Zero time, but non-zero effort

A Zero Time Habit is a new term I’ve been noodling on. In a nut, a Zero Time Habit is a lifestyle practice that takes ZERO time to do and, in return, it gives you back more time / energy.

Shawn Blanc, “Zero Time Habits”

This concept resonates with me. A lot of the time when I think about building habits or doing things better/more in line with my goals and values, I think about how I need to carve out more time for them.

But what if that’s not always the case?

Perfect example from the original post:

Going to bed on time — this gives you back time and energy in the mornings and throughout your day.

I’ve been struggling with this one recently. I’ll explain through a current Taylor Swift TikTok meme: I have this thing—it’s depression.

If I can get myself into bed at a reasonable hour, I can get up feeling more capable. I can focus with less effort. I can do more things without needing to figure out other strategies or using tactics.

But the thing about this is that it may be a zero time habit, but it’s not zero effort. It requires stopping the habits and cycles that lead to staying up late.

That’s the trick part. That’s where the effort comes in.