it works, it can be so rewarding!