I had been wanting to start a blog for a very long time. I’d always enjoyed writing and I wanted the world to hear my voice. Blogging was a natural outlet for me.
The problem was that I had been putting it off for as long as possible. I made an endless list of reasons like:
- I had no time.
- I didn’t know how to set up WordPress.
- I didn’t know how to code.
- I didn’t know what to write about.
- I didn’t know how to promote the blog.
The list was endless.
It dragged on for a few years until I moved out of London into the countryside and had to go on a 20-minute commuter train twice a day. During these journeys, I often found myself doing nothing but browsing the web on my phone or playing Angry Birds like most other commuters.
Then it hit me. I essentially had 40 spare minutes every day that was being under-utilized and completely wasted. Why didn’t I just start writing on my phone?
And so on Jan 2nd this year, I crafted my first post on the train and published it that evening.
53 published posts later, my commute has become the most productive time period of my day.
That was when I learnt about The Other 8 Hours (TO8H) concept.
What is TO8H?
In the modern Western societies, our lives are roughly divided into 3 discrete 8-hour segments:
- 8 hours for sleeping
- 8 hours for working and earning a pay cheque
- 8 hours for personal and family times
TO8H refers to the last category, which usually begins after work (5pm for most office workers). Nick Loper from SideHustleSchool actually calls it your “Five To Nine” (even though there are only 4 hours in there, but you get the idea).
What do most people do during TO8H?
I haven’t actually got any imperial evidence of what the population does outside of work, during TO8H. I did ask the following question to as many colleagues and friends as I could and as frequently as possible.
So what did you do after work last night?
The vast majority of answers ranged from the following list:
- I watched TV last night.
- I went out with friends for dinner.
- I went out for drinks with colleagues.
- I went on a date.
- I played on my Xbox.
I do have one friend who worked in a venture capital (VC) firm. Let’s call him Mike. He had always been entrepreneurial from a young age and during his time in the VC firm, he would spend late nights and early mornings to focus on his business idea until eventually, he raised sufficient capital to quit his VC job and started focusing full time on his business.
I’m not in any ways discounting the value or joyfulness of the activities pursued by the vast majority of my friend during TO8H. All of them are essential for the enrichment of our lives. However, if you devote all of that time to what most people would do then by definition you would achieve average results. What Mike did was to focus TO8H on activities not even contemplated by the ordinary populace and hence he achieved extraordinary results.
How TO8H works?
Let’s suppose there are 2 identical persons aged 23. Let’s call them Person A and Person B. They have the same appearance, intelligence, starting jobs and salaries. They are clones of each other.
Person A does 8 hours in the office and leaves. He would then hang out with friends, watch Netflix and play games during the remainder 8 hours and then sleep.
Person B also works 8 hours in the office and sleeps another 8. However, he only spends 7 hours hanging out with friends and watching Netflix. He devotes the other hour to blog writing. Let’s say he’s a slow writer and requires 3 hours to start and finish a post.
After a year has passed, Person A would have become an expert at socializing, gaming and Netflix binging. Person B, however, would have spent 365 hours on blogging and would have published over 120 posts, which is more than sufficient for a decent personal blog.
That’s just 1 hour per day. Imagine what you could achieve with 2, 3 or even 4 hours, let alone 8! There is a book called The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose written by Robert Pagliarini. He detailed the transformative effects of utilizing TO8H effectively on people’s lives.
The key difference is that successful people invest TO8H into something value-creating whereas ordinary people spend it on activities that do not create value.
Why is this important?
If you are an ambitious person by nature then by definition you will want to achieve above-average outcomes. This means you will need to do things very differently to an average person.
Imagine what you could do during TO8H:
- Start a side hustle that is revenue generating
- Improve yourself through selective reading and education
- Take up a hobby and enrich your life
- Invest in your health by staying active and fit
These activities may not be as instantly gratifying as binging on the latest episode on Netflix however they bring enormous benefit in the long run. Given how precious a commodity time is in our lives (it is irreplaceable), what we do with each second will have a profound impact on our journey later on. Our success tomorrow will be the result of the seeds we sowed yesterday, often during TO8H.
How can you find these 8 hours?
When I started my blogging journey, the question that kept cropping up to my mind was where was I going to find the time to continue? I had a demanding job, an above-average commuting time, a busy personal life with an infant, families and the need to stay fit.
However, I managed to find time:
- I used my train journey to draft posts;
- I would edit and publish them after the baby had gone to bed or I rose before everyone else in the house;
- I swapped the subway for cycling during my final mile commute in order to not having to go to the gym every day.
All you have to search for are synergistic time periods, where you could be achieving more than one goal simultaneously.
Some common synergistic time periods include:
- Train/airplane journeys
- Taxi rides
- Housework (with podcasts)
I’m a firm believer in the power of TO8H. I believe the hours we do outside of our day job will define our success in life.
Do you agree? What do you do during TO8H? As usual, please comment away. I would love to hear from you.