As another New Year’s Eve looms over us many will reflect back over the past year evaluating the good, the bad and the ugly of 2015. The majority of the population will come up with a New Year’s resolution. For most people that resolution usually has to do with some type of self improvement. Been there, tried that, failed. As educators we frequently remind our students that failing is OK. We tell them that as long as they’re failing forward and learning from the experience that all will be well. We post on our walls: F.A.I.L.= First Attempt In Learning. But let’s be honest here, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions I venture to guess that the majority of people out there fail at keeping their resolutions and when they fail there is little to no movement forward. I for one, am definitely in this category. So am I going to stop making resolutions? No! I have another plan and hopefully it is one that will stick. My resolution this year is empower myself with The Power of 10 Minutes!
How many times have you found yourself wishing you had more hours in the day or commenting that you didn’t have enough time to accomplish everything that you want to get done. Life can be a juggling act. There are so many things we have to do; houses to clean, lawns to mow, children to tend, shopping to do, lessons to plan for… And then there are all those other things that aren’t essential but that we want to accomplish; books to be read, closets to be sorted, classes to take, blogs to write, gyms to join, and on and on. So how does the average human being cope? This is what happens to me. Either I tend only to the essentials, which leaves me feeling like a slave to my own life, or I pretend I can do it all and end up so stressed out that I can’t even enjoy what I’ve done. (Not to mention the fact that my spouse claims I’m miserable when attempting to “do all, be all!”)
So how can this be fixed?
By giving ourselves The Power of 10 Minutes.
10 minutes This is all we need to set in motion a plan that we can stick to. The essentials in our life are essential and will get done one way or another. It’s those other things we want to accomplish in life that always seem to get pushed to the back burner. And it’s for that reason that those other things are what we should focus our 10 minutes on.
How does it work? -Spend 10 minutes at least 5 days/week working on something you want to accomplish – not an essential but one of those things that always get pushed to the back burner.
-You do not need to work on the same thing 2 days in a row. For me this then feels like too much of a chore. I prefer to pick and choose where to focus my 10 minutes.
That’s it! Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Some of you reading this may think that nothing of use can be accomplished in 10 minutes but I will argue you on that point. Over the course of 1 month your 10 minutes will add up to ~4 hours, over the course of a year that totals 48 hours. That means you’ve found the equivalent of 2 full days and nights to work on those non-essentials and all it required was you setting aside 10 minutes a day. Imagine what you could accomplish with all that time!
Ideas for how to spend your 10 minutes:
Sort through e-mail – delete, file, respond, unsubscribe from lists
Read4Fun – let yourself get lost in a book
Exercise – go for a brisk walk, jump on your bike, play tag with your kids
Head to the basement/attic – decide what is worth keeping (seasonal decorations, sentimental items etc), what is worth donating then toss the rest. Get nice storage bins to help keep you organized.
Go through your closet – give away anything that no longer fits or you haven’t worn in 5 years
Sort your kitchen cupboards – do you really use everything you have? Can things be donated to a local charity?
Blog – been meaning to write more but never have the time? Pick one day to spend your 10 minutes writing.
Get Creative – what have you always wanted to try but never seem to have the time for? Drawing, painting, gardening, dancing, sculpting, hiking etc.
So in conclusion I challenge you to use the Power of 10 Minutes to start tackling all those things in your life that you didn’t think you had time for. If you stick with it you will soon find yourself accomplishing more than you ever dreamed possible.
On your mark, get set, go!
The Optimistic Educator…