I’ve been meaning to write this article for a long time, maybe a year or longer… I suppose I just wanted to let it seed into my brain first. It always seemed like a tremendous endeavour, even thinking about it. If you’ve read my other articles about time, you will know that I have always felt deeply the rapid passage of time and have been eager to maximise it for a long time.
As I mentioned in one of my previous articles about writing, whenever a good idea comes to me, I inherently feel the need to postpone it, thinking that I am not ready to write it (that I don’t have the right words to capture it in its glory, that I am not in the right frame of mind to write or that I should have more pressing priorities). Nonsense, writing should be my main priority, as this is what bring me the most joy.
So, here I am finally writing this piece that I’ve thought about for so long. What are the five glorious hours? you may wonder. I realised that if we truly want to maximise our day-to-day lives (outside of work) we should strive to carve out five hours for ourselves every day, even during our busy work days (provided that we don’t have other commitments) and use them wisely.
It may sound like an ideal, but living smart means working smart to allow enough time in the workday for the things that bring us joy. After all, this is mainly what we work for - to buy ourselves the luxury of free time when we can do what our minds crave to do.
However, free time tends to be unstructured and therefore fluid, which makes us prone to lose and waste it. So, by applying structure to it, I believe that we can live more meaningfully and in a more fulfilling way.
“Why five hours?” you may wonder. Well, apart from the fact that five is a lucky number and it’s also one of the days I was born…Kidding. I think living gloriously five hours each day is achievable. Or, at least striving for this ideal might get us to accomplish one or two or even three glorious hours, which is still remarkable. And here is how:
1. Identify five things that you treasure for your wellbeing and development
For me these are: 1) reading, 2) writing, 3) playing the piano, 4) learning a foreign language and 5) exercising. All of them (apart from exercising) bring me joy when I do them and a sweet feeling of accomplishment once I have done them and at the end of each day.
2. Aim to do each of them for one hour
One hour is a long enough period of time to enable you to get immersed in each activity, but short enough to prevent you from getting bored of it. Also, applying the one-hour rule will get you into the state of mind of maximising that time, because, after all, you only have an hour in that day to do one of the five things you love doing.
Another benefit is that having five things that you aspire to do each and every day will bring variety to your day. I often found that when I got immersed into doing just one thing for an undefined amount of time, I ended up being slow (therefore, not making much progress) and worse, easily distracted.
Now that I know exactly what I will be doing each hour of my free time, I don’t think about what I will be doing when I get home from work or when I wake up in the morning. Instead, I come back home excited at the thought of living my glorious hours. Likewise, in the mornings I jump out of bed with the enthusiasm of starting to live gloriously before I get to work when my time is no longer mine.
So you will find that, living by the hour puts your free time into perspective and it instills in you the intention to act and accomplish something in a relatively short amount of time - one hour.
3. Plan and carve out your five glorious hours
A day has twenty-four hours and we should aim to sleep for eight hours and work for eight hours. That leaves us with eight hours out of which three might be dedicated to various things like getting dressed and ready, commuting, eating, socialising etc. If we manage to combine these (e.g. have lunch with someone, so you eat and socialise at the same time or read during the commute), or minimise them (e.g. get ready quickly, skip unnecessary make-up application), the daily chores could be accomplished in about three hours, leaving you with five glorious hours to enjoy every day.
Once you’ve carved out the five glorious hours in your day, all you need to do is pin them to your daily calendar, to ensure they will happen. At the beginning you may find that organising your day to allow the enjoyment of the five glorious hours takes a bit of planning. Apart from a calendar, I recommend using a stopwatch to remind yourself when one glorious hour is up and move to the next one. if you find yourself that you are stopping in the midst of ideas or that you aren’t done with that activity and would like to carry on, then think how excited you will be the next day to resume it and that it’s time to channel that enthusiasm and energy onto the next activity. Of course, you can take small breaks in between your glorious hours, just make sure they are timed and planned for beforehand, to allow you enough time to live the remaining hours gloriously.
For example, I plan to enjoy two glorious hours in the morning (one of them is always exercising) and three in the evening when I have more time (one of them, reading before bedtime). If it’s a particularly busy day, then I will try to split up a glorious hour into two or three chunks, so I enjoy half of it during my morning commute and half of it during my evening commute (like learning a foreign language through listening to podcasts as I walk to work). Or, one hour gloriously lived at lunchtime as I sometimes like to read or write in my break at work.
You may think this way of living is too regimented and robotic. But, athletes and champions and a great example that living a rigorously structured life where no second is lost brings many rewards and benefits.
You don’t have to strive to be a champion to live in this way. If you are driven by a desire to feel proud of the way you spend your time and ultimately live your life, the five glorious hours may be exactly what you need to bring structure and discipline into your day-to-day life, to eliminate distractions, to stay focused and create good habits. The five glorious hours will help you to design your day and bring achievable goals into your daily life. They will keep you motivated and in a high-achieving state, as once you have finalised one glorious hour, you will be keen to complete another. One glorious hour after the other will become the self-generating engine that will power you through your day.