A blog about the grief after losing a child to Niemann Pick, Type C, a rare disease, and how I'm moving forward with my life.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gain an Extra 15 Minutes in Your Day

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode Challenge – Day 4: Gain an Extra 15 Minutes

If you want to be more productive, you need to become the master of your minutes. Do you ever find yourself with short five-minute windows of time here and there? Our schedules are so jam packed, but there always seem to be those little niches of time that pop up throughout the day.It’s easy to mindlessly pick up your phone, browse the web, or check your Facebook news feed for the tenth time. Sometimes, we’re not even aware that we’re spacing out.  But consider what you can actually accomplish in a few minutes of time. For example, you can do the following:
  • Write a thank-you note or encouraging e-mail.
  • Clean the kitchen sink or bathroom toilet.
  • Switch a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer.
  • Pull out dinner from the freezer.
  • Make a healthy snack to munch on instead of grazing on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods.
  • Take your vitamins, and drink a glass of water.
  • Do twenty-five sit-ups.
  • Tidy up a room.
  • Read a short story to your child.
  • Wipe down the kitchen counters.
  • Text your husband to tell him you love him.
  • Read two pages of the book you’re currently reading.
  • Pray for someone you know who is struggling or for a need in your own life.
There are a thousand other ideas for how to use wisely the little slots of time that show up throughout the day. Don’t let these golden nuggets slip by unproductively. They can quickly add up in your favor. In fact, if you pay attention and make purposeful choices, you may find they add up exponentially.

Let’s take this idea a step further. Is it possible to gain an extra 15 minutes per day? If you’re not so sure, I encourage you to think about one of the biggest time wasters around: social media. 

While it might seem like 15 minutes isn’t much, investing this time every day on a consistent basis can really start to add up to significant traction made and ground covered.


If your goal is to:

  • Lose weight – You can exercise or make a healthy meal.
  • Read more – You can read a few chapters in a book (depending on how long they are).
  • Save money –You can research coupon deals for the week, work on your budget, or look for ways to supplement your income.
  • Get certified in a particular field of interest – You can study for an exam.
  • Learn a new language – You can listen to an instructional CD.
  • Write a book – You can write a few paragraphs a day.

Remove all distractions and don’t let anything deter you from your purpose during those 15 minutes. Turn off your phone, TV, and laptop (if you’re not using it). Make sure no one is around. Settle into a quiet space, and get done what you need to get done.


Not only does such a short window of time discourage you from procrastinating, but you also won’t struggle with running out of steam because your time will be up before you know it!

Today’s Challenge
Start using the 15-minute principle by making a prioritized list of the things you want to accomplish in the order you want to get them done. This is a very abridged version of goal setting, but for the purpose of this challenge, it’s a fantastic place to start. You need concrete, realistic goals if you want to continually move in the right direction. Without goals, all your good intentions amount to nothing. Set a timer for 15 minutes right now and begin chipping away at this list until the timer goes off. 

Think about how much time you will realistically need. Whatever those five things are, commit to getting up and doing them first thing tomorrow and then consistently for three weeks. Put your plan somewhere you can see it so you can keep track of your time and what you need to do. You may need to adjust what time you wake up to accommodate your morning routine, so think about that tonight and if you need to, get to bed earlier.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

You can sign up for the Challenge at the link in the picture.


Ok, so I'm working on this Challenge, just like I told you I would.  But I am modifying it a bit. I'm going to work on an item a week, instead of an item a day.

So how did I do budgeting my time??  My morning routine is pretty good with getting up and getting out the door with everything I need for work.  I probably could stop hitting the snooze button though.  So I focused on my evening routine - what I wanted to get done when I first got home from work.  It took an entire week to get a routine in place, now I just have to practice, practice, practice:

  1. empty my lunch bag
  2. put the pumped milk and the ice pack in the freezer
  3. pack my work bag
  4. pack my lunch and leave it in the fridge
Here is Day 1 (or Week 1).

Here is Day 2 (or Week 2) with my results from Day 1.

Here is Day 3 (or Week 3) with my results from Day 2.

Oh yeah - I'm still making my lists from Day 1. I don't feel I'm accomplishing as much now, the same items are still on the lists.  But then again, showering is important.

I still have my list from Day 2, and look at it but I haven't added anything to it.

Come back next week to see how I did with Day 4!


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