The Power of Habit…or how to stretch the time

I am finishing “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change” by Charles Duhigg right now. I was listening to this book on my iPhone for the last two weeks in very small chunks to understand, re-think and apply some of the tips made in the book. And I start to feel the effects!

I think I navigated over to this book during my research into the reasons behind my current (or to be more precise) past issues with lack of time. I have originally been a person who really likes to sleep in the morning and stays up late at night to write, but recently I have lost the balance and started thinking about alternative solutions. When I looked at my calendar I realised that all my evening work is dedicated to passions related to my job so really…my brain does not rest at all! Furthermore, I do not have time for what I call unintended creativity: sitting over a cup of coffee and “writing” stories in my head, reading books of no value to my work, etc.  All my attempts to go back to hobbies unrelated to the web failed and I did not know what to do.  If you are at that point in your life or daily routine it is always helpful to step back and look at it from rather an objective point of view. I counted a number of hours spent on work and other projects, time spent on-line and off-line and realised: I am using the time I have wisely, but I need more of it to balance back my on-line activities with living the life itself! At that point I had to make probably the most drastic decision in my life: I needed to start waking up earlier! Waking up is really a series of activities strongly related to our habits so after a series of failures (it is really hard to get out of bed earlier than you really, really have to!) I understood that I might have to research the topic a bit better. Coming across “The Power of Habit” was somewhat a coincidence but I am really glad I read it, especially the first part explaining the brain activities related to habits, case studies of people who changed their lives by using wise (scientifically proven) processes and general mechanics of habits.  So now I feel I am not at the cross roads anymore. I have announced the changes in my sleeping pattern at home – changing habits affect our families. I have started the process of changing my morning habits, finding the triggers of my habits, identifying rewards and changing routine. It’s not easy but I already see the benefits of this shift. My mornings are not as productive as I would like them to be but I have time to live them fully! I think I would gradually stretch them even more and establish early waking as a routine – simply because it works well for me.
It’s interesting. “The Power of Habit” contains a great deal of very personal stories. Stories that make your cry or giggle. I am not sure if it was the set of practical tools provided by the book that made me change. I think I feel that it was down to the inspiration I gained from people who suffered and managed (by coincidence or their own choice) to turn their lives on a different, better track. Some changes are really simple and the ripple effect can be very powerful. I am so glad I found this book!

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