Several years ago, I realized that a ritual had crept into my morning hair-combing routine. This added activity was inconsequential, not contributing in any way to my final appearance, yet morning after morning, I persisted in this needless habit.
It took only a few seconds and eliminating it did not substantially increase my free time each day — I calculated that time I freed up through the elimination of this habit garnered me an extra 30 minutes per year.
Recently, I noticed another time-wasting habit relating to brushing my teeth. For some reason, I would wet my toothbrush, apply the toothpaste, and then wet the paste, before brushing. Why? I don’t know. It’s not in the instructions — in fact, the instructions don’t even say to use a toothbrush.
I eliminated the initial application of water on the brush with no discernible change in the teeth-cleaning experience. Removing the second hydration only slightly changed the initial feel of toothpaste in my mouth, but likewise did not detract from the final outcome.
However, this has been a hard habit to break.
First, I would catch myself after it was too late. Within a week, I would stop myself after turning on the water, but before inserting the toothbrush into the water. The next phase was catching myself as my hand moved towards the faucet.
Now after a month of effort, the first application of water has been successfully stopped, but avoiding the second time still requires some effort.
It is well worth it, however, because once I have successfully broken this habit, I will gain an extra two hours of free time a year.
Now, if I could just identify a bigger needless habit, then I would really gain some free time.