What would you do if you had an extra hour each day to spend however you wanted?
Last week, our family was gathered around the kitchen table eating dinner whining about having to eat dinner when I read our question of the day from “101 Conversation Starters for Families,” a book we like to read every night (or at least the nights we remember to). The question was: “If, at the end of every day you were granted an extra hour to do anything you wanted, how would you regularly spend that hour?”
Our little guys were quick to answer this one. “I’d play with my trains,” said The Professor matter-of-factly. “Me too!” agreed his little brother, Huck.
Lancelot gave the question a little more thought. “I think I would read more. I’ve always wanted to read more and usually can’t find the time,” he admitted.
“I’d do yoga or run,” I said when it was my turn. “Then I could make sure I’d get my exercise in every day.”
The sad thing about this question, lighthearted as it seems, is that the reality is probably a little bit different. If I truly had an extra hour each day to do anything I wanted, I’d like to think that I’d use the time to do something spectacular, or something that filled my heart with joy. Maybe that would actually be yoga or running. Maybe Lancelot would truly read. Somehow, though, I doubt it.
There is no shortage of tasks or distractions we could fit into an extra hour every day. I think the most ambitious among us would likely fill that extra hour with To Dos. Chores. Things we think we need to do. Laundry, lawn-mowing, paying bills. If not tasks, chances are pretty good that we’d spend an extra hour each day scrolling through social media or “catching up” on one more show on TV. After all, life is busy and hard! We need and deserve time at the end of the day to decompress!
There never seem to be enough hours in the day. How often do we hear people say that, or say it ourselves? There are so many things we want to do, and even more things that we think we need to do. In this culture of FOMO and news-on-demand, we are under a lot of pressure to keep up with our friends and stay on top of everything that’s going on. That results in a lot of harried, stressed out, overworked, under-rested and unfulfilled people going about their business every day.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
In fact, if we really want an extra hour to do anything we wanted every single day, we can have it.
We don’t have to scroll through social media for 116 minutes every day. We don’t have to watch 170 minutes of TV a day. We don’t have to hot-glue miniature snowflakes onto invitations for our 1-year-old’s birthday party. We don’t have to hit snooze seven times every morning only to roll out of bed anxious and frantic because we are running behind yet again. We don’t have to stay up late fussing about the house, putting off our much-needed sleep in favor of ironing a few more shirts.
We can slash our media consumption in half and get 143 extra minutes right there. That’s not just an hour – that’s more than two! We can buy pre-printed invitations, or use Evite. We can get up an hour early every day to meditate, exercise, organize our day or even just breathe before the chaos begins. We can buy shirts made of wrinkle-free fabric or outsource the ironing to the local dry cleaning facility.
We can get an extra hour every day. We can get more than an extra hour every day. It’s not just a question we have to dream about. We can do it! And we should.
We each get 24 hours every day, to make our life exactly what we want our life to be. Let’s use that time to fill our souls with joy, our spirits with light and our hearts with passion.
Let’s find an extra hour (or two) every single day, and use our time to create the lives of our dreams.