How did life become so full? How did it get to the point where we feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do anything really really well?
We have become expert multi-taskers (which, by the way, apparently makes your brain smaller) but in the process we aren’t giving our full selves to any one moment. And we can blame many things: technology, economy, our ever-increasing ability to have and do more, but unless we do something different, nothing will change (tweet that).
We can’t buy more time, yet we hoard every “time-saving tool” possible in the hope we will gain just a few extra minutes.
We really just want room to breathe, to stop and say, this is what I need right now.
Sometimes I feel stretched in so many different ways. I wish I had a pause button for all the things I’d like to give my full attention to but can’t in the right here, right now. Like when my son needs help with his homework, but my daughter needs to get to soccer practice, and the dinner needs to be made, and the house needs cleaning, and I still haven’t done any writing today. I can blame the world, but it’s within my capability to hit the pause button at any time.
15 Minutes a day
I wrote a post a while back called How To Do Busy Well, in which I outlined five helpful steps for when life becomes overwhelmingly busy. But today I want to give you another perspective on time, one that has helped me make writing a part of my daily life. It has also helped me to feel like I am building something worthwhile and making valuable use of not every moment, but blocks of time that I choose to make room for in my life.
Did you know that in just 15 minutes per day you can write a 300-page book in around one year? It’s true. Now, it may well take another year of 15 minutes per day to edit, re-edit and finally publish the thing, but that’s by the by. The point is, you could still be procrastinating about writing that book two years later.
In 15 minutes per day you can also journal your way to an emotionally balanced life (yet another scientific finding). Since I made the time to intentionally journal for a minimum of 15 minutes early in the morning, I am far more self-aware. I also begin my day with a much brighter outlook because within that journaling time I always make a gratitude list. And on the days when that time slot isn’t available, I miss it and notice a difference in my morning mood.
I think we make room in our lives for the things that truly matter to us. But to really give to those things (or people) we have to push aside the rest of the clutter (tweet that). Being intentional about focusing our attention on one thing for just a small amount of time makes a huge difference in the long term.
We tend to think that small blocks of time simply aren’t enough, that if we’re going to give our attention to something, we need to devote a lengthy period of time to it. But that’s not the case. 15 minutes of focused time will often turn into more. And if we begin by taking off the pressure, by saying I’m willing to do this for just a short amount of time each day, it becomes manageable.
I discovered this for myself with journaling. I once thought it was something I simply didn’t have room for. That there couldn’t possibly be any more space in this packed full life. But I didn’t need to make more room, I needed to prioritize. And I needed to realize that a small change amounts to a large change over time.
I found the same thing when I decided it was important to me to devote more time to reading. I didn’t have a specific reading time, so I decided to start buying books on Audible and use my 20-minute drive to school each day to listen to a book. It’s not much, but I’ve read (*listened to*) 15 more books than I would have done had I not been intentional about that time.
So today I’m inviting you to find a 15 minute block of time. Whether that means waking a little earlier, watching less T.V. or removing some of the clutter from your schedule. What could that 15 minutes a day look like for you? Perhaps it may mean the beginnings of a book, journaling time, meditation, or anything else you just “never get around to.”
I’d love to hear, what will you do with your 15 minutes?
Image by Dina Stoddard of Klutch Photography