What would you do with 15 spare minutes? Would you go on Facebook and see what your friends are up to? Check email and read through all the ads? Fold a load of laundry? Vacuum? Weed the garden?
The possibilities of how to spend 15 minutes are endless. And that’s the problem we face every day. We have 96 opportunities every day to choose how to spend 15 minutes. But we often find more than 96 options in front of us. So we say we don’t have enough time.
Recently I’ve found what I mean when I say I don’t have enough time is that I haven’t taken time today for what I most wanted to do. I’ve made choices for those 96 slots that don’t reflect what’s important to me. Instead I’ve done what was urgent or what others wanted or needed me to do. Or what I thought others would want me to do.
I didn’t do what I most desired to do.
How do I know this is the case? I know because on the days where I take even 15 minutes to do one thing that matters, I feel okay about the other 95 times I haven’t. But when I neglect the one thing, I feel robbed. It leaves my spirit impoverished.
It’s easy to say I’m too busy. And it may seem so. When I account for the non-negotiables, my 96 open slots begin to fill quickly. Sleep should take at least 24 slots at a minimum. Which leaves me with 72. I need to eat three times a day and take care of basic hygiene. That can account for a minimum of 8 to 10 more, so I’m down to 62. Then there are the basics of caring for my family – knock off at least 12 more. Only 50 left.
But wait, it seems like I have so little time and yet I have 50 chances to take 15 minutes for what matters. Why then is it so hard? It’s because I’ve made choices and commitments 50 times (or fewer, if I offer up larger chunks of time).
Time is the global equalizer. We all have the same amount each day – no more, no less. But some are richer in time than others because of how they choose to spend it.
Today I am rich because I’m choosing to spent time in valuable ways – 15 minutes at a time. Today I’ve cuddled a child, worked on a puzzle, written this blog post. And I plan to spend 15 minutes writing a note to encourage a friend. The rest of my 96 slots will likely disappear to the regular duties of the day – laundry, errands, email. But since I’ve allocated and spent some of them on these important things, the other times won’t be wasted.
How about you? What valuable pursuits get pushed aside for the disposable duties and demands of your life? What can you avoid or leave undone to free up 15 minutes? And what will you do with that precious 15-minute slot?
Photo credit: "Clock" by kojotomoto on Flickr made available under CC license
Sharing Mother's DayMay
Sharing Mother’s Day – An Obligation or Celebration?
For moms, Mother’s Day can be laden with expectation. We expect to be pampered and coddled – breakfast in bed, a trip to the spa, dinner at a fancy restaurant. But what we don’t expect is to be lost in all the craziness of family obligations. Yet for some women with family living nearby (or within a few hours’ drive), or for moms with blended families, Mother’s Day can become anything but a day of pampering.
If this is you and you’re already dreading the second Sunday in May, let me give you a few tips that can help you survive (and possibly find celebration):
• Recognize your expectations. If every year your family follows the same disappointing script, recognize what’s not working about it for you. If you’re hoping for breakfast in bed, but that never happens because your mother-in-law insists on a family brunch, note what it is that you miss. Maybe it’s sleeping in. Or maybe it’s alone time snuggled in bed with your kids. Take time to parse out the underlying needs or emotions.
• Share your desires. Perhaps your husband would be willing to initiate changes on your behalf but he doesn’t know what you want. Tell him. Give him the opportunity to please you.
• Reframe your concept of Mother’s Day. Maybe your family won’t budge. Sometimes tradition is tradition and there’s no changing. Instead of thinking of what you wish Mother’s Day would be, accept it for what it is – a day to honor the generation of mothers ahead of you, or a day for your stepkids to honor their mom.
• Grieve the loss. If you know you’ll never get the Mother’s Day you crave, acknowledge your sadness. Mourn for what you’re missing. Mourn and then move on.
• Start your own tradition. So Mother’s Day isn’t about you. How about asking your husband and children to honor you on a different day. Call it “Mom’s Day” and tell them how you’d like to celebrate. Then put that day on the calendar. Ask your kids to intentionally hold back any gifts or celebration for you on the second Sunday in May so that special your day gets it all.
Observing special days doesn’t always happen perfectly. But taking the opportunity in advance to decide how we’re going to view the day can go a long way to improving our experience. If you’re a mom faced with recognizing someone else’s Mother’s Day instead of your own, think about what you’ll do to make this year different. You may find the result to be something worth celebrating!
Choice as an Action, Not a ReactionMarch
I read an excellent guest post by Mary DeMuth today over on Michael Hyatt's blog. In it she talks about being motivated by fear (stemming often from our past) versus being motivated by a future-facing goal. I find a lot of wisdom in her words. You can read what she said here.
How about you? Have you made a decision that you're finding you can't sustain? Consider your frame of mind in making the decision. If it's still a worthwhile pursuit, maybe all you need to do is reframe your focus for that decision. Face the future with it and decide again that it's an action worth taking. Remove it from being a reaction and see if it gives you a renewed sense of purpose.
Treasure and Valentine's DayFebruary
The other day one of my daughters asked me what my husband and I would be doing for Valentine's Day. I gave her a blank look. Frankly I hadn't thought about it yet. And even more frankly, we haven't ever really made a big deal out of celebrating Valentine's Day. Which got me thinking about why we don't and how we could do better. We don't mostly out of objection for the consumer culture that has arisen around it. Valentine's Day these days seems to be more about cards and candy and flowers and jewelry than it does about actually showing love. It means going out for a special dinner and giving (and receiving) fancy gifts. All of that is supposed to convey to our beloved how we feel. And guess what? For some people it does just that.
But if you know me, you know my strongest objection to culturally prescribed events such as Valentine's Day is the sense of obligation that comes with them. We're left to wonder if all those gifts and flowers were given on February 14th just because of the date on the calendar. So how do we overcome this? By conveying to those we love what we treasure about them. Tell them what makes them special to us - and not just the things they do for us that we appreciate, but what it is about who they are that makes them valuable to us. Whether we speak it aloud, write it in a card, convey it through a hug, or ladle it into a meal - our intentions on Valentine's Day (and perhaps everyday) should be to think of and communicate to our beloved what a treasure they are to us.
You'll be amazed at how focusing on the aspect of "treasuring" someone will ramp up your expression of love. After all, Jesus said it Himself (in this case referring to our love of God over material things): "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). Treasure God first. Then remember what it is about others that makes you treasure them. You'll be sure to have your heart in the right place this Valentine's Day!
Written by Lara Krupicka
I write and speak to help moms find simple ways to more fully integrate values with everyday living. I hope to spark new ideas that encourage women to live their passions and shed things that hold them back.
As moms, let’s live purposeful lives that bring joy to us and to those we love!
Journalist, Speaker, Facilitator