What Can You Do in 10 Minutes?

In an effort to alleviate at least the physical crux portion of my discomfort zone, I changed up my work schedule. Before, I'd force myself through two or three hours before talking a break. Only far too often, that "break" was still spent at the computer: paying bills, checking emails and whatnot. Always the damned whatnot.

And then I wonder why I'm so sore and miserable at the end of my 10-12 hour day.

My new schedule is to work for an hour, then leave the computer for at least 10 minutes before returning to work. In that 10 minutes, I have to find things to do. Things that are not computery things. And I set my timer so I don't get distracted; 10 minutes bloats out to an hour a lot faster than you'd expect.

I started small:
  • Dump out my clean laundry on the bed; start folding. 
  • Chop potatoes and onions to cook up in a big batch for breakfasts during the week. 
  • Sweep up gross dog hair. 
  • Clean the bathroom. 
And before I knew it, a bunch of stuff that regularly gets pushed to the back burner is actually taken care of. My kitchen is cleaner. My desk is more organized. Little nagging projects I never found time to take care of are getting completed. 

Slowly. In 10-minute segments. But getting there. 

The most interesting thing about this (besides the fact that my neck pain is actually tolerable now, even if not entirely resolved) is learning just how much I can accomplish in 10 minute chunks.

It's so easy to put stuff off until I have time for this or time for that. I keep wanting a week off to just write my own stuff and work on art projects. Catch up on movies. And I think society trains us to think this way, too-- how much more do you hear about planning for your retirement compared to making your life work for you right now? There's so much emphasis put on work first and other stuff later. But I don't want to wait till I'm 65 to do cool stuff.  

And I'm not getting a week off anytime soon to just indulge in the things I actually want to do. I have to make room for them right now. In among everything else. And these 10 minute breaks give me the perfect opportunity.

Life is never going to go on hold so you can live your "real" life. This is it. You're already living it. If you want your right-now life to evolve into your ideal life, you'll have to carve enough room out of your day for a good foothold, then launch yourself toward that ideal. Even 10 minutes can be enough.

  • First 10 minute break: Set up a canvas, some clean water, some brushes.
  • Next 10 minute break: Mix a glaze; brush a coat on.
  • 10 minute break after that: Work on NaNo outline... in longhand.
  • The following 10 minute break: Find my journal. Write until my timer goes off.

In the few days I've been doing this schedule, I can't believe how much more I'm getting done-- and how many more of the things I am doing are the exact things I am always irritated at not having enough time for.

Turns out, there is time. Even if it's only 10 minutes.

What can you do in 10 minutes?


  1. Genius!!

    And the part about not wanting to wait until you're 65 to retire and do cool stuff? I'm looking at waiting until I'm, like, 95... So I REALLY want to do cool, awesome, valuable stuff NOW!

    10 minutes? Seriously. Mind. Blown.

    1. Yeah, 95 is my projected "retirement" age also. Even more essential to make the most out of those 10 minute moments!