How to claim back your life, before starting work

September light

After dropping off my son with his childminder I reckoned I had about 45 minutes spare before the 9am clock on.

I was wearing a pair of shorts that were too big and baggy, t shirt and hoodie, old socks and barefoot shoes.

The bike was wet from rain but after using a tissue to wipe the saddle I was ready.

I only took one photo, because then my phone battery died, but never mind.

James Altucher talks about his 1% rule, which is to say that if you just try to improve by 1% a day on things you want to do, then after a year you'll be miles ahead. This rule encourages you to just do something even if it's tiny. By only looking for 1% you take away the excuses to avoid doing what you really need to do.

For me, I needed to remind myself that I can control and change things and I can work towards my goal.

I wanted to get some exercise, clear my worries and remind myself that I can choose to go on my bike and not let my job control my morning before work, as well as the whole day.

So off I went.

Instead of starting work with a head full of TV news or twitter trivia, this is what I could think back on that day...

Cool wind in my face and a beautiful early autumnal blue sky. The wind was still. As I crossed a little bridge I heard geese honking as they flew to their feeding grounds. I looked up and saw a beautiful moon still visible in the sky.

The air smelled of dew and late meadow flowers, as the area that I cycled through is a nature reserve with grass that is left late before cutting.

Turning into a country lane I then sped past the Manchester Ship Canal. It was mirror flat with the odd swan sitting quietly. Passing along the road I was joined by a swallow picking his breakfast out of the air in preparation to return to Africa.

On the route back, I slowed down to just enjoy the feeling of being out in the real world, alone but not lonely, part of it all and just content to be alive.

As I arrived home, I checked my watch. 8.45am. Just enough time to put on the kettle for coffee, and hit the shower.

By 9am I was at my desk.

Now job, you would have me for a while, but in my head I'd already tasted freedom this day and done something for me!

So, here's my challenge dear reader. Tomorrow, see what you can do for yourself to just claim back 1% of your life before or after work. Let me know what you did in the comments and good luck!