The 10 Minute Difference Between Stress and Happiness

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
Charles Dickens

Imagine a day in my life, a few years ago….

Brrrinngg!!! The alarm snaps me awake, but do I get up? No! Hit the snooze and lay in bed. Just a few minutes more…

The alarm goes off again – and now I know I absolutely have to get up.

I scarf down my breakfast as I try to juggle priorities in my head. Why? Because this is no time to look at my todo list – I know I’m already behind schedule!

I run out the door to head to a meeting – and in my rush forget something important. Only…I don’t realize it until I’m well on my way.

When I finally notice my mistake, I have to make a decision:  do I go back for it and end up even further behind? Or do I accept it and deal with the fallout of being ill prepared?

I haven’t even started my day yet – and I’m already behind.

Sound familiar? Have you been there?

Today I’ll reveal a simple change that could have turned everything around in that situation- and I honestly believe it is about as close to a magic bullet as there is in time management and productivity.

With this small change, you control your schedule, your life, can use momentum to keep your productivity rolling – and contribute to your long term happiness.

Without it, it is almost impossible to keep your stress levels down and you are fighting an uphill battle to balance your time and your commitments.

Unrealistic expectations? Read on – and you be the judge.

The 10 Minute Difference Between Stress and Happiness

In my story, there was one key moment where I could have turned everything around – did you spot it?  

My entire day would have started off headed for success rather than failure.

It was the moment I hit snooze to get 10 more minutes of sleep.

As soon as I hit snooze and decided to sleep in, I’d already lost.

Those critical 10 minutes would ultimately cause a chain reaction and throw off the rest of my day – by making me rush to catch up with getting ready on time, and trying to get to work on time.  Here’s the ramifications of that single decision:

  • I rushed to get ready – and started the day off stressed out instead of calm and collected
  • I tried to remember what I needed to do for the day – and ended up forgetting something at home, probably because I didn’t review my todo list.
  • Because I didn’t stick to my schedule, I was slightly behind and would probably spend the whole day trying to catch up

So, what’s this simple solution I talked about?

The Simple Solution

Just get up a few minutes earlier, and be early to your first commitment – whether that’s a meeting, or work, or working on your personal goals.

Now, you may be thinking: that’s too easy, and it’s not enough for you. You want a total productivity overhaul.

You may be looking for worksheets, a well oiled system, and perhaps audio and video.

If you want a system to help you get the most out of your morning (including morning rituals, and routines, etc) I have that covered for you in The Action Solution.

For today though, I want to encourage just a small step – aim to be 10 minutes early to your first thing tomorrow, and see how that goes for you.

One of biggest problems I’ve found with personal productivity is that the true solutions, the true long term answers just require you to just start – and then build on that with consistent effort and application.

Now you may read this and think “maybe I’ll try it out tomorrow” – or you may read this and say to yourself, “well, I’ve heard that before, but it’s not for me.”

For The Skeptics

If you fall into the second camp, the skeptics like myself – then you’re actually not much different than I am.

For a long time I read a lot of good advice, but never applied it.

Sometimes it was because I prejudged what I thought the outcome would be, sometimes I felt the advice was too simple, other times too complicated – but frequently, I was just generally skeptical.

I believe skepticism is healthy – but in my experience skepticism that stops you from taking any action is dangerous.  

And what’s the worst that could happen if I’m wrong – you get up 10 minutes earlier, decide it’s not for you, and go back to the way things were in a couple days.  No harm done right?

Tomorrow’s Action Item

So, if you’re having trouble keeping things together, if you’re struggling to manage your day – try getting up 10-15 minutes earlier tomorrow.

And don’t jump straight on the computer to check email or Facebook or Twitter or the news. Spend the early part of your day planning things out, or (preferably) on yourself.

The 10 Minute Principle

You may have read this far and wondered – why quote Charles Dickens at the beginning of this article?  It comes down to this principle:

  • 5 minutes ahead of all your commitments – calm, collected, happiness
  • 5 minutes behind all your commitments – stress and misery

Get Ahead In Your Life

If you like what you’ve seen so far, and want to make the most out of your life, take a moment to read the details about my course The Action Solution and see if it’s something you’d be interested in.

If you want to see how deep this rabbit hole goes, here’s some more articles about time and time management for you to enjoy.

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