November 9, 2017

What to do with your extra hour

Did you know that the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST) could improve your work-life balance and career advancement opportunities? Not to mention help you network and build better professional relationships. Don’t think about it as a time change—think of it as a mind change. Allow me to explain.When I was 10 years old, I thought I could control time. Upon hearing that all the clocks needed to be changed for this silly annual ritual of saving daylight, I decided to take a stand. “I’m not ready to use my hour,” I defiantly told my parents. As they went around the house manually adjusting the clocks back by one hour that morning, I doubled down. “I’m saving my hour for tonight!” I declared.How could they stop me? With my new Shark watch leashed to my wrist, I busted out the door and down to my friend’s house. We played outside all day.Ah, those were the days.Eventually, the amber autumn sun began to set, signaling that my Sunday Funday was coming to an end. As I trotted home, I gleefully glanced at my watch and decided now was the perfect time to “use” my hour. Instantly, I gained an entire hour back in my life. Hooray—more time to play!For some people, this week marks the beginning of their season of discontent. The days shrink. The cold creeps in. Holiday commitments are looming. But for me, this week is one I relish. I get to channel my inner 10-year-old and see this circadian disruption as an opportunity. I always make a concerted effort to put my extra 60 minutes to good use.What did you do with your extra hour this week? Sleeping in an extra hour over the weekend doesn’t count, by the way. If you haven’t used it yet, today would be a great day to do so.Here are some ideas to help you make the most of your time.

  1. Clean out that drawer or closet. You know which one I’m talking about. Seriously, when was the last time you looked in there? The one you are too embarrassed to even open yourself, let alone let anyone else see all the junk you’ve amassed in there. Grab a trash bag and clean it out. Now, if all of your drawers and closets are perfectly organized and clean, that’s weird. And I am now very concerned for you. 
  2. Send a thank you note. A real one. Not a lifeless, toneless email. All the emojis and bitmojis and gifs in the world are nothing compared to ink on paper. Send a thank you note. The kind that you put a stamp on and drop into a mailbox. Those are the best. You don’t even have to receive a gift to send a thank you—you can just send one. Imagine that! So go get a blank thank you card from the store and find your friend’s address. Then, write them and say something like, “Hey, it’s been a while, but I just wanted to say thanks for being you. I haven’t laughed as hard as I did since the last time we got together. Want to get coffee this week?” See bullet #6 below. You’ll thank yourself for doing it.
  4. Optimize your homepage. Hey hey hey, don’t bail on me! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is easier than it sounds, and it’s more important than you may realize. Making your website index higher in organic search could really pay off. If you aren’t a developer, talk to a teammate who is one. I guarantee in just an hour you can make improvements that will pay off indefinitely. Here are the 2018 SEO trends you need to know.
  6. Prep your entire week. What slows you down during the week? Is it that you can’t decide what to wear? Lay out your entire week’s wardrobe so you can just grab and go. Can’t decide what’s for dinner? Make a meal list for the week and prep as much as you can. Then, you can reheat great food each night and enjoy more of your evenings. Figure out what you waste your time on and get ahead of yourself.
  8. Learn a new skill. You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re alllll busy. But there’s always room to grow a little bit more. Really, there is. Ask your colleague how she made that spreadsheet that you found so helpful. Watch a webinar on how to improve your marketing campaigns. Never stop learning. It keeps you energized and, more importantly, in control of your career. Come on—we’re talking about one hour here. That’s like watching one episode of Stranger Things. You can do it.
  10. Get coffee with a friend or former coworker. You two used to be so close. What happened? Life happened. But now your relationship has devolved to texts and emails that say the same thing over and over: “OMG it’s been too long. We should def meet up!” Yet neither of you follow through. Look, I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. I still need to get coffee with Genevieve, and I’ve been promising to get lunch with Larry for weeks now. I think we can all find an hour in a week to reconnect with someone we care about. Let this post be my self-inflicted peer pressure to try and do better. By the way, you can make it your treat—Starbucks has a buy one get one free deal this week.
  12. Blog. Write now. If you’ve always wanted to start a blog but haven’t felt like you had the time, this is the week to do it. Check out platforms like WordPress, Squarespace or Blogger. They make it easy to get started. Already created a blog but haven’t posted in forever? There’s no shame in dusting it off and getting back into the rhythm of writing. I wrote this post in an hour. Pick a topic you care about and I guarantee you could write one of your own just as quickly, too. Here are a bunch of ideas for topics to blog about.

Time is relative. One hour in traffic seems like an eternity, while one hour with a best friend is over in a blink of an eye. Be intentional about how you use your extra hour this week and I believe you’ll find its effects last much longer.

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