I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the list I am sharing with you today has changed my life! My home is cleaner, tidier and more organised than it has ever been, my relationships with friends and family are stronger and I feel healthier, calmer and more successful as a person. And all of this has happened through the power of…10 short minutes!
Yes, I am serious.
What is the one thing we have that is limited, totally invaluable and impossible to get back once it’s gone? Time, obviously! Sometimes life can be so busy that it feels impossible to fit any more in. But what we often don’t realise is that amidst all the busyness most of us actually have a lot more free time than we think. It’s just that it’s not always easy to spot because it comes in the form of what I call margin time.
Margin time is the time that fits in between the major time-consuming tasks that make up our day – it literally squeezes in the margins. It may only amount to a few minutes at a time but if you add it all up you often end up with more than you’d think. I challenge you to keep track of your margin time on an average day and see how much you actually have – you might be surprised!
I recently conducted my own little experiment and realised that I nearly always have at least 10 minutes of margin time a day – and I bet you probably do too. I realised I needed to start being intentional with this time so I drew up this list of Five Productive Ways to Spend 10 Minutes. After just a few days of intentionally using my margin time I started to notice a definite improvement in several areas of my life.
5 productive ways to spend 10 minutes:
Until now I always thought keeping my home clean was a never-ending task that I really should be devoting hours and hours to. Then I started setting a 10 minute timer every day and seeing how much housework I could fit into that time. I was amazed. I realised if I just worked as quickly and efficiently as possible I could get most of the day-to-day stuff done in just 10 minutes. As a result our home looks better than ever, I’m not spending my weekends catching up on all the cleaning and I’m coming back from work each day to a tidier home.
Ok, this won’t work if your exercise of choice is a long walk or a distance run, but if you want to improve your general fitness and struggle to find the time you need to start optimising your margin time! There are loads of 7 minute workouts you can find online or as an app that will be effective but will also leave you with enough time for a quick warm up, cool down and stretch all within 10 minutes. I actually really love Kayla Itsines’ Sweat with Kayla app – the workouts are about half an hour but are divided into 7 minute sections that will definitely make you sweat…but you could use whatever works for you!
3.Call someone you love.
Especially someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. When life is crazy it can be so hard to keep in touch with the people we care about and before you know it it’s been months or maybe even years since you’ve caught up with someone you were once really close to. Not everyone has time to Skype for an hour but we can all do a ten minute phone call or at least leave a message. Don’t feel bad about saying ‘I’m sorry, I only have a few minutes but…’ – they’ll probably just be so pleased you were thinking of them!
Do you know what most ultra-successful people have in common? They read. And not just their bank statements – they devote time to reading challenging and inspiring non-fiction books, often centred around self-development. Maybe you’ve been wanting to read the biography of someone who inspires you, or a book that you think will help you manage your finances better, but you just can’t seem to find the motivation to get past the first chapter. It might be because you haven’t yet trained your brain to read effectively for long periods of time. I struggled with this too until I committed to reading for at least ten minutes a day, and I have seen a massive improvement! In 2015 I probably read less than 10 books in the entire year, whereas in just the first half of 2016 I read over 20!
5.Make a list.
Anyone close to me knows that I am the queen of lists, so I was bound to fit this in somewhere – even this post is a list! But seriously, writing lists is a really helpful strategy for organising your life and managing your thoughts. Every day before I leave work I take the time to make a quick list of the tasks I need to complete the following day, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of crossing them off once they’re done. Every evening I also keep track of my life goals and personal progress using a goal tracker in my journal. It should not take any longer than 10 minutes to write a helpful list or two and if it does then you are probably over-thinking it, so be strict with yourself on timing!
So there you have it – five productive ways to spend 10 minutes. Like I said, this has really helped me a lot over the past couple of months so I hope it helps you too!
If it does – or you have any other time-management tips you would like to share – I would love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below so we can all see it. And if you like what you read, please follow my blog using the link on the home page. You can also contact me here and check out my Instagram and Pinterest for more inspiration.
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