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✦ ✦ Unlabelled ✦ How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day

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Well, you of the minority, let us assume that the intensity of your daily
money-getting will not allow you to carry out quite all the suggestions
I admit
that you may not be able to use the time spent on the journey home at
night; but the suggestion for the journey to the office in the morning is
as practicable for you as for anybody. And that weekly interval of forty
hours, from Saturday to Monday, is yours just as much as the other
man’s, though a slight accumulati on of fatigue may prevent you from
employing the whole of your “h.p.” upon it. There remains, then, the
important portion of the three or more evenings a week. You tell me
flatly that you are too tired to do anything outside your programme at
night. In reply to which I tell you flatly that if your ordinary day’s work
is thus exhausting, then the balance of your life is wrong and must be
adjusted. A man’s powers ought not to be monopolised by his ordinary
day’s work. What, then, is to be done?
The obvious thing to do is to circumvent your ardour for your ordinary
day’s work by a ruse. Employ your engines in something beyond the
programme before, and not after, yo u employ them on the programme
itself. Briefly, get up earlier in th e morning. You say you cannot. You
say it is impossible for you to go earlier to bed of a night—to do so
would upset the entire household. I do not think it is quite impossible
to go to bed earlier at ni ght. I think that if you persist in rising earlier,
and the consequence is insufficiency of sleep, you will soon find a way
of going to bed earlier. But my impression is that the consequences of
rising earlier will not be an insufficiency of sleep.

Rise an hour, an hour and a half, or even two hours earlier; and—if you
must—retire earlier when you can. In the matter of exceeding
programmes, you will accomplish as much in one morning hour as in
two evening hours. “But,” you say, “I couldn’t begin without some food,
and servants.” Surely, my dear sir, in an age when an excellent spirit-
lamp (including a saucepan) can be bought for less than a shilling, you
are not going to allow your high est welfare to depend upon the
precarious immediate co-operation of a fellow creature! Instruct the
fellow creature, whoever she may be, at night. Tell her to put a tray in a
suitable position over night. On that tray two biscuits, a cup and
saucer, a box of matches and a spirit-lamp; on the lamp, the saucepan;
on the saucepan, the lid— but tu rned the wrong way up; on the
reversed lid, the small teapot, containing a minute quantity of tea leaves.
You will then have to strike a match—that is all. In three minutes the
water boils, and you pour it into the teapot (which is already warm). In
three more minutes the tea is infused. You can begin your day while
drinking it. These details may seem trivial to the foolish, but to the
thoughtful they will not seem trivial. The proper, wise balancing of
one’s whole life may depend upon the feasibility of a cup of tea at an
unusual hour.


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