Roman Malanke

Precious Morning Hour

I’ve done it! Yes indeed, I’ve read “One Hundred Years of Solitude” in original Spanish version. The satisfaction and immense sense of accomplishment that I feel now resulted from nothing but a public promise to complete this undertaking by the end of spring, followed by three month of dedication and commitment.

The manner in which I approached this task may have seemed funny or even a bit robotic to most people. To remind you, I calculated the average number of pages I had to read every day to finish the book in time and started reading according to the schedule. My daily norm of 6 pages at the beginning took about 70 minutes to go through and by the end of it the time required reduced to about 30 min. The number of words looked-up in the dictionary went from 30 to just 7—8 per page.

So what did I get out of this effort? Well, aside from dramatically improving my Spanish language skills (not too humble, huh?), I also observed and learned a couple of things in the process that I want to share in this post.

First, I affirmed my belief that order and routine don’t make an activity boring and in fact, given the right attitude, they can serve as catalyst to multiply the pleasure. To answer the question I got asked most often by my friends, whether the necessity to read on schedule kills the joy in it, I’d say a flat no. I’ve absolutely enjoyed the masterpiece savoring the tiniest details I would have certainly missed if I read it at a gulp translated to my native language.

Second, I realized that one hour of time is an incredible asset and should be valued higher than any treasure. A couple of times due to unforeseen personal or work matters I deviated from schedule slightly and later tried to catch up. It turned out that it incredibly difficult to do without affecting other things like work or beloved leisure activities. So after catching up with my longest delay of five days I made everything possible to not deviate again.

And lastly, my most important revelation lies in that I understood the power of dedicating morning hours for personal development. I’ve read about this endless number of times, but never discovered the full potential of it. Although I’ve been doing abs exercises and swimming before work for several years now, I haven’t ever tried doing any brain activities at dawn.

During last 83 day my morning regimen looked like this: 5:45 waking up, shower, 6—7 reading, 7—7:30 breakfast, 7:30—8:15 transit to the pool accompanied by an audio lesson or a podcast in Spanish, 8:15—9:15 swimming, 9:15— 0:30 transit to work with stopping by the favorite cafeteria for second breakfast accompanied by another Spanish audio.

Now that I’ve finished the book I can use the 6—7 timeslot for working on whatever other goals I might come up with. In fact, I started calling this period “my precious morning hour” and the watch photo on top of this post captures a moment before this hour begins on one of the days during the challenge.