Precious Little Chunks of Time

dreamstime_2243940-01.jpg"You can do so much in ten minutes time. Ten minutes, once gone, are gone for good. Divide your life into ten minute units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activity."

Ingvar Kamprad, Founder of IKEA

Sage advice from the man who bought us the Bratnok and founded the warehouses  where so many have totally lost it and dissolved into expletive uttering wrecks, while franticly cramming glassware and cutlery into giant paper bags.

But my IKEA traumas aside - Mr Kamprad makes a very valuable point. Often we shy away from doing things we know will benefit us greatly  because we feel they require time we can’t spare. So we sit and mull over it and do nothing for a few minutes instead!

There’s a lot you can do in ten minutes to improve the quality of your day

You can:

Take a walk: 10 minutes of energy walking is better than 10 minutes spent lamenting that you don’t feel fit and you can’t fit an hour’s walk into your day. If you walk for 10 minutes every day, you’ll have done over an hours walk anyway. I know the experts say, you need x amount of time for it to do any good but I can’t walk for more than 10 minutes at a time anyway. So I say my 10 minutes counts!

Have you got time to sit for an hour a day? It may please you to know that in just 10 minutes a day you can make a significant difference to your stress and cortisone levels. In that short and easily accommodated period of time you can practice the Counting Breaths Meditation, or the Qi Gong Healing Energy Meditation, or you can just sit quietly and focus on deepening and lengthening your breath.

If you do this twice a day, perhaps morning and night, you will develop a solid self-health practice of meditating for 20 minutes a day. Within a couple of weeks you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

Read to a child: 10 minutes time spent reading is top quality time. When I went to stay with my sister-in-law recently, I’d find four eager listeners waiting for me on my bed every night. I read them tales of Lord Krishna and His forest animal friends and we all settled down to sleep feeling very calm and content.

Journal: Writing in a journal is a great way to de-clutter your mind. By getting thoughts outside your head and on the page, you can gain control and perspective over your internal perceptions. It’s an act of awareness and introspection that can be very valuable. 10 minutes is enough time to start effectively reflecting on the page, and no-one said you have to stop if you want to write more!

Wash your worries away: Water is cleaning to the body and to the mind. 10 minutes is plenty long enough for a good shower. You can make that a meditation too by imagining the water washing away any negative moods, bad news you heard, nasty comments, stress, tensions - take you pick. In 10 minutes you can feel physically and mentally squeaky clean and relaxed.

Ten Minute Household Task Management

And for the bigger tasks getting started is the key. If you want to thoroughly clean an area of your home, set a timer for ten minutes and make a start, it’s surprising how much you can get done in ten minutes, and once the time is up you have two options:

1. Carry on and get it finished - after all you’re over the worst of it by making a good start.

2. Take a break and resolve to invest another 10 minutes in the near future

During the days where I’m challenged by my health I have to be careful not to complete one thing and then get overwhelmed by what’s left to do. It seems that as soon as I clean something everything else that needs doing starts dancing in front of my eyes. But if I do it all, I know that will be my lot for a while. So for me, little ten minute chunks are the key.

Ten minutes on the dishes, take a break.
Ten minutes cleaning the floor - break time.
Cleaning the hob - you get the picture.

The Ten Minute Bypass for Writers Block

There are a couple of great writing systems around that advocate writing in ten minute chunks. To commit to sitting and writing for an hour can feel like an uncomfortable “I really should sit down and write” experience. But writing in ten minute bursts is an easy way to get started and beat the block.

There’s a great tool called FlexTime that, as stated on the website, can be  used to: “Schedule regular breaks. Practice yoga, tai chi, or dance. Combat attention disorders. Follow a recipe. Meditate. Remember the laundry!”

I sometimes use it for my ten minute writing exercises and I find it very useful. How long did it take me to write this? I’ve absolutely no idea, but I know it took me 10 minutes to start, and unless I start, I tend not to finish. 

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