The 25th Hour

by jon on December 30, 2012

Time flies when you are having fun right? I happen to disagree. I think time just flies when we are busy and have a million things going on. It sure flew this last month when I didn’t get a blog post out! Some days I look at the clock only to see 5pm and wonder where the time went. So what if there was a away to have an extra hour in our day?

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Would multitasking give us that extra hour? Just fit more in, right? I have definitely been that person in the picture below.

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Well, my effectiveness at multitasking can also be summed up in a story about a girl I was once dating. We were in an argument and late for dinner with friends. While doing several things at once, I texted my friend that “I would be 15 minutes late because my girlfriend was being ridiculous.” The problem was the text didn’t go to my friend but instead to my girlfriend. She was not happy to say the least, and I spent days in the doghouse. I have countless other stories about trying to multitask but they usually end up with the same result. My attempt to fit more in results in more issues for myself, and it takes more time away from me.

And just to be clear it is not that we can’t multitask but it is more about how effective we are when we do it. My own experience seems to be backed up by brain science. In the book “Brain at Work” David Rock reviewed a study that shows when people do two cognitive tasks at once, their cognitive capacity can drop from that of a Harvard MBA to that of an eight-year-old. Another study in David’s book showed that constant emailing and texting reduces mental capacity by an average of ten points on an IQ test. This effect is similar to losing a night of sleep. It is interesting to me that in an attempt to find more time we actually do things that takes time away from us. And  then we wonder where the time goes…

So it is not surprising that time continues to fly by, and I think we are pretty set with 24 hours in a day. However, after a recent hike I discovered something amazing. I found a way that time could feel more abundant and had my first 25 hour day. It started with one of my internet holidays and a hike up in the NC Mountains. I wasn’t checking email, had no cell service and was not on the internet. I was a little nervous at first to be out of communication for so long.

I hiked with a few friends and of course Brooks.

I spent an entire day doing one thing at a time. I was just present in the outdoors and wasn’t attached to my iPhone all day. And I remember leaving the hike and thinking it has to be almost 8pm. And it was only 4pm. I was shocked. And that is when I started to think maybe time goes slow when we focus one thing at a time. And when we focus on one thing at a time especially an activity that raises our energy, we could feel more complete with our days.

So my 25 hour day experience inspired the idea of “The 25th Hour.” I even did a talk on this recently at Ignite Charlotte 5. I wanted a way to replicate that feeling I had at the end of that day hiking, but I knew I couldn’t spend each day doing a full day hike. So the 25th Hour is an activity you do for one hour that raises your energy or gives you that feeling of coming alive. It helps create the feeling where time feels abundant and stands still.

It is time with no email, phone or texting. Think about those things that make you feel more complete with your days. It could be time with your kids, spouse or family. Maybe it is playing music, art, reading, karaoke-ing (I think I made up a new word), cooking, exercising, yoga, building something, meditation…you name it. The root word of recreation is actually “re-create.” So what are things that re-create you after you do them. A good place to start for me is usually the things I forget about or push to the side when I get too “busy.” My activities could be writing, exercising, working on a speech, or just being outside with no agenda.

I have to step out of this…

And into something like this:

Cusco mt look

This young boy is a good example:

 

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Our days will keep flying by unless we get back in control of our time. Try incorporating 25th Hour activities into your day and share them with me on twitter at #25thhr. It may just allow things to slow down for you. The more you and I slow down and create space for what is important, the better we are for the people around us. And we will begin to create a context where people have the space and time to be their best self. And it may even just start to feel like our days have 25 hours. Have a great week and Happy New Year!

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