I Recorded How Long I Took to Get Ready Every Day for a Year. Here’s What I learned.
We all do lots of different activities each day on autopilot without pausing to think of the details within what we do. There may be a lot to learn by examining even the smallest aspects of our lives, right down to the very minute. By recording what we do with numbers we can gain some valuable information about ourselves and our habits.
I like projects that involve a small effort completed every day for an entire year. Right now I’m working on a project (if you can really call it that) where I ask a different question on Facebook every day. I’ve learned a TON so far from doing this, but as I looked back I wondered, where did this idea start?
To be honest I don’t even remember why I decided to do it. When I get a streak going, I don’t like to stop. Which is probably why my MyFitnessPal days logged streak is over 900, even though some of those days I’ve only recorded a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
I’m new at this writing online thing. I digress. Let’s get to the point here.
I used a simple note-taking app to record how long it took me to get ready every day. Total time and shower time. I noted the shower time and remembered it, then recorded it when I finished getting completely ready. Some days I did really well and others, not so much. I noticed some trends in the data that were rather interesting.
Learning #1: I got better at handling adversity as the year progressed.
2017 was the hardest year of my life for a lot of reasons. More on that another day though. I wanted to say that on the days that I had difficult experiences I also took a longer time to get ready, but this wasn’t always the case, surprisingly. On the day my grandmother died, March 18, for example, the total time was 21 minutes 56 seconds with a 14 minute shower. However, later in the year, when my daughter was born 6 weeks early and spend a couple weeks in the NICU I was clocking around a 10 minute shower. I understand that correlation does not imply causation, so another likely cause was that I just got better at getting ready faster throughout the year. Also, since I had been through so much even in between these events, I may have just gained experience with handling difficulties better all around, including not taking so long to get ready in the morning.
Learning #2: In winter months it was harder to get ready quickly (duh).
Okay this should seem obvious, right? It’s extra cold getting out of the warm bed, it’s super cold going outside for a morning run, and even a warm shower is less pleasant when you have to step outside into the chilly air (even with a heater). The value in knowing this is that I may need to plan more time to get ready during the winter months than the summer months. Or, another way of looking at it is that the winter months provide a better opportunity for me to deplete my Willpower in the beginning of the day so I have less at the end. It’s said that knowing your enemy is half the battle, so if I already know it’s going to be hard to get ready more quickly I can prepare myself better for it.
Learning #3: Big accomplishments are made up of small, consistent acts.
I already knew this, but to be honest, nothing really sinks a principle into your heart like experience. As I look back I’m amazed that I kept at it for so long. Maybe the larger lesson here is that I am capable of doing those consistent little things that make the big difference in life. Which is probably a lesson that I will take into every goal for the rest of my life. I’ve already started this year with my spiritual, social, mental, and physical goals working in small, more consistent efforts. And that is making the massive difference in the changes I’ve seen in myself and the world around me over time.
Was it always fun recording how long I took to get ready each day? Not really. In fact, most days it was pretty boring. Sometimes the data got skewed because I would just give up for just a few days in a row.
But I stuck with it and kept going. I did just one thing, consistently, for an entire year and I’m proud of myself for that. Even if that thing was a little lame and kinda weird.
What will you do consistently this year to see the big results you’re looking for?