When “Common Hours” Create Success.
Success means many things to many people. No matter what your definition of success is, Henry David Thoreau wrote how it can be achieved, “if one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to live the life which they have imagined, they will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
We all have the same 168 hours each week.
Why is that some of us are rock stars, best-selling novelists, or have prints of their art in homes everywhere?
Surely most of these people were not millionaires before they became famous, or were at least happy doing what they want to do. Could it be that these are the few that took a good look at their time, and used it with intention to create a happy, life. They created their own success with their own “common hours.”
HOW do we find those “common hours” to meet with our success?
I found that an examination of how we consistently spend our 168 hours each week can lead to profound insights and some changes that can free up 20 to 35 hours “common hours” every week to create a wonderful life.
Here are five simple ways we can find those “common hours” to create our own
Watch Less TV
Studies show most people spend an average of 3 hours each evening watching TV. I got rid of my cable service and subscribed to Netflix, and promised myself I would watch no more than 1.5 hours in the evening, which captures 10.5 “common hours” each week!
I go to sleep earlier, and get up earlier, which gives me an hour and a half each day to work on a painting or write my blog.
Because of this one change I have been able to consistently write two or three blogs a week, as well as create two to four paintings a month!
Do your grocery shopping and other errands once a week. I keep a stenographer pad handy all the time, and when I think of something I need, I add it to the list.
Saturday morning is errand time. I organize my list before leaving the house, and plan my trips logistically. A logistical list not only saves time, it also saves money, using less gas.
Typically, most people run errands four times a week. If that average errand time is an hour and a half, your weekly errand time is six hours. It you do it all in one trip once a week, and it takes you four hours, you’ve saved two “common hours” and a lot of gas!
- Phone Time
We love our phones. We love to text, email, and talk. Before you know it, you’ve used two or more hours each day. precious “Why not let family and friends know what you’re up to? Tell them you are setting aside two hours on Sunday to converse with friends and family.
You need to be strong on this one, and maintain the boundary. If they care about you and want to see you happily achieving your success, they’ll understand. They might even become inspired by your dedication and start making changes and find their own “common hours”.
This discipline could save you at least six “common hours” a week (and that’s probably a mild estimate compared to reality).
Ouch! The bane of all time-saving seekers! The secret is: unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe! Ruthlessly and relentlessly! Most emails are unsolicited ads tempting us to spend money.
If you spend an hour a day on emails, and get it down to 30 minutes, you capture three and a half “common hours” a week to use to create your dream. (Three and a half “common hours” gives me time to do research for my latest painting or blog. Success!)
Better yet, if you check emails four times a week instead, you’ll save five “common hours”!
One of the best things to give yourself is hiring a house cleaner. If you’re on a tight budget, have them come in once a month. Scrape the money together by giving up three coffee breaks a week, or perhaps a meatless dinner two times a week. Prepare more of your meals. You’ll save a ton by not purchasing processed foods, and be healthier for it! Turn the thermostat up or down a couple of degrees. Don’t leave the lights on, and consolidate laundry loads. Keep track of the money you save each time you save time on something and put that savings in cash in an envelope marked “house keeper”.
It feels so luxurious to have someone else clean your house! You’ll feel great, your creative juices flow, and there you are, sitting at the table, sketch pad and pencil in hand, creating a new dress design, on your way to success!
You gain at least 12 “common hours” toward success, by letting someone else clean. And you’ve helped someone else by giving them a job!
Adding up Your “Common Hours”
Here is a list of the “common hours” you’ve captured with these simple disciplines that can change your life by giving you the precious time to create your dream:
- TV time 10.5
- Errands 2.0
- Phone 6.0
- Emails 5.0
- House Cleaning 12.0
Total weekly “common hours” 35.5
WOW! JUST THINK! WHAT CAN YOU DO IN 35 HOURS A WEEK!
Thoreau also said, “Most people live lives of quiet desperation”. Everything he wrote was about finding what makes you happy, and doing it successfully. You can find your own unique success in your very own “common hours”. Look at how you live your life and spend your time. There is so much opportunity for you to be successfully happy hidden in your own “common hours”.
Even if you don’t everything listed in this post, you can succeed at doing what makes you happy. (If you only cut out TV and hired a housekeeper, you will still have found 22.5 of Thoreau’s “common hours”. YOU will not be one of those who lives a life of “quiet desperation”)