A friend of mine sent me an article a few days ago. It’s called “The 15-Minute Rule”, by Hanna Brencher, guest posting for Becoming Minimalist (which I think I’ll be checking out quite regularly!).
During the work week I don’t spend much time reading things that come my way online. If anything, I barely scan them. But Shamima doesn’t send me a ton of things, so I figured if she sent it to me, chances are I would find it interesting. So today, as the day was falling quietly away and evening was sinking in, I though I’d take a few minutes to check it out.
Not surprisingly, Shamima was correct. That post is right up my alley.
I love the idea of shifting gears and walking into a new year. I love the possibility of a fresh calendar. But I am overwhelmed by all the things I want to do, and all the things I think I can magically begin, just because January 1 arrives at the front of the calendar.Hanna Brencher
It’s been years – perhaps even decades since I’ve been a “resolutionist” at the end or beginning of each year. I do consider and think about things I want to accomplish and do, but doing that isn’t affiliated with a particular date on the calendar. (The only recent exception being when I ridiculously decided to do 50 new things under 50 different categories during my 50th year – in case you haven’t done math in a while, that would have been 2,500 different things in a year…but that’s a post for a different day…)
Me, if have an a-ha moment about something and feel that I want to commit to it, then I do it as the moment occurs.
But I get it that for a lot of people the whole new year / new me thing could be appealing. And, to me, as long as such resolutions are well thought out and considered, then it doesn’t matter when they are taken on.
Anyhoooooooooo… I’m digressing slightly.
We (for some reason) seem to think that in order to accomplish something we either have to a) accomplish it fully in one sitting or b) have huge chunks of time to dedicate to it at a time.
The reality is that we don’t.
This isn’t new news, but it’s definitely something I/we need to be reminded of from time to time. After all, accomplishing a small thing is better than accomplishing no thing (space intended). (How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Not that I’m advocating the eating of elephants! 🙂 )
Hanna has committed herself to 15-minute chunks of time.
15-minutes is very likely quite do-able for the vast majority of us.
But for many of us it could induce a near-paralytic panic attack.
For some people (I’m thinking super busy parents, for example) even 15 minutes might seem impossible. I remember my friends, when they had little kids, being excited to even get to go to the bathroom by themselves. That minute or two constituted a huge accomplishment. I don’t think they’d have seen 15 minutes as an achievable amount of time. Not at the start of this sort of habit, at any rate.
So, if that’s the case for you, perhaps even a smaller chunk of time would be more appropriate. Maybe pick the thing you want to do and set the time for 5 minutes – or even 1 minute! Hey…it’s your time – make of it what you want it to be!
We’ll never find the time. We have to make it and we have to decide that even the smallest actions are going to matter, they’re going to stack up and contribute to much bigger victories ahead.Hanna Brencher
I also really liked how Hanna talked about using things we already have.
I’m NOT a minimalist by any stretch, and when it comes to my craft supplies… well, let’s just say I might have a problem. I definitely need to have a bit of an intervention with myself when it comes to that. I mean, even as I type this, part of my brain is trying to convince me that I “need” the box of new supplies that arrived earlier this week and the list I already have compiled of things I still want to get because I’ve seen them used in umpteen YouTube card-making videos.
Even as I work through that, though, I have been making myself pull out some things that I haven’t used in years. I’ve been making cards with all those scraps of paper that all card makers have “because I might need them someday”. Well, I made “someday” come to town and used them!
You don’t need to add more to your already full life. You don’t need to make big investments or buy fancy gadgets to make progress. You just need to clear the space, maybe just for 15 minutes. You just need to start right where you are with what you already have.Hanna Brencher
I also have a lot of books on my shelves that I haven’t read or haven’t finished. I could tell you of 4 right off the top of my head that I’m at various stages of reading. I keep saying, “Oh yeah…. I gotta finish that book.” And then I think, “Oh hey! I should buy so-and-so’s new book!”
My rule now is no new books until I finish all the ones I currently have. I will then need to give away those that I am not likely to read again. (I have one tall bookshelf for my books and have given myself a rule that I can’t have more books than fit on those shelves.)
Anyway…For me it’s books and crafts. For you it could be something else. Hanna provides examples like cleaning out a cupboard, writing a book, call and make a doctor’s (or other) appointment, etc.
She also suggests that it might not happen every day.
That’s what’s great about this. It’s not a required prescription. Maybe your first 15 minutes (or 5 minutes or 1 minute) can be spent thinking about the thing(s) you would like to do in that time. And the next set can be looking at your calendar (realistically!) to decide when you will do it. (Set yourself up for success, not for failure!)
It’s about you doing things that you need or want to do; not about what someone else tells you you need to do and how long you should spend at it.
As Hanna says (emphasis added):
It doesn’t need to happen every single day. It’s not about getting the 15-minutes down perfectly. It’s about deciding to show up and put something that matters at the forefront for just a moment in your day.Hanna Brencher
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