As I was listening to a podcast today, the speaker remarked, “Be a voracious reader.  When you spend only one hour each day reading you can become the go-to expert in  your field in just a few years.”

(As a side note:  If you subscribe to the theory that it takes 10.000 hours of study, practice, and focus to become an expert – then a “few years” is closer to 27.  If you subscribe to the theory that each field takes a different number of hours to become an expert then just divide the number of hours by 365 to calculate the number of years.  A special thanks to Udemy for providing this graphic!)Udemy Expert

Regardless of the number of total hours needed to become an expert – the fact remains, with consistent focus, you can drastically change your skill level.  Devoting 1 hour a day towards professional development could be the equivalent of reading 40 books a year, or listening to over 350 podcasts, or reading more than 2000 blog posts.  WOW – that certainly can put you head and shoulders above the general population!

However, this is not my point, so stay with me!

On the same day, a friend posted on Facebook,  “Get healthy!  Stay healthy!  Exercise for just one hour each day.  Your body, mind, and family will thank you . . . you’ll be around longer.  Don’t say you don’t have the time, 1 hour is less than 5% of your day.”

“Oooohhhh!” I thought.  “I want to be around longer!  I better exercise more.”  Then I thought, “WOW – I want to be the go-to expert in my field, it’s time to start reading consistently an hour each day.”

Then, I was speaking with someone in the marketing field who advised the best thing you could do to increase your business is to spend an hour each day making new connections.  “Really, in the big picture, an hour a day is so minuscule for the results you’ll receive.”

“Oooohhhhh!” I thought again.  “I want to great marketing and sales results!!!  Sign me up for an hour a day!”

Then (yes – believe it or not – same day!!) I was speaking with a client that felt overwhelmed by everything she had going on in her life . . . you know what I mean  . . . LONG to-do list, obligations at home, big projects with her job . . . and I asked her when she had last taken some “me time”.  Her response was, “She just didn’t have time to focus on herself.”  To which I replied, “just carve out a couple of 15 – 20 minute blocks of time each day to recharge.  Really, an hour each day is less than 5% of your day – and what could be more important than taking care of yourself?”

“Ooohhhhh!” I thought once again.  “I need to take my advice!  An hour a day recharging my batteries is such a great idea!”

Now, finally, my point!

Then reality hit!  Those hours keep adding up!

  • 1 hour for professional reading
  • 1 hour for exercise
  • 1 hour for marketing
  • 1 hour for self-care

Plus, let’s not forget about . . .

  • sleep
  • eating
  • showering
  • time with family
  • traveling
  • volunteering
  • networking appointments
  • etc
  • etc
  • etc

When in the world am I supposed to meet with clients?  Return telephone calls? Go to the grocery store?

All of the sudden,  “1 hour is less than 5% of your day” starts to add up.”

My advice:  go back to your priorities.

What are your goals?

What are the most important people, activities, values in your life?

Then work backward.  We each have 24 hours each day.  Determine how much time you want to spend on each activity.  Be proactive, make a choice on how you want to spend your day.

Dedicating one hour each day towards a goal is a great idea.  Now, decide, which 24 “things” will you devote an hour to?

Your turn!  Where do you choose to focus your time and attention?  

Image provided by Janaka Dharmasena /