10 minutes to …

One of my favourite sayings is “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time“. I would never eat an elephant or promote others to do so. But some times I feel the need to tackle the big things that come my way by breaking down to manageable bites.

In January I have been working on a new system for myself of a series of 10 minute bites out of my day. Basically how it works is I build several 10 minute slots into my day. The alarm goes off on my phone and no matter what room I’m in I have to stop what I’m doing and follow the 10 minute prompt.

I chose things to focus on that would fit into my life. And specifically things that I needed to work on like exercise and organization of the home.

When the exercise alarm goes I drop everything and I either hop on the bike or do some muscle work. I grab some weights, which I have stashed all over the house, and do 10 minutes of exercise three times a day. This does not include my regularly scheduled yoga in the morning or my half hour of cardio after the family have gone to school and work for the day. Yoga helps me with my Parkinson’s first thing in the morning. I wake up stiff.

Those little exercise breaks don’t just help me physically but they get the neurones firing. A welcome boost when I’m starting to fade mid day. And because I only have 10 minutes I give it good focus.

Once a day the alarm goes for another 10 minute interval and in this instance it’s decluttering. So again whatever room I am in when the alarm goes, I stop what I’m doing and I find a drawer or a cupboard or a basket or something that needs organizing and decluttering. This week I have managed to attack 12 drawers. Five in my kitchen, apparently I spent a lot of time there. Three in my bathroom and my daughters entire dresser. Since I started writing this I’ve also done a small closet and my purse. Small bites.

I’ve managed to get rid of useless kitchen tools. Ratty tea towels and dish cloths have been relegated to the craft room to be used for paint clean up. All the clothes that my daughter outgrew or won’t wear again are nicely folded in a bag and ready to be brought to the thrift store.

Another 10 minutes at around 2 PM I’m usually waiting in the car to pick up my daughter from school. I like to take that 10 minutes and close my eyes and rest. I don’t fall asleep, often, but I rest my brain and I rest my eyes and I rest my body and just relax. 10 minutes for myself before the children all return from school and my time is not my own again. This is probably my favourite 10 minute alarm of the day. In fact I always make sure that I’m right on time for 2o’clock to be parked at the school.

I can’t say enough about how well this is working for me. Yes sometimes the alarm can be annoying. Like when I’m on the phone with the doctors office or the school and it’s reminding me of what I need to do. But for the most part I spend a lot of time alone and in quiet surroundings. I work from home. Which means I’m always at work. So forced 10 minute breaks to exercise or do other things to relieve my brain is more often a welcome part of my day.

In February I’m going to add an alarm to remind myself to read and write . I think I’m also going to build some kind of schedule in my calendar. It’s so easy as a stay at home mom to get distracted by so many things. If I’m going to have to stop and do something else I might as well choose exactly those things that I would find bring me joy.

I can just see the possibilities of a schedule for things like spending time with each of my children separately. Or scheduling in a regular date night with my husband because… We have three children! Or a dedicated hour for scrapbooking. Can you see a theme here? It’s all about making myself happy and doing the things I love. Tackling life in little bites. It’s satisfying.

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