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How One Hour a Day Can Change Your Life

June 5, 2012

What if you committed just one hour a day to work on that dream project you’ve been thinking about all those years?

That’s what Geoff Edgers did.

Edgars was a 38 year old arts reporter for the Boston Globe who had reached that enviable point in life where he was settled down with a good job, a nice house and family. But he couldn’t shake this dream he had to make a movie.

He decided to spend an hour a day working on it.

Three years later, he had a movie documentary in the can, called “Do it Again.” It premiered at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam to smashing reviews.

“If you wonder if you could write a book or run a marathon, don’t waste a minute calculating your chances. Instead, spend an hour a day on your dream. It’s how I suddenly found myself on a bridge in London, cameras rolling, wondering what took me so long.”

Six Reasons Why One Hour a Day Can Change Your Life

Whether you are thinking about writing a screenplay, training for the senior olympics, or starting an online yarn business, one hour a day over a longer time frame can be a realistic way to get things up and running. Here’s the thing about one hour a day:

1. It’s enough of a commitment to show you are serious. A bunch of sagging middle-age guys around my office have been doing a fitness program one hour a day for the last two months. Every single one of them is starting to look great – losing 15, 20, 30 pounds. They are being transformed. But it is only because they all got together and swore that if they signed up for this thing, they were going to commit. And it shows.

2. It really gets you focused. By putting aside a chunk of time each day, you are telling your brain: “Hey, this is important!” Although you are physically devoting just one hour, your brain will start working around the clock thinking about it. Soon you’ll see your progress accelerate as the strange synergy of the subconscious mind kicks in.

3. It is realistic to find one hour a day. You can get up an hour earlier, use your lunch hour, or shut yourself away for an hour when you get home from work. Or, you could stop doing something else that is less important: reading the paper, watching TV, posting on Facebook, even exercising. It’s a trade off. I know you’re busy, but so am I, and there are no excuses for not being able to carve out one stinking hour in the day.

4. You can actually get something done in one hour. One hour is substantial enough to allow you to really accomplish something. And since you are doing it every day, you can come back tomorrow and have a sense of continuity with what you were working on.

5. It’s easier to get friends and family to support. What do you think would have happened if Geoff came home one day and said to his wife, “I’m quitting my job to go figure out how to make a movie.” Right. You know the answer to that one. We’ve all got obligations. But one hour a day to achieve your dream? I think your spouse and kids could support that, and you can still spend quality time with your family.

6. Three years is a realistic expectation for a time frame. I had once heard Seth Godin say that if you are serious about blogging, don’t even think about starting it unless you are going to commit to three years. Because no matter how good you are, it takes that long to establish a foundation, a community of followers, a reputation and the right visibility. Nothing substantial happens in a flash. Three years? Yes, that’s long enough to see some kind of result.

So come on. Do something fantastic. Get started today with just one hour, and see what happens.

The time is going to pass by anyway.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2012 7:36 am

    That right there is some solid, practical, encouraging wisdom, Mr. Shrinking Camel.

  2. June 5, 2012 8:44 am

    Your second point is so insightful. That was something that surprised me whenever I’ve started my little projects throughout the years. I start finding myself thinking about it while I’m driving, showering, etc. – and pretty soon it’s much more of a part of your life. At that point, that hour may even slowly become two hours!

  3. June 5, 2012 8:53 am

    “The time is going to pass anyway.” Such truth there.

    And….a movie about a guy in love with the Kinks?? How did I miss this????

  4. June 5, 2012 1:25 pm

    This sounds very realistic and natural way to try something new. It’s stinking lovely.

  5. June 5, 2012 4:20 pm

    Camel…this is some wise counsel. One hour a day is an amziang amound to ftime. I wonder if I just dedicated 30 miutes — even 15 to puruse my dream, what would happen?

  6. June 6, 2012 7:49 am

    Wonderful reminder and approach to helping us keep more realistic expectations and hopefully balanced life. Thanks also for point at that I have at least another 30 months of blogging before evaluating how I’m doing! Clearly you have been very successful and keep up the great work!

  7. Dan Black on Leadership permalink
    June 6, 2012 11:31 pm

    This is such a great post. One hour a day focusing and doing our dreams allows us to be moving toward them. Such a practice way to moving toward your dreams.

  8. June 13, 2012 11:56 am

    I’m on the hour a day plan (at least) and I’m with you all the way. I’m now writing my next book and doing just that. Here’s the only problem — I can’t pursue my other dreams and it’s really tough. Just one dream at a time! It takes discipline and sacrifice, not my strong suit when I’d prefer to do it all.

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