The 10 minute earlier solution to everything

Do you have ten minutes? That’s roughly how long it might take you to read this article. But reading it could seriously add value to your work and life.

Andy Warhol famously said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. Cool, but how about using just a spare ten minutes instead, not to be famous but to be better. Here’s how:

Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier


Well, think about it. We’re all human. Most of us when the alarm or the clock radio goes off don’t immediately open our eyes and jump out of bed, pull open the curtains and start singing “Oh what a beautiful morning”. Instead, we punch the snooze button, pull the duvet back over our heads and relish every second of the extra few minutes we think we have stolen back from our working day. So, in fact, what we are doing is adding stress to our lives already before the day has even started. We wake up a bit later and then start worrying about traffic, about being a few minutes late for a meeting, about not having had time to finish off that document or send that important email.

Let’s take back that ten minutes and re-imagine our day. A gentle wander to a warm shower, a couple of minutes extra to enjoy the tingle of hot water and thinking of whether you are going to have avo on toast or coffee and cereal or maybe both.

The point really isn’t about having some extra time for breakfast. It’s about not starting your day with stress levels already activated the minute you open your eyes. Stress is what ruins our day, our productivity and sometimes even our lives.

Leave for work 10 minutes earlier


Well, we can’t guarantee the traffic is going to be better or the crowd on the train, but you won’t be spending the trip checking your watch every twenty seconds. Those ten minutes you got up earlier gave you a license to sit back and look at your social media or even read a couple of pages of a good book.

Get to your meeting 10 minutes earlier


Because the first person in the meeting room is immediately in control of the meeting. That’s just a fact of life. Your more senior colleague walks in and sees you there already going through your notes and immediately feels a bit vulnerable but also instantly respects you.

Have lunch 10 minutes earlier


Because you can. Walk out ten minutes early, enjoy your lunch. Yeah sure, everyone will think why he or she is leaving so early but they will have subconscious respect for you. The confidence you project by doing that will serve you in great stead. Call it the ten-minute CV check. You are good, just keep remembering that.

Leave work 10 minutes earlier


See above. You are too good and too smart at what you do to do the bum on the seat stuff. A great admin genius in London once stipulated that if anyone stayed in the office after 5 PM they would be fired. His reasoning was simple. If they hadn’t done their work by then, they were obviously not very talented.

Working for ten minutes less in an hour has scientific benefits though. Science shows that we can concentrate and focus for around about fifty minutes. We need the last ten minutes of the hour to get our brains back to normal. So, even if you are still at work, switch yourself off every now and again just for ten minutes. Go have a coffee or talk small stuff to a colleague. Better still go outside and walk around for ten minutes.

Have dinner 10 minutes earlier


Well, there are differing opinions about eating at night in terms of health. Some doctors saying eating late is bad if you are trying to lose weight especially. Others have differing opinions.  Try eating healthier and less heavy foods at night though and you may see a big difference.

Exercise even for just 10 minutes.


Studies have shown that even ten minutes of light exercise can significantly increase the amount of oxygen that gets to your brain and therefore increases your brainpower. It’s not just brainpower though, you are going to have more energy and again probably more confidence as you go about your work.

Go to bed 10 minutes earlier


Easy. Your brain gets stimulated by things. The TV, your phone, a video game, the radio, even reading a book. Go to bed ten minutes earlier without any of those stimulations. Just lie and try and think nothing for those ten minutes or so. If you think that it is going to be super boring, think again. Your brain will naturally take you somewhere where it doesn’t have to use all those complex wiring systems.

So, if you are thinking hard about where your life is going, just sit down and take a minute. Or maybe even ten.