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The M Dash

Live with purpose.

What Would You Do With an Extra Hour?

November 02, 2018 | Filed in: Your Brain

Starting today, most of us are “falling back” in time, regaining the hour we lost all the way back in March when Daylight Savings began. The prospect of an extra hour for sleeping, or journaling, or practicing karate, got us thinking—what could we do with an additional hour each day (aside from pursuing the eternally unreachable goal of Inbox Zero)? We asked some of the busiest women we know for their answers.

Showing gratitude:

“If I had an extra hour each day, I’d devote it to appreciating others. I have an endless number of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances who help me in ways massive and small. The thank you notes, helping hands, hugs, and flowers I’d love to send add up quickly, and while I always try to be verbally thankful, I’d love to be more hands-on. Building a business means taking life at a run, and slowing down to really be grateful and make sure others know how much they mean to you can be hard. I can totally picture myself at a treadmill desk, walking a few miles each morning while I sip the perfect latte and send awesome presents and notes to let my people know how much they mean to me. Until then, emoji-laden love texts will have to suffice.”

—Sarah Kunst, Founder and Managing Director at Cleo Capital

A melancholy moment at sunrise:

“Well, all I can say is that I am at that stage in life where sleep comes hard for me. And I need every hour I can scrape up. But if this were not the case, I would get up every morning, minutes before daybreak. I’d watch the sunrise and celebrate this dawn of a dying planet.”

—Kathryn Lasky, Author

Getting physical:

“I’ve always hankered after an alternative career of being a massage therapist. My life as a professor is the opposite of physical—I sit around and read or write books and connect with my students and colleagues on a verbal level. I’ve always loved massages myself and the notion of being able to make someone feel good just by touching them in the right way is terribly appealing. I would use my extra hour to study massage therapy at sunrise on beautiful mornings!”

Susan Napier, Author and Professor of Japanese literature and culture

A morning snooze:

“If I had an extra hour a day I know exactly what I’d use it for: sleeping in! I would use it not for a midday nap, or even to start the evening’s sleep earlier, but to extend my morning. I’d program my phone to have a special 59-minute snooze button and then take a morning nap every day, right after I wake up. I cannot think of anything more decadent, more delicious and frankly badly needed given how healthy sleep is and how often I have to sacrifice it for the greater good, or even just the bottom line. In the evening I can always find an excuse to postpone it, and during the day I can always talk myself out of a nap, but the morning is when I find it most challenging to justify the cruelty of going without. So, yes—a morning nap!”

—Nathalie Molina Nino, CEO at BRAVA Investments and Author of LEAPFROG

Mastering a new skill:

“If I had a hypothetical extra hour that I could NOT use in the ways I currently spend my time—i.e. trying to catch up on emails and deadlines that I’m always behind on—I would just read more. But that’s lame, so for the sake of making my extra hour more interesting, my second choice would be to practice Spanish on Skype. I took Spanish classes in Guatemala earlier this year and have already lost most of what I learned (it’s bad, I know), but if I had an hour with a Spanish partner every day, I know it would come back and gradually improve. Plus, learning a second language is good for your brain! Also, I would practice my tripod headstands so that I don’t kick anyone in the face when I attempt them in yoga class. And maybe, if I had ten minutes left, I’d actually get around to meditating.”

—Charlotte Cowles, Columnist at New York Magazine and M Dash Contributing Editor

Writing with mom:

“I’ve been working on a children’s book with my mom for the past two years. It’s about a bear named Harold Peter who wears a lot of different hats. If I was so lucky to have an extra hour each day, I  would spend that hour with Harold Peter and my mother.”

—Jacqueline Boltik, Co-Founder and CEO of Yellow Brim

With Daylight Savings officially over, we’re looking ahead to winter…and we’ve got something special coming early next week. Keep an eye on your inbox! And in the meantime, shop the latest here.