For those of you new to the concept of Hour-a-Day April (HADA, for short), it's a productivity challenge that I started doing a few years ago when I realized just how much you can get done in an hour if you really put your mind to it. It might feel like trying to squeeze blood from a stone, sometimes. There really aren't any extra hours in the day, no matter how you slice it. But it's only for a month, and when it's short-term, it's easier to give a few precious minutes to making your life a bit nicer/simpler/cleaner in the long run.
My original post is here, but here are the updated rules for 2015:
Hour-a-Day April 2015 Rules
- Think of something that you normally have a hard time finding time for. Sewing, cleaning, painting, organizing, playing basketball, crossing things off your honey-do list, it's up to you! It can be one big project, or a bunch of little projects. I have a fairly diverse list of HADA projects this year, but a lot of my focus will be on things that I can do today that will make tomorrow better. My typical cleaning, sorting, and organizing projects all fall into that category, but I'm also looking at things like fixing the shades so they don't pop off their brackets every day when I raise and lower them. I'm also going to spend part of my hour every day doing things that I should be doing every day, already, but I'm not. Like eating breakfast.
- Spend an hour every day working on your chosen project(s). Set a timer and stick to it. Kids need your attention? Stop the timer and give them your attention. You have all day to squeeze in that hour, and if your kids are anything like mine, it might happen five or ten minutes at a time. But by the end of the day, make sure you've clocked that hour. Know yourself. If the best way for you to get in your hour is to get up early, get up early. If you clean best after everyone else goes to bed, skip CSI. It's only for a month.
- Take one day off a week. If you're religious, you may already have a set sabbath, if not, just pick a day to be your "break" day. Or don't pick a day, and let it be a floating day off, so if you miss a day, you can just say, "Oh well, that was my day off." (I tend to do this last one.)
- Keep others updated on your progress. Comment on this blog. Blog about it yourself, and send me the link. Join our HADA Facebook group, and come chat about what you're working on. Phone up your mom. Put a gold star on a chart.
- Don't give up. Missed a day? Just brush it off and get back on the proverbial horse the next day. Even if you only do half the days, that's still 15 hours more productivity than your April would have otherwise had.
- Don't let HADA set you back on all the stuff you normally do find time for. If you're having a hard time keeping up with the daily stuff, count some of it towards your hour (but not all of it, or the point of HADA is lost).
- Don't let anyone or anything steal your joy and sense of accomplishment for the things you have done. HADA isn't about becoming perfect, it's about deliberately spending an hour every day tackling the projects you rarely get to. If you did your hour today, YOU WIN. Period. It doesn't matter if someone else did two hours, or if the sink is still full of dirty dishes, or if there are still 17 more hours of organizing to do. If you managed to squeeze a whole extra hour of blood from the stone of your already-busy day, be proud of yourself.
- Celebrate when it's all over! If you live near me, let's go out to dinner together and order gooey chocolatey desserts. If you live far away, have your own celebration and tell me about it. Go ahead and splurge, you've earned it!