Note: I originally wrote this piece back in 2015, but never hit publish. But it's here now...
After dropping off my son with his childminder I reckoned I had about 45 minutes spare before the 9.00am clock on.
I was wearing a pair of shorts 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% per day on things you want to do, then after a year you'll be miles ahead. This rule encourages you to do something even if it's tiny. By only looking for a 1% improvement or gain 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 anger and trivia, this is what I can think back on today...
Cool wind in my face and a beautiful early autumnal blue sky. The wind was still. As I crossed a little bridge I heard Canada Geese honking as they flew to their feeding grounds in a classic 'V'. 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 I cycled through is a nature reserve with grass that is left to grow wild 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 simply 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 9.00am I was at my desk. Now job you have me for a while, but in my head I've already tasted freedom today and done something for me.
So, here's my challenge dear reader. Over the next week, see what you can do yourself to claim back an easy 1% of your life before or after work. Let me know what you did in the comments and good luck!