We all have those long lists of things that we want to do but never seem to have the time for. Come days off, help, or even New Years, and we still don’t make the time for them. One day, when for whatever random reason we decide to pick it up, it takes us a few minutes to complete. We agonized for months over this one errand and it took no time to get it over with.
Browsing through YouTube, I found a video where a user proclaimed to have the cure for procrastination (you can see it here). He always has interesting challenge-type videos, and this one definitely intrigued me. I always have plans but they don’t all materialize like I wish they would. He had a super easy way to get around doing things: time yourself and do it for 10 minutes.
In another piece, I had referred to how timing yourself when doing chores can be really powerful (see that here). I had left it a bit open ended to whatever time you had available. Having a set limit of ten minutes makes me have the same rule for all items on my planner. It doesn’t have to be ten; it could be less, but I find that ten gives me enough time to accomplish a quantifiable amount of the errand.
With this rule, I have been able to do the following:
- Finish and continuously read books (in plural!)
- Keep the kitchen picked up
- Clean after work and while tired
- Disinfect hand-reaching parts of the whole house (with two minutes to spare!)
- Write for the blog
- Exercise regularly
These are the things I want to get done next:
- Write memories in our baby book
- Control screen time
- Reach out to people I haven’t talked to in a bit.
You see, these are all super simple items. Yet in real life, which includes work, house, family, hunger, and tiredness, at the least, it is very easy to say that we don’t have the energy for anything but potatoing on the couch. With an item in mind, I tell myself “but it’s only ten minutes. You can easily spend that getting ready in the morning. You won’t even feel it.” And friends, I believe it because it’s true.
In our minds getting something done can be a huge elephant that we have to tackle when all we have to do is beat the potato sitting on us. What happens to our dreams? What happens to our environment? What about our friends? Do we just accept turning into a puddle of screens or a piece of that silver tape on our couch that will not budge? It’s not worth it. These mindless activities just cause emptiness and blend our free time away. Again, it’s not worth it. By shifting just a little bit we can move the potato off its position and gain some momentum. Potatoes aren’t particularly heavy.
This is the best part: my perspective on how much I can do without feeling overwhelmed has been changed. If I can get multiple ten-minute sections throughout the day, and invest them into my family, dreams, responsibilities, friends, and community, wouldn’t I be on my way to something simply great? The more I accomplish the more powerful I feel, leading to me accomplishing more. I don’t want to pitch this as the solution for life, but as an easy way to stop going down the long-winded spiral of laziness that can drive us to a paralysis in a hole of disappointment.
Do what you want and not what the potato tells you to do. Just trust me on this one and take the time. It’s only 10 minutes.