How To Add 1.5 Months Of Active Days To Your Year

My wife and I did some math the other day. On average, she needs about 2 hours more of sleep each night than I do. After some quick calculations, we were quite surprised at the impact that has on our week – and our year.

I, apparently, have accessed about 52 full, active days per year more than she has.

Just by waking up earlier.

“That explains a lot,” she said. “I need a nap,” I said.

Here’s how it works.

First, by “add,” I mean “discover,” and by discover I mean “find something that was there, but maybe you didn’t realize it or see it this way.”

The “adding” happens by awareness, rather than by time appearing from nowhere.

In our home, we call it the 2 Hour Rule.

Let’s say you get up in the morning, and have between 5:30 am – 7:30 am, or 6:00 am – 8:00 am as time you can invest in “something.”

Our day always starts the night before, so early rising means a good bedtime.

Of course, we have to wake up, wander aimlessly, shower, pray, read, and eat. And you may not be in a season of life where that time frame, or a 2 hour time frame like it, is attainable in the morning.

Or let’s say you avoid the TV and have between 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, or 7:00 pm -9:00 pm, each day.

Let’s just say you do have 2 hours a day (or most days) you can invest.

Here’s the startling math.

2 hrs./day x 7 days/wk. = 14 hours.

That is 14 active, awake hours per week.

That’s one 8:00 am-10 pm day.

SImply put, that is one, full, “extra” active day per week.

Now, let’s multiply that over the year.

1 day per week x 52 weeks in a year = 52 active days.

52 active days per year is approximately 1.5 months.

Just by getting up earlier, and thinking well about that 2 hour time frame, you’ve “added” 1.5 months of active days to your schedule.

I know it’s playful math; just stay with me here.

Over 8 years, that is approximately 1 “additional” year of active days you’ve discovered.

Now, you can spend that “year”…

catching up on random emails,

getting lost in your newsfeed on Facebook,

moving more slowly than you normally would,

puttering around the kitchen, or

sleeping – 

all of which could be good uses of that time.

.Put those hours in the evening instead, when you’re all tuckered out, and you could…

watch another movie,

watch tv, or

watch even more movies or a season of tv.

.You could, alternatively choose to invest those hours into…

Praying and meditating on the Scriptures,

Mastering an instrument,

Reading a book,

Writing a book,

Exercising your body,

Enjoying the outdoors,

Encouraging others through various means,

Foregoing a movie and auditioning for one instead,

Starting an Etsy store online,

Settling in and sleeping some more,

Writing a blog to help others, or

Leaving a legacy for your kids or grandkids, with a journal.

.I would encourage you to do something intentional and inspiring with those 52 “extra” days. But for goodness sake, please don’t waste them because they weren’t on your radar.

Using the 2 Hour Rule, you have 1.5 months of active days every year to spend; invest them wisely.


Question: How do you spend your free time? Now that you’re aware of how a 2 hour block can change your year, is there anything you would do differently?

Resource: A few years ago I wrote a short book called, The Elemental Life, which looks at how to manage your life by rhythms, rather than by minutes and hours. It maps out how I think about keeping my spiritual life passionate and alive over a year.


Sheltering Mercy and Endless Grace help us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation. Sheltering Mercy helps the reader pray Psalms 1-75; Endless Grace leads in prayer through Psalms 76-150.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. Each book contains 75 prayers drawn from the Book of Psalms, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning there. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

These artful, poetic, and classic devotional books are a perfect gift, and feature compelling stunning illustrations and hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

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