15 Minutes to Awesome!

I am ambitious.  I procrastinate.  I think I am pretty normal in both of those assertions.

What am I on about today?  Well, often one reads about a way to keep the house clean, workout, eat better, do whatever in just 15 minutes a day, and I think to myself, ‘I can do that, it’s only 15 minutes!’

With gleeful abandon I schedule that simple 15 minutes into my day and like magic, things happen!  My home is cleaner or my exercise regimen is on track or I prep all my veg for the week.  But with each additional 15 minute hack, something else happens:  a subtle and then crushing sense of feeling overwhelmed and guilty.

If you are like me, you have some combination of your 15 minute tasks that get done daily.  If I have more than three or four 15 minutes tasks though, it’s still only three or four accomplished by the end of the day.

It makes sense too, when the practice is evaluated critically:

  1. 15 minute tasks never really take 15 minutes, it’s typically more.
  2. Transition time is at least five minutes, in other words, I can’t go from cleaning the house to doing art to working in the garden without transitions to get the materials for each task and then putting them away.
  3. The most rewarding tasks take more than 15 minutes and I allow myself more time for those, I can’t stop!

So say I do four 15 minute tasks per day, that’s a minimum of an hour, but realistically, with ADHD and transitions in consideration, it’s likely at least 90 minutes.  So you might say, ‘I have 90 minutes each day,’ and you are likely right.  You likely don’t have more than that though.

That is the space where I consistently struggle, and I don’t think I’m alone.  It is that sort of existential dilemma wherein I know my life is more than work, that humans are not meant to work like we do in our modern era.

It is no wonder to me that anxiety and depression are more common than not and substance abuse is a championed means of escape for many.  I know that well-care is key and I use my 15 minute tasks as band-aids for to meet my personal values and make my life as meaningful as possible.

The moral of this story:  honor yourself and your values, don’t bite off more than you can chew, don’t beat up on yourself for not getting it all done and take those 15 minutes to make your life better!  Love the hell out of each minute and let it nourish you.

Marie Wheeler